Brew Genius: Making enough beer to drink and enough to share
Editors note: Brew Genius, a new weekly feature, profiles some of the homebrewers competing at this year Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywine Festival, which takes place Jan. 8-10 at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa. For more information on the event, visit http://www.bigbeersfestival.com or call High Point Brewing at 970-524-1092. ======Brief stats:Names: Al Gibb and Michal SeligsonHometown: LongmontCareer: Analytical Science and AccountingNo of years homebrewing: 7Name of Homebrew Club: Indian Peaks Alers======Vail Daily: Evolution of a brewer: From a style and/or technique standpoint, where did you start? Where are you now? Michal Seligson: We started in 2002 making 5 gallons using malt-extract. Our first beers were so overblown; too much hops, too much malt (meaning too much alcohol), and way, way too many random kitchen spices that seemed like a good idea at the time. Now we brew all grain beers, as close to style as possible while adding just a little individuality. Coming from the United Kingdom, Al is especially interested in making British Ales just like at home.VD: Do you brew alone or with others? Why? MS: We nearly always brew together, and sometimes add friends and anybody who wants to learn. We were fortunate to have a good friend, and great brewer help us muddle through our first batches, thats why our door is always open to anybody interested in getting their clothes sticky. We tend to associate brewing with good food, so we constantly eat and sample other beers throughout the process.VD: Where do you brew? How many beers do you have cellaring at any given time? MS: We brew on our deck and in the kitchen. In summer, its warm and we sit around and sample homebrews and local brews. In winter, we fight for the inside jobs, and the loser watches the beer in the cold! We normally have 2 to 3 beers in bottles or kegs, waiting to be poured. About that number in the basement, ruminating, and one fresh batch, helping the house smell like fermentation.VD: Do you brew enough to drink your own beer all year long? MS: Mostly, yes. Its important to try other home brewers beer, and commercially available styles you like to make (oh, and anything yummy thats available!) so we try to have enough to drink, and enough to share.VD: Whats your favorite commercially produced beer? MS: Jackmans APA from Left Hand Brewing.AG: Greene King IPA (Southern Pour).VD: Whats your ultimate beer/food pairing? AG: For me, our friend Mike Strumphs Haystack Cheese and carmelized onion pizza with Lefthand Brewerys Goosinator. MS: Ripe cheese (Haystack Peak), crusty homemade bread and Als N fyglyd ddolau, a Rauchbier (n fyglyd ddolau is smoky meadows in Welsh).VD: What are you entering in the Big Beers Homebrew Competition this January? MS: Nothing this year, we will be judging.VD: Whats your favorite beer quote or motto? AG: It takes beer to make beer (Wayne Buschman). MS: Beer is food (Bluegrass Brewing Co.). VD: Why is beer wonderful? MS: Beer brings people together, especially in our community. Friends get together to taste each others homebrews or a new seasonal. Beer reminds us that the good things in life are the simple pleasures, straight from the earth.VD: Are you worried about the hops shortage? Has it affected you? MS: We havent been affected in our home brewing. While it is a concern, hop plants are prolific, and if there is a shortage, there is money to be made, so somebody, somewhere, is planting the hops well use next year. Also, southern California seems to have taken the job of making some serious hop-bombs, so we leave that to them.VD: What beer did you try for the first time recently that you liked and why? AG: I recently tried a Jolly Pumpkin Maracaibo Especial. The open fermentation at Jolly Pumpkin adds a delicious tartness to their beer, very exciting and inspiring. MS: Odells Isolation Ale; a holiday beer without the usual sweetness. Simple and delicious.