Homebrewer profile: Becoming an evang-ALE-ist
Editors note: Brew Genius, a seasonal weekly feature, profiles some of the homebrewers competing at this years Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival, which takes place Jan. 10 to 12 at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa. For more information on the event, visit http://www.bigbeersfestival.com or call High Point Brewing at 524-1092.
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado Vail Daily: From a style and/or technique standpoint, where did you start? Where are you now? Knipmeyers: Our homebrewing started in Philadelphia where we used to live before our move to Colorado in 2003. It started through a friend who also wanted to get into homebrewing. He was a missionary and Joanne worked in their office. Below the office was a homebrew shop. So we purchased a bare-bones starter kit in 1999 and evang-Ale-ist took on a whole new meaning. We brewed not only a drinkable first batch but one we actually loved. We continued brewing with extracts up until a year ago. Our opinion of beer was drastically changed in January of 2003 when we attended the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival in Vail. Since then we have come to appreciate outstanding beers and have wanted to get more creative in our own homebrewing. We joined our hombrew club, KROC, and have enjoyed learning from some experienced homebrewers. We brewed our first all mash this November when we held a brew in. We had 11 folks join us for the day and enjoyed their input before we made any serious blunders. VD: Do you brew alone or with others? Why? Knipmeyers: We brew as a family. Even our 4-yea-old son helps stir the wort. As a couple, Kevin is more the introvert and Joanne the extrovert, which makes for a lot of opposites in our relationship. However, homebrewing is one hobby we enjoy doing together. We enjoy figuring out what style of beer we want to brew, Joanne enjoys cooking and recipes, and the brewing process itself is somewhat of an engineering [as well as scientific] process, which Kevin enjoys. It also nice when friends are over when brewing, because its anywhere from a 2 to 6 hour opportunity for good beer and conversation.VD: Where do you brew? How many beers do you have cellaring at any given time? Knipmeyers: When we did extract brewing, we used to brew in our kitchen or on our outdoor grill. Now that we have moved to all-grain brewing we have also moved our process to the garage. We have had as many as three cellaring at one time, but currently with doing our all grain we only have one.VD: Do you brew enough to drink your own beer all year long? Knipmeyers: We are not yet brewing enough to drink all year long. We are, however, moving closer to that goal each year.VD: Whats your favorite commercially produced beer? Knipmeyers: This is a tough one, as there are so many great beers and each year there are more and more craft brews coming on the market. Kevins favorite commercial beer is no longer in existence; it was a Winter Bavarian Chocolate Beer made by Valley Forge Brewing. Joanne has been really enjoying Left Hand Imperial Stout as well as many of the beers from New Glarus in WI.VD: Whats your ultimate beer – food pairing? Knipmeyers: Kevin enjoys experimenting with cheese and beer. Joannes ultimate paring would be a dark chocolate torte with a rich, creamy oatmeal stout. VD: What are you entering in the Big Beers Homebrew Competition this January? (Name/Style) Knipmeyers: We are hoping to enter our seasonal Christmas Ale. In any case, Joanne will be entering everyones beers for the homebrew competition she enters them into the database to print out all the judging sheets. Since our move to Colorado, Joanne has enjoyed getting more and more involved in helping in all areas of the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywine Festival. VD: Whats your favorite beer quote or motto? Knipmeyers: Brew today; beer tomorrow!VD: Why is beer wonderful? Knipmeyers: The taste, the complexity, the variety, it goes with everything, and when we make it ourselves we have the satisfaction of knowing the great end product was the fruit of our labor.VD: If you couldnt drink beer, what would you drink? Knipmeyers: Joanne would drink coffee and Kevin would drink Mountain Dew.For more information, visit http://www.bigbeersfestival.com.