About this Blog: A Simple Brewer's Manifesto
"Simple" doesn't have to mean "basic." There are plenty of simple things that are the result of sophisticated evolution and understanding - in other words, simple can mean "efficient."
"Simple" doesn't have to mean "compromised." Simplification often means improvement - ever hear the phrase "less is more"?
What simple does mean, at least in the context of this blog, is a return to the essential simplicity and joy of beer and brewing. Beer doesn't need to be complicated. It doesn't need to be hard. Brewing can be done in ways that save you time, money, pain, and suffering. It can be a source of contentment and relaxation instead of the hyper-technical gauntlet many brewers feel they have to run to make good beer. And beer can be enjoyed and discussed in ways that don't have to revolve around IBU measurements and water chemistry!
There are thousands of beer blogs that get into the specialized and the scientific and the intensely technical - that's not what this is. This is a place to simplify your brewing and make it better. This is a place to consider beer culture and where you fit in it, and how you can help others to fit as well. This is a place to discuss how we discuss beer. Mostly, though, this is just a place to learn something that will make your beer and brewing life simpler, easier, and more satisfying.
Simple enough, I think.
About the Author: irrelevant bragging to establish brewing credibility
My name is Josh, and I'm a homebrewer ("Hi, Josh..."). I started brewing in 2007, owing to the encouragement and assistance of a great person who happens to be my brother-in-law (who shall remain unnamed here, until I ask him whether he's OK with being named herein). His initial simple guidance and feedback let me skip over a lot of the basic mistakes that plague new brewers, and that pragmatic and simple approach has guided me ever since, with a lot of success along the way.
I don't want to write any of what follows because it sounds self-serving and douchey, but if I don't, people will simply say that I'm recommending things that don't work, so here goes:
I can basically brew anything. I know that sounds arrogant, and I sincerely apologize, but I feel it's important to let you know that my knowledge isn't academic: I've put it to use and developed it by brewing widely within the universe of beer. I challenged myself to brew an award-winning beer in every BJCP style category, and did. I've studied cloning practices to perfect the subtle art and high compliment of imitation (Yards Brewing Co. founder Tom Kehoe once told me that my clone of his Washington Tavern Porter was "just like ours...only better"). I'm a process fanatic, and as a result I can usually hit what I'm aiming at the first time out. Anyone can - I'm not special. But I learned early on that doing it right really just means doing it thoughtfully and carefully, and caring about the right things. It's turned out well.
I'm a well-credentialed brewer. I'm a Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Grand Master beer judge - one of only about 50, worldwide. I'm a certified Expert Reviewer for Beer Connoisseur Magazine. I've been a paid consultant to several breweries, aiding in quality control and recipe formulation. And I'm a Certified Cicerone (R), because beer is about more than sanitation and recipes and process: it's about an understanding of the culinary experience of beer.
Finally, I'm a beer teacher. I'm a regular contributor to Brew Your Own Magazine and Craft Beer & Brewing. I've presented for the BJCP Judges Reception at the National Homebrewers Conference, and presented at the Conference itself. I've taught BJCP Judging Exam prep courses and mentored prospective judges in preparing for the exam. I've provided encouragement and guidance in the creation and growth of three homebrew clubs, and was a founding member and President of one of those (Stoney Creek Homebrewers in Phoenixville, PA).
Why am I writing this blog? Because I love homebrewing, but more than that, I love brewers. I love the sense of community. I love the feeling of fraternity. I love that brewing brings together people from fantastically different walks of life, from welders to farmers to doctors to cooks to scientists. I love that (most) brewers are so eager to improve and love getting feedback, even if it's somewhat harsh. I feel an obligation and a desire to give my very best to that community, because it is home to some of the most generous, giving, funny, wonderful people and friends I've ever known. I want it to grow. I want it to succeed. And I want to be as much a part of it as I can be. So, here I am, for a while, anyway. I hope you'll enjoy reading the blog, and I hope you'll let me know what I'm doing wrong (and right, if that happens to occur). Thank you for your time - I'll try to save you some on the back end in return.
Keep it simple,