I’m following a couple of blogs who are either home brewers or are starting to home brew. So I thought I’d take a minute to talk about about one of my favorite brewing resources, The Brewing Network. I decided this year to finally make the decision to make the decision. Either I’m going to get back into brewing or I’m going to let it go. My mash tun has been collection the run of from my AC for more than 10 years, so I’ve been out of the game for a while, but I wanted to get some insight on any advancements that have happened since I brewed so that I could get a handle on what equipment I might need.
Luckily, I work in an environment where I’m alone in a lab most of the day and can play anything I want on the computer as long as it gets through the company firewall. Sometimes it’s music, but sometimes it’s information podcasts on a topic I’m interested in at the time. So one day I fired up Google and searched for “brewing radio or podcasts”. What I found was The Brewing Network.
The Brewing Network is a website with streaming shows that talk about all aspects of the brewing industry. The website has four regular shows, each with its own focus on brewing. The shows are usually broadcast live as they happen, but to be honest, I rarely catch those. Instead I click on the tab of the show I’m interested in listening to and then surf through the archives until I find a subject that strikes my fancy.
The first show, The Sunday Session, is a sit down show that invites one or two people from the brewing industry to join in and discuss their brewery and the business in general. In the past months they’ve invited people from Anderson Valley, Flying Dog and Redhook; as well as interviews with Zane Lamprey and discussions on the GABF.
Another show they have is The Home Brewed Chef. Chef Sean Z, Paxton takes you through the steps of pairing beer and food, as well as cooking with beer. Posts include slants on Saint Patty’s day and the Superbowl; as well as cooking with beer ingredients.
Another show on the site is Brew Strong. Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer take an aspect of brewing and dissect it down to its core, answering the questions that plague every home brewer. Past episodes have covered yeast cultivation, specialty grains, water adjustments, sanitation, the mash and the boil. And if you think you can’t spend an hour and half discussing the chemistry that happens during a wort boil, you’re correct – you could do a whole college semester on it. They have episodes on processes and equipment as well, which I think is a great place to start and is where I learned about the improvements in making a mash tun (sorry old faithful, it’s still the AC run off for you).
As great as a resource Brew Strong is, the show that I really enjoy is the Jamil Show. Subtitled “Can You Brew It”, this show focuses on cloning commercially available beers on a home brew level. The show usually starts with a discussion of the beer they’ve decided to clone, along with an interview with the brewer about the style of beer, and the ingredients used in it. Then the panel on the show tastes the home brew version along with the commercial brand to see if the brewer actually “cloned” the beer. If not, a discussion usually breaks out on what the brewer would do different if he were to attempt the beer again. Recent attempts have included Sierra Nevada Celebration, Flying Dog’s Ragin Bitch, 21st Amendment Back in Black, and Stone Arrogant Bastard (three shows. They’re still chasing this one around and the brewery is having fun with the guys because they won’t tell them exactly what’s in it.)
Another Site dedicated to brewing that uses streaming is Basic Brewing. Sadly I can’t tell you much about the site because I just stumbled on it the other day. But it and a few other sites are out their waiting to answer your every home brew question. So if you’re jumping into home brewing, or just like to listen to guys talk about beer while you’re bored at work, check them out.
Time for another beer….