What is your brewing background?
I started brewing about three years ago. I started tasting all of the different beer styles at some great local craft beer bars. I fell in love with Belgian beers, specifically Belgian strong darks ales like St. Bernardus Abt. 12 and Rochefort 10. I just couldn't believe all the flavors that were packed into those beers, like dark cherry and plum. I had to try making it on my own. I started making extract batches and quickly realized I needed to transition into all-grain to be able to get more control over the flavors and brewing processes. Once I made the switch to all-grain, it was over. I was instantly hooked. I've been brewing about one batch a week ever since. I read, watch and listen to anything I can find on the brewing process to try and make the best beer possible. The old adage is absolutely correct: "Give a man a beer, and he wastes an hour, but teach a man to brew, and he wastes a lifetime."
What are you looking forward to as you move forward in your brewing hobby?
To make a flawless, 50 point beer. I'm constantly brewing and entering my beer in competitions for feedback to see how I can improve my process and recipes. If the day ever comes where I'm completely satisfied with every brew I have in my keggerator, I will then look to the future. I ultimately hope to open a small brewery, a seven or fifteen barrel brew house, with a tasting room; where beer geeks like myself can find happiness, one glass at a time.
Were there any prizes awarded to you besides a top medal?
I have no idea if there is any other prize awarded other than the gold medal for my winning entry. I will be checking my mailbox with a passion this week. With some of the local competitions, you usually end up with some nice "swag" like hops, glassware or gift certificates. Just the medal itself is going to be pretty amazing. Only 23 gold medals were given out to the best beers in the country and somehow one of those landed in Tamarac. It will be placed in a "shadow box", because that's apparently what you do, at least according to my wife. I'm lucky to have someone who is just as enthusiastic about good beer as I am. Not only does she not mind losing six to eight hours every time I mash in on a new brew, she's usually helping with the process.