Brew Muscle

The Brewer. Christopher brings a lot of strength to the local home brewing scene. As current president of the L.A.G.E.R.S. (Louisville Area Grain & Extract Research Society), he helps lead an active home brewing community.

He also makes a pretty strong case for being one of the top brewers in the area with a recent Best of Show for his English IPA at the Bluegrass Cup, several American Home Brewer’s Association medals, and a tie for most awards at last year’s Kentucky State Fair. You will see his award winning beer, Saint Christopher pop up on Apocalypse Brew Works’ beer list from time to time. Not often enough I might add.

And when he is not making good tasting beer he is wandering the streams of Kentucky monitoring, measuring, recording and advancing the lives of freshwater mussels. Given our vast number of flowing streams, Kentucky has one of the nations’ most diverse and healthy mussel populations in the country. Who would have thunk it?

The Brew. This day, Christopher was brewing a Dopplebock with German Munich, Pils and Caramunich malts, German Magnum and Hallertau hops and a special Ainger Bock Strain of yeast. By using the decoction method he added body and achieved a darker color than the grain bill would suggest.

More importantly we tasted a Lager, Belgian Tripel and Nut Brown. I can attest to Christopher’s ability. All well made beers. Right on style. And I want MORE!

The Brewing. Christopher brews in a man-sized garage sitting on top of a hill surrounded by acres of woods. Perfect spot to catch a view of deer, turkeys and the occasional ground squirrel trying to snatch a little grain and malted beverage.

Christopher’s brew set up is a classic three-pot system connected with pumps so that he can push his heated water into the mash pot, circulate the mash with complete temperature control and then move his wort to the boil kettle. Now he is plugging and unplugging so much he looks like he is checking Christmas Tree lights.

Don’t tell his wife, but he is already planning his next set of toys that will increase capacity, upgrade to electric, and provide for a walk-in cooler, all in a more permanent set up. He is starting to gather pieces and design the ultimate Brew Barn.

The Brewer’s Thoughts. During a casual brew day we solved many pressing issues (rambled) including: Kentucky Education System; local liquor laws; lack of places to drink beer in the east end; the proliferation of new breweries in town; mussels; and L.A.G.E.R.S.

Louisville’s homebrew club celebrated its 25th anniversary this week with a big cook out and beer-sharing event. It is one of the regular social events held in addition to the monthly meetings. With the motto, “We brew it, we drink it, we talk about it,” you have a pretty good chance of getting yourself a cold beverage at any club gathering.

Meetings are held at Bluegrass Brewing Company on Main Street on the third Monday of each month. Meetings start with beer at 7:00 pm followed by an informational session at 7:30. This month features a presentation on the Beer Judging Certification Program (BJCP), accompanied by a tasting and judging of two Nut Brown Ales. Then at 8:00, the group gets back to more sharing (beer drinking).

Members also participate in a couple brew-ins each year where members all brew together. The most recent session took place at the Bluegrass Brewing Company and all participants cloned their Pale Ale. A blind taste test determined the beer that came the closest to the famous BBC Pale Ale. Guess who won? During the next brew-in participants will brew at Apocalypse Brew Works and their beers will be served as part of the annual Yappy Hour fundraiser for the Humane Society.

Christopher is always looking for ways to keep a good mix of social, educational opportunities in front of the L.A.G.E.R.S. members. It is a great way for brewers to learn from others, taste and talk good beer. Put some muscle into your brew making by checking out the L.A.G.E.R.S.