December 30, 2010


"Simple isn't the same as easy," someone once wrote about Luther Perkins' guitar playing. In any art where the craft of production is vital to the outcome - music, brewing, cooking ... - the prospect of stripping things down and going minimalist is exhilarating and risky. Uncluttered sparseness is kinda scary in an era of big, bombastic, over the top beers.

December 23, 2010

Pump it!

William Armstrong was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and grew up to be the father of hydraulics. He designed an engine that was powered by water, but nobody cared at the time. Armstrong was all about renewable energy. Back in 1863, he predicted that England would stop producing coal by 2063. He pushed for the use of solar power and hydroelectricity. He lived from 1810-1900. He has nothing to do with beer, but he is one of my personal heroes.

December 21, 2010

It's Winter, So Eis-Something

So, I feel somewhat limited because I can't make certain beverages at home (home distillation is illegal here in the US). I don't worry too much about this, though; I can easily rely on Milwaukee's own Great Lakes Distillery to do all that artisan distilling for me. Their products are beyond outstanding:

December 15, 2010

Rye Wine (a parti-gyle experiment)

I stumbled across the idea of making a rye wine in early 2010. I imagined the next winter would be much better with a silky, dark, garnet beer full of booze and character in my mittened hand.

December 13, 2010

Mid Winter Homebrew Competition

It's time for you to start thinking about entering into competition with some of those beers you and your friends love to brew so much. I suggest you consider the Mid Winter Homebrew Competition.

Here's a handful of reasons why:

December 9, 2010

Bring Me A Beer

Some of the greatest human beings in the world are beer delivery truck drivers.

December 7, 2010

Brewday Diversions

Much of home brewing is waiting: we wait for the mash, wait for the boil, wait for wort to chill, and so on. So I frequently find myself filling those periods of waiting in a brewday with various diversions. I'm all for sitting in a chair and watching steam rise while having a beer, but these days, the weekends are less filled with watching steam, and more with getting things done.

December 2, 2010

Soar with Sorghum!

There's a product that we carry at Northern Brewer which occasionally gets some attention from customers. Usually, this attention is a begrudging acknowledgment of anticipated frustration, and it is directed towards White Sorghum syrup. This is a high maltose, gluten-free extract syrup made from sorghum by Briess Malt in Chilton, WI.