Katie Sloan is a Certified Cicerone® who has been homebrewing for the past 2 1/2 years. She got interested in brewing while studying for the Certified Beer Server exam, the first step in the Cicerone program. She got a beer kit one Christmas and never looked back while brewing about once a month since. "I knew if I wanted to understand beer better I had to learn about it from the inside out." she says.
She brews with her boyfriend John on a gravity system. They use 2 5-gallon Igloo coolers as their mash tun and hot liquor tank. The boil happens in an 8-gal kettle. Wort is chilled with a copper immersion wort chiller and they pitch into in either 3-gal or 6-gal carboys. They condition and serve out of 3 ball-lock corny kegs in a keezer.
Sloan was paired with Ethan Long of Rockaway Brewing Company. "I found it simple to write a recipe with Ethan; we both value the same things in our recipes." Katie said. Working on Bitter & Esters Brew On Premises system, she found the brew day was easier than using her gravity system at home. About Bitter & Esters system she noticed,"The pumps made it easier to control transfer between vessels and they are faster than gravity. The electric heat coil and other heating elements make the temperature control during the mash, sparge, and boil much easier. We came to a boil faster than we do at home with our small stove-top burner."
Sloan and Long brewed a dark mild using the recently released 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines as a reference point. "We wanted to go for authenticity but also an interesting depth of flavor." Sloan adds. At 3.8% alcohol, the beer contains chocolate rye as well as the adjuncts flaked corn and caramelized sugar.
When pressed about whether she would be interest in opening her own brewery Katie debates with herself noting pros and cons,"It would be extremely exciting and rewarding to open a brewery. It would also be a lot of work; I know it's not an easy or always fun job. That being said I think I would enjoy it if the right team and timing were to occur." She then surmises,"Short answer: possibly."
Katie's dark mild with Rockaway Brewing Company, brewed at Bitter & Esters, might only be served at Covenhoven on June 27th at the NYC Brewers Pro-Am. That is up to you to decide. It will be competing with one-of-a-kind homebrew collaborations with Finback, Greenpoint, Other Half, and Sixpoint. The homebrew winner of Audience Choice will get to brew their beer on the professional brewery's commercial system which will be released and available in local craft beer bars in NYC. Limited $30 advance tickets are still available here.