Craft Beer Week! Meet my friend Paul, a Homebrewer in So Cal

I guess it’s not a surprise that beer people like beer people. We tend to gravitate toward one another. One of my best friends from high school, Barbara, who also lives in So Cal, is married to a home brewer. Pauls LogoInitially I was a bit scared of home brews. Maybe it was the unknown of what’s in there. I don’t think it’s a sanitary thing. I mean I’m the first person to say “try this” and let people sip out of my beer. I guess it was just a new world to me. Pauls beerPaul’s been brewing a few years now and I’ve seen his set up. It’s grown from a small area of his backyard to a big portion of his backyard. Pauls Set upLooks a bit like a scene from a movie that has a mad scientist. But the results can’t be denied. He’s a guy with a normal banking job who does this as a hobby. Not even full time. Just for fun, and he’s already be awarded medals for his work. Safe to say that Paul and Barb are dedicated to their craft of…. craft beers. They will spend day and night tasting and refining…for the good of the art of beer making. Pauls dogEven their dog Billard gets into the action, he eats the left overs from the brewing process. They have figured out how to make them into tasty left over cakes for doggie snacks. Hmm.. guys maybe you should (c) that idea right now! Pauls dog treats

Paul initially started with bottles. Lots and lots of beers had to be drunk by family and friends so the old bottles could be sterilized and reused for bottling purposes. Pauls beer bottles. But recently a keg fridge was purchased and this is making the process a little bit easier!

Recently Paul won the Silver Medal in in the 2nd highest entered category this year for his Brown Ale at the Hangar 24 Home Brewers Competition. The competition entries jumped by 50% this year! Which says to me Home brewing is trending more than ever! Yay!

I had to ask Paul a few questions:

What made you start brewing? So I really had no interest in brewing until a friend invited me over to brew with him a few years ago. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, and gone brewing combines cooking with some science. So, I was bit by the bug. There is also a great DIY aspect to it. Many homebrewers make the equipment that they need. I made a mash tun out of a ice chest, brass valve, some copper tubing and the outside part or a washing machine hose. Fun stuff!

Tell me about the competition you just did.The competitions seem to start around March are go through September or so. This competition was put on by Hangar 24 brewery in Redlands. Every year there is a large beer “convention” in Denver called the Great American Beer Fest. Pro brewers enter a ProAm competition with amateur recipes. The best in show if the Hanger 24 competition is brewed by the brewery and entered in the GABF ProAm.
In the competitions, beers as separated by style and judged against the guidelines for that style (appearance, aroma, flavor, mouthfeel)

How long did the silver medal ale take?
Typically the beers take 6 weeks: 2 weeks to ferment, 2 weeks to settle/age, 2 weeks to carb up.
Last year I entered this brown ale and won a gold. This year there was much more competition. I was beat out by a pale ale. I also won a silver in the Pacific Brewers Cup last year for a Bock that I made.
The bock was one of the hardest beers I’ve made so far. It has a mostly malt profile, so there are no strong flavors to cover up mistakes. My favorites so far are the brown ale (a nice starter beer for those who aren’t ready for stouts or porters yet) and saison (a light colored farmhouse brew with some banana and coriander flavors)

Whats your Favorite of any craft brew? Craft beers: I like the local brews. Hanger 24 has a nice Alt Bier, Dale Bros does a decent California Common, and Claremont Craft Ale has a good Rye IPA.

Recommendation to other homebrewers: it seems that controlling the fermentation temp is a hugely important part of brewing. I use an old frig with a digital temp controller and my brews have improved a lot since I’ve gotten that under control.

I’m just learning the whole competition thing. I entered a beer in a recent competition and the judges said I had it in the wrong classification. So making sure you classify it correctly is important. Also, it’s important to brew the beers so they incorporate all if the characteristics of the style you’re trying to create (an IPA can’t be malty or a stout amber)! I’ve also noticed that the Belgian styles seem to win Best in Show more often then other styles. Might be because they are harder to produce.

Thanks Paul! Keep up the good work.

I wanted to give a shout out to all the winners and to Hanger 24 for a great day!
Hangar-24-Logo

Congratulations to Best of Show 1st Place (and 2nd Place) winner Brad Nixon in the 4th Annual Homebrew Competition!
Here’s is the complete rundown of winners.

Best of Show
1st: Brad Nixon – “Schwarzbier” – Schwarzbier
2nd Brad Nixon – “Porter’s Porter” – Brown Porter
3rd: Dwight Mulcahy – “Blond Bells” – Belgian Blond Ale

Category 1: Light Lager
Gold: Jonathan Kissinger – “Fine Beer May Be Judged With Only One Sip” – Standard American Lager
Silver: James Hilbing – “Premium American Lager #2” – Premium American Lager
Bronze: Jennifer Jordan – “Munich Helles” – Munich Helles

Category 2: Pilsner
Gold: Dwight Mulcahy – “Busta’ Cap” – Classic American Pilsner
Silver: Jeremy Maldonado – “Bo-He-Man” – Bohemian Pilsener
Bronze: Dwight Mulcahy – “Pils Off!” – German Pilsner

Category 3: European Amber Lager
Gold: Brad Nixon – “Oktoberfest” – Oktoberfest/Marzen
Silver: Brad Nixon – “Vienna Lager” – Vienna Lager
Bronze: Jack Hilgendorf – “Amber Lager” – Vienna Lager

Category 4: Dark Lager
Gold: Brad Nixon – “Schwarzbier” – Schwarzbier
Silver: Brad Jefferies – “Munich Dunkel” – Munich Dunkel
Bronze: James Hilbing & Kurt Ramp – “Schwarzbier” – Schwarzbier

