Ever wanted to drink the beers I've posted about? Spend a day talking oak and disassembling a barrel with me? Learn to blend sours? Taste the difference between the same beer barrel-aged, aged on oak cubes, and infused with spirits?
You're in luck!
In a little less than two months, I’ll be flying to Burlington, VT for the Brew Your Own Boot Camps on November 4th and 5th (sign up)! The second round is already scheduled for Santa Rosa, CA February 24th and 25th (sign up). They really couldn’t have picked two better cities as far as I’m concerned (I’m excited to make it to Foam Brewers, Burlington Beer, HenHouse, and Russian River not to mention places like The Alchemist, Hill Farmstead, Fieldwork, Rare Barrel, and Cellarmaker that are close enough with a rental car).
This is an entirely new and unique concept for homebrewing, and I'm honored to be a part of it! You pick a session for each day that runs from 10:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M with a break for lunch. I can’t speak for what Chris White, Sean Lawson, Gordon Strong, Sean Paxton, Vinnie Cilurzo, Ashton Lewis et al. have planned, but my sessions will have a little of me talking, but mostly hands-on activities that can’t be experienced through a blog, book, podcast, or presentation!
The official descriptions for mine are below, but I wrote them six months ago and they don’t fully capture what I’m planning now. My slides and handouts are due this week, so I’ve included a better idea of the stuff we’ll be doing... I just need to figure out how to get all of the beer and equipment there!
For Sour Beer Techniques (almost sold out in Burlington), you'll be participating in two blending sessions the first using three of my pale homebrewed sours and the second commercial sours with a variety of “other” ingredients. I'll guide you through selecting and refining a souring process suited to you. We’ll be capturing wild microbes, and you’ll get a sample of my house saison culture to take home!
Sour Beer Techniques
Learn hands-on traditional European as well as newer American methods to produce sour and funky homebrews from Michael Tonsmeire, Brew Your Own’s “Advanced Brewing” columnist who also literally wrote the book on the subject with American Sour Beers. Michael will demonstrate the unique skill set needed to create your own delicious sour beers including wort production (extract and all-grain), growing alternative microbes, blending, aging on fruit, and sanitation. Our focus will be on practical topics difficult to convey by words alone, no biology or chemistry degree required! You will leave with a clear understanding of the processes to reliably produce sour beers suited to your palate and desired time frame. So get ready to roll up your sleeves and dive into the world of funk and bugs!
For the Barrels and Wood-Aging session we’ll be evaluating and performing maintenance on barrels: installing “Vinnie” nails, removing and replacing the head, fixing leaks etc. I’ll be serving homebrews aged with different woods/barrels, and we’ll be tasting teas made from a variety of woods (then blending them into commercial beers).
Barrels and Wood-Aging
Learn how to choose, use, and maintain oak barrels – and barrel-alternatives - for homebrewing. Barrels are a significant investment in money, time and beer so understanding how to properly select and use them is essential. Learn hands-on from Brew Your Own’s “Advanced Brewing” columnist and American Sour Beers author Michael Tonsmeire. Michael will also cover options for barrel-alternatives and how best to use the broad variety of available products such as chips, staves, and spirals including both oak and non-oak alternatives. In this comprehensive boot camp, we will also cover special brewing and recipe considerations for making beers to complement the flavors of woods, spirits, and wines and take your wood-aged beers to a new level.
Even if you don't attend one of my session, please find me and say hello at the craft beer reception or if you see me at one of the breweries around town! I'm planning to get into town a couple days early for both to ensure I have time to drink in the scenery!