Last night I witnessed a microcosm of craft beer world that demonstrated why I have a passion for beer. I was lucky to have met a few great guys that share this passion. We decided to enter a contest. With laughs and good times, we collaborated to make a beer that I felt was pretty good. We wanted to make a beer that spoke to the brewery organizing the contest. I consider Crane Brewing to be a standard in the industry and make phenomenal sours and wilds beers. We decided to make a light refreshing saison kettle soured and infused with the amazing aroma and flavors of juniper berries. I felt this beer should and eventually became a revitalizing approachable beer. Others, including Crane, apparently agreed with my assessment to the point that the recipe was selected and scaled up from a 5 gallon batch to a 10 barrel batch. For those of you who feel math is hard that is around 300 gallons of beer. The days we made it and kegged it, I was a fat kid inside a pastry shop, inside a candy store, inside a chocolate factory. Even the brew day issues that lengthened the 8 hour day to 14 made me smile and appreciate the hard work. Last night I saw so many people I have come to know and love and admire. They came out to support me and my friends. They came out and drank beer and enjoyed the fruits of my labor. Random strangers came up to me and thanked me for making this beer. The warmth and cheer in the Crane Tap room last night was overwhelming and moving.
The support and love I felt from family and friends brought me to tears of joy and I couldn’t stop smiling. A really good friend of mine said that a scale up is the pinnacle of a homebrewers career. I definitely agree with him. Though I feel I have other heights I will reach in brewing, last night was the culmination of one of the best experiences in my life. Now to keep you updated though, we emptied at least 8 kegs last night! Don’t worry if you weren’t able to make it, there are still a few kegs to enjoy Junipucker at the tap room. Make sure you get a few crowlers to go as well!