Category 5: Bock
Gold: Brock Hall – “Fredrick” – Maibock/Helles Bock
Silver: Dwight Mulcahy – “Bock Bock” – Doppelbock
Bronze: Dwight Mulcahy – “Big Nose MyBock” – Maibock/Helles Bock
Category 6: Light Hybrid Beer
Gold: Jeff Tudor – “Elmo Ale” – Cream Ale
Silver: Brad Nixon – “Cream Ale” – Cream Ale
Bronze: Randy Kading – “Katie’s Blonde Ale” – Blonde Ale

Category 7: Amber Hybrid Beer
Gold: Bob Reynolds & Ryan McHugh – “Toes on the Nose” – California Common Beer
Silver: Dane Bagley – “Mt. Asoutney Amber” – Northern German Altbier
Bronze: Kevin Margulieux – “North German Alt” – Northern German Altbier

Category 8: English Pale Ale
Gold: Stewart Holl – “Homegrown English Pale” – Special/Best/Premium Bitter
Silver: Michael Herron – “Very Ordinary” – Standard/Ordinary Bitter
Bronze: Dwight Mulcahy – “ESPale” – Extra Special Bitter

Category 9: Scottish & Irish Ale
Gold: Dan Romanowich – “Q” – Irish Red Ale
Silver: Philip Vieira – “Tartan Strong Ale” – Strong Scotch Ale
Bronze: Robert Wilson – “Maxwell’s 80/-“ – Scottish Export 80/-

Category 10: American Ale
Gold: Erik Debellis – “Pale Ale Six” – American Pale Ale
Silver: Paul Happach – “Big Bill’s Brown” – American Brown Ale
Bronze: Christian Scholte – “Single Track Pale Ale” – American Pale Ale
Category 11: English Brown Ale
Gold: Brett Gent – “Brown Ale” – Northern English Brown Ale
Silver: Robert Hemphill – “Mild Side” – Mild
Bronze: Randy Kading – “Chocolate Lab Brown Ale” – Northern English Brown Ale

Category 12: Porter
Gold: Brad Nixon – “Porter’s Porter” – Brown Porter
Silver: Brice Jarvi – “Mayan Doomsday” – Robust Porter
Bronze: Jack Hilgendorf – “Porter Robust” – Robust Porter

Category 13: Stout
Gold: Jonathan Smith – “Oatmeal Stout” – Oatmeal Stout
Silver: Jim Jorgensen – “RIS #2” – Russian Imperial Stout
Bronze: Mike & Cyndi Malsed – “Black Sand” – Foreign Extra Stout

Category 14: India Pale Ale
Gold: Sean Frates – “CS IPA” – American IPA
Silver: Pete Heringer – “739 IPA” – English IPA
Bronze: Matthew Rose – “Rye Heaven” – Imperial IPA

Category 15: German Wheat & Rye Ale
Gold: Jim Jorgensen – “Jim’s Weizen” – Weizen/Weissbier
Silver: Stephen Le Duc – “Hogan’s Roggen” – Roggenbier
Bronze: Greg Pleiss – “Dunkel-Pleissen” – Dunkelweizen

Category 16: Belgian & French Ale
Gold: Matt Irmscher – “Saison Du Clue” – Saison
Silver: Jim Jorgensen – “Sais Off” – Saison
Bronze: Brian Holter & Kingsley Toby – “Spring Forward” – Saison

Category 17: Sour Ale
Gold: Jerry Marshall – “Flanders Red” – Flanders Red Ale
Silver: Laura McCabe-Patke – “Sour Orangeberry” – Berliner Weisse

Category 18: Belgian Strong Ale
Gold: Dwight Mulcahy – “Blond Bells” – Belgian Blond Ale
Silver: Jerry Marshall – “Belgian Strong Dark Ale” – Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Bronze: Jefferson Loftfield – “Grapevine” – Belgian Dark Strong Ale

Category 19: Strong Ale
Gold: Dwight Mulcahy – “Grany Booze” – American Barleywine
Silver: Robert Wilson – “Old Orthogonal” – Old Ale
Bronze: Jerry Marshall – “English Barleywine” – English Barleywine

Category 20: Fruit Beer
Gold: Jesse Cancel – “White Nectarine Kolsch” – Kolsch w/ White Nectarine
Silver: Robert Carter – “Razz-Ma-Tazz” – Sweet Stout w/ Raspberry, Coconut & Chocolate
Bronze: Kai Karlson – “Apricot Ho” – Wit w/ Apricot, Coriander & Orange Peel

Category 21: Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer
Gold: Jim Jorgensen – “Vanilla Hazelnut Stout” – Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer
Silver: Brian Holter & Kingsley Toby – “Tahoba” – Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer
Bronze: Jesse Cancel – “Jacolantern Ale” – Christmas/Winter Specialty Beer
Category 22: Smoke Flavored/Wood-Aged Beer
Gold: Patrick Schulz – “Smoked Brown” – Brown Ale w/ Cherry Smoked Wood
Silver: Jacob Kleespies – “Bourbon Barrel Porter” – Wood Aged Beer
Bronze: James Hilbing – “Oaked Old Ale” – Wood-Aged Beer

Category 23: Specialty Beer
Gold: Jonathan Smith – “Heart of the Sun” – Wheat Wine w/ Blood Oranges
Silver: Ramiro Vejar, Antonio, Gary – “Black Rye River IPA” – Black Rye IPA
Bronze: Dave Bagley – “Peanut Butter Porter” – Robust Porter w/ Cacao & Peanut Butter

Congrats and thank you to all these brewers. We who like to drink a good beer salute you!

Paul Beer

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