It has gone by many names The Devil’s Nectar, Brewskies, Liquid Courage, The Great Equalizer, or for most readers in college simply Breakfast. Beer has been the staple of manhood since the times of Adam. That’s why at DOM we searched through every crevice of the world and traveled as far out as 5 doors down from our house to find our exclusive “Barons of the Brewhaus.”
D.O.M: If you could go back in time to when you first started what advice would you give?
D.O.M: What kind of beer do you currently have in the works?
They are tandem of contradiction. a redhead Picasso of the Pilsner, and the other the perennial Einstein of theoretical beer physics of our generation. They go by Celtic God names of Clayton and Austin. We have given them the task to answer and discuss all things beer. To acquaint our readership with these Crusaders of the Cocktails, I sat down with them for this two part interview.
Our first ½ of the tag team is Clayton. With a strikingly similar look to William Wallace, Clayton is the out of the box thinker of the two. Driving his creativity through his inherent desire to attempt things on the intellectual edge of the impossible, I sat with Clayton to discuss brewing, craft beer industry, and to start providing direction to all who want to start their own home microbrews.
D.O.M: What got you started brewing?
C: It started with Austin and I getting together on Saturdays, making a small menu and just making lunch, drinking some beers, and watching football. I think that Goody and I just really enjoyed drinking great beers and the creative process of cooking and creating recipes. The natural progression led us to the very fulfilling hobby of home brewing.
D.O.M: What brewery do you think is up and coming that most people do not know?
C: I have really been impressed by a lot of the Stone Brewing Co. brews. The creativity and the general irreverence for some of the stuffy conventions that have found their way into something that started with craftsmen and artisans, is without a doubt one of the most impressive characteristics to me. Of course Cigar City locally has produced many brews that we can be proud to call homegrown.
C: Well I suppose that could be answered in different ways. If I was to go back to give myself advice I suppose that I would want Goody and I to spend the extra money on equipment along the way. It’s not that we were cheap by any stretch, but I think we underestimated how quickly we would outgrow our purchases. However, the best advice I could give to another would be to embrace your failures. In this hobby it seems that it truly is the best teacher. I would much prefer to make a rookie mistake on a 5 gallon batch that I didn’t have much money invested in as opposed to dumping a considerably more expensive 15 gallon one.
C: As we all know, life typically interferes with hobbies. Due to this we ended up with kind of a logjam of batches. Just the other day we bottled a potent Belgian tripel, kegged and filtered our tangerine IPA, kegged a nut brown, and dry-hopped an American pale. Each of these batches are our own personal recipes (for better or for worse I guess).
D.O.M: How do you and Austin decide on the next beer you are going to make?
C: Usually there isn’t much rhyme or reason. We typically just bounce ideas off of one another until something sticks. We are trying to stick with just a few styles until we feel we have tweaked each into what we were originally aiming. It’s this trial and error that’s the maddening fun of the whole thing. Oh, and drinking the “mistakes” too.
D.O.M: With the explosion of Craft beers, what challenges do you see with the beer market in the future?
C: Saturation, simply. Unfortunately the craft beer market has been watered down both by mega-brewers joining the game with bastardized versions of carefully crafted and artistic brews and small time breweries that prematurely throw themselves into the game.
D.O.M: What do you think caused this market trend i.e. have Americans taste palates changed?
C: I think it’s a little of two different things. First of all, I think that American consumers are increasingly educated and aware of a world of new products. Don’t get me wrong. The majority of people are still idiots. However, for those willing to educate and enlighten themselves and their tastes, the tools are available. Secondly, with discretionary income at a premium with the American people, they are very selective on which they spend. So if these consumers are able to spend a small additional amount for a certain sense of catharsis or escapism, so be it.
D.O.M: What do you think is the most common mistake most home brewers make starting out?
C: I alluded to this earlier but I genuinely think that coming in with a certain sense of humility and an open mind yields the best results. It really is about embracing your mistakes and learning from them.