Glenn Cupples has been brewing for about 2 1/2 years. He became a homebrewer while brewing with 2 of his buddies, 1 of whom took the Brewshop 101 class at Bitter & Esters. The 101 class is for people brand new to the hobby. They teach you the basics of extract brewing, along with the importance of cleanliness and sanitation in a friendly and welcoming manner that has come to define the Bitter & Esters culture. His buddy walked away from the class with a starter kit. They were casually into brewing; doing so once every other month or so when the hobby got another hardcore convert. He says,"I quickly realized I needed to be brewing, like, all the time. So I started gathering gear and quickly went off the deep end, brewing 2-3 times per month."
Being a bit of a minimalist, Cupples opts for the Brew In a Bag (BIAB) method. BIAB is how it sounds; it is usually a single infusion mash where strike water is heated to a pre-determined temperature, a bag is added to line the kettle and grains are lowered into the lined kettle to convert the starches to simple sugars. The key difference from a traditional mash method being that the single infusion strike water needs to be the amount of liquid you need to reach your boil volume. This is because there is no batch or fly sparge step, you simply lift the grains out of the liquid instead of running the liquid off of the grains and running water through to rinse. It's important in this step to be careful and not to squeeze the bag too tightly in an effort to wring out any of those excess sugars lest you also extract tannins and thereby astringency. Glen does this in a 10-gallon kettle.
We paired Glen with Basil Lee and Kevin Stafford of Finback Brewery. With their recent 1 year anniversary (congrats, guys!), full brewing schedule, and participation at Savor in DC (not to mention all of the festivals they do in addition to their tap room in Glendale), coordinating schedules between the three of them became difficult. They opted instead to work on a beer that Finback had already brewed and make an addition to secondary. The beer, a sour ale brewed with nectarines is getting a shot of spice with fresh jalapeños. It will be a fruity, tart, and spicy beer. Glen is bringing a clean Belgian table beer which he believes will provide contrast. "My current fixation is making really flavorful Belgian ales that I can have a few of and not feel it." he says.
When asked if he had dreams of opening his own brewery, he emphatically states,"I do not plan on opening my own brewery anytime soon. I am, however, trying to make my way into the industry. I simply want to brew beer for a living. I'm not the entrepreneurial type though..."
Glen's homebrew, his curveball collaboration with Finback, as well as a beer from Finback will compete against one-of-a-kind beers from Greenpoint Beer and Ale Co., Other Half Brewing, Rockaway Brewing Company, and Sixpoint this Saturday, June 27th at Covenhoven. Tickets are still available here but space is limited. There are 2 sessions and we anticipate that the 2nd session will sell out and there won't be any tickets available at the door so get them in advance while you can.
The winner of Audience Choice will get to brew their beer on their partner brewery's full commercial system. That beer will be released and on draft throughout NYC. It's up to you to make a homebrewers' dream come true. See you on Saturday!