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Skyler

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I am a 36 year-old attorney and former high school teacher who has been brewing for nearly 14 years. I am somewhat active on the American Homebrewers Association forum, but have been seeking different forums of late, as the culture there has grown rather toxic (like so much else here in the US). The reason I joined this forum specifically is that I have had a deep-felt affection for British bitter since my semester abroad