Andrew, Mac, and I brewed Junipucker. But there was a lot of support that went into making it!

Andrew, Mac, and I brewed Junipucker. But there was a lot of support that went into making it!

What the heck is wrong with me?! I enjoy making gallons of beer and GIVE it away FOR FREE?! From what I have been told the beer is pretty good. This year I took beer I made to five beer fests and three First Fridays and, with a smile, gave away the fruits of my labor. I didn’t look for compensation and didn’t get to enjoy all the beers around me. I spend hours designing, brewing, prepping, naming, and setting up for these beer events for what outcome. Junipucker is the draw. It is a goal and milestone. Junipucker has an awesome story.

In my last post I described the dropping temperatures with an invasion of your timelines. With that post I described the Festival of the Lost Township. I talked about all the beer, homebrew and commercial that was going to be at the festival. I mentioned a Belgian competition put on by Crane Brewing. There were at least 50 homebrewers each with their own creative take on styles, recipes, boundaries to push. At the same festival there were two circus looking tents full of commercially produced beer and liquor from all over the country. A lot of breweries and beers I had never had before. Crane and Apex did very well bringing the mix of specialties together, showcasing a multitude of expertise and offerings. I may have or may not have made a fool of myself in front of world renowned beer author Stan Hieronymus and Jolly Pumpkin’s Ron Jeffries. Okay. Fine! I fanboyed after realizing who they were. And apologized profusely for acting like a fool.

There were a lot of positives for the day. A lot of people enjoyed beer I made. My mother and father came out to support my passion. I got to hang out with with a lot of my friends I have made since becoming a part of the homebrew scene in KC. And, oh by the way, Junipucker won that Belgian competition with Crane. There is a funny story about Junipucker. Almost two months ago but three weeks before Lost Township, on a Friday night I get my hands on about 3 or so of Boulevard’s Rye on Rye on Rye. Long story but legit story of how I got the keg. Anyway, I wanted to get a few people together to empty the keg. It was free to me so why not have others enjoy it with me. I had brewed with two of those who came over before. Andrew and Mac have their own styles of brewing and reasons for brewing but we have a lot of fun brewing together. If you are not familiar with Rye on Rye on Rye, it is a special run of Boulevard’s Smokestack beer coming in at 14.6%. Well after a few of these each, we were talking big game about brewing. Of course we had Lost Township in mind and we got a wild hair to brew a beer together. We spent the next few hours continuing our inebriated discussion about when, how, and what we were going to make. We decided a tart saison with juniper as something the brewers at Crane might be looking for. The next day, hungover, I went to Grains and Taps to get ingredients and we were ready to brew the next morning. I had the smart idea to grab some of the Rye on Rye on Rye. It was then I realized how much we drank on Friday night. I blew the keg with less than half a growler, meaning less than 32 ounces were left of the keg.

We actually were picked out of 45 entries and are going to take Junipucker from 5 gallons to 320 gallons!!

We actually were picked out of 45 entries and are going to take Junipucker from 5 gallons to 320 gallons!!

We drank that in a toast to a crazy idea but a good time. We get the beer ready and bring it to Lost Township. I didn’t know if we had a chance in winning. And it wasn’t until the judges requested three of Andrew’s beers including Junipucker for the Best of Show. Later a few of my friends come up and tell me to get back to the tent but didn’t tell me what was wrong. That is what I thought first. What had broken? Had I run out of beer? CO2? My jockey box was broken?! We get back to the tents and that is when I found out that Junipucker took first and Crane wanted to scale the beer up! The best Belgian beer at the homebrew festival?!?! Awesome!! Words can’t describe how amazing this feeling is of winning that competition!! Maybe after we scale the beer up I will share the recipe for you to try and replicate.

What does a brewery scale up mean? My friends and I made a 5 gallon batch. Crane will collaborate with us to use their commercial system and make 10 barrels of Junipucker. This comes to about 320 gallons of the beer will be made and put on tap at the Crane tap room in Raytown this fall and winter. Our brew day is scheduled for November and I will let you know when the beer is ready for you to join me in drinking at the tap room! I am thinking a very large party then! Do you want to join me?

Upcoming posts:

J is for Jester King is coming. Feedback and rants on beerfest, do you have any opinions? Write up on Hoppy Hour put on by the Kansas City Business Journal.