Meet the new brewers!

As many of you have heard by now, Greg Bullis, our original brewer has left the pub.  We saw this as an opportunity to make some changes and try new things.  I’m introducing you today to Ryan Phenicie and Sam Horchler, our new WHBC brewers.  These guys came in full force, cleaning the entire brewery top to bottom. No keg unturned, they turned the brewery into their own; cleaning, reorganizing, planning, and brewing.  So far they’ve put out the new and improved Isle of Wheat as well as our Outage IPA.  They’ve got an Old English Ale coming at you soon, but in the meantime, let’s hear from them…

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WHBC: Why did you want to step in and be the new brewers?

Sam: I’m a big fan of beer. haha.  And it’s something I’ve always wanted to try.

Ryan: I’m very interested in brewing.  I’ve been home brewing for a few years now.  I keep a kegerator stocked at home with my own brews on tap.  So this just fit!

WHBC: Given the last couple months, and the foray into unintentional sours, I think it’s important to tell our beer drinking public what the brewing process actually entails.  In layman’s terms, of course.

Ryan: So, for a regular batch, we steep 300 pounds of grain (mash) – this takes the proteins and sugars out of the grain.  It’s then boiled for an hour and hops are added in.  After the brew kettle is drained, we move the beer over to the fermenters where yeast is added and we let science do its thing.  It ferments for about two weeks, then gets kegged and rested for a week.  When the whole process is done, we fill the brew kettle with boiling water and brewing sanitizer and run that through all our lines.  Someone physically climbs into the fermenters to scrub them out when they’ve been emptied. It’s a small space to get into.  We don’t have any midgets to do this job for us, but we have Sam and he’s pretty skinny!

WHBC: Haha.  Thanks for the explanation!  So another thing I want to make sure our customers know – what is ABV and IBU?!

Ryan: ABV is Alcohol by volume.  It’s the percentage of beer that’s alcoholic.  To increase this number, you use more grain per batch because that equals more protein and more sugar for the yeast to interact with.  IBU is the International Bitterness Unit, which measures the hop content in beer.  The more hops, the higher the IBU.

WHBC: How are you picking new beers to brew?

Ryan: Well, we’re still brewing some of the old ones.  The new one coming up is my recipe and I know it’s a good one.  Eventually, Sam and I will start collaborating on some brand new stuff once we get into the swing of things.

WHBC: What is the biggest problem you run into when brewing?

Sam: Actually this first batch when really, really well!  The biggest thing for me is the brewery just gets so hot!  And it’s a long process; each brew day is about 10 hours.  Of course, that will get a little faster as we get used to working with each other.

WHBC: What’s the most fun thing about brewing?
Sam: I like taking on the new project and making it our own.  It’s fun brewing here too – it’s just like hanging out and listening to some good music while we work.  It’s just fun.

Ryan: The best part is the nice cold, crisp beer at the end!

WHBC: Do you have a dream beer – one you’d brew regardless of cost?

Ryan: An Icebock.  You make a big batch, freeze it and then poke a hole in the middle.  All the water gets frozen out so it’s a strong beer.  I wouldn’t do anything with fancy flavors though.

Sam: An Irish Red.  They’re just not very common anymore, so I would brew one of my own.

WHBC: SO is epic facial hair a requirement to be a successful brewer? haha

Ryan: Clearly not – look at me!  Sam has beard enough for both of us!

WHBC: Well, what else should we all know?

Sam& Ryan: The whole issue with the beers going sour was just a lack of control and oversight of the process we think.  That said, we are out in front of it now.  We are paying attention to every little detail and spent two straight weeks cleaning the system out to start from scratch.  Things are going to be all good from here on out.

WHBC: Thanks so much guys.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what you come up with. I can already tell just by looking around the brewery, the change will be a great one!  Cheers!

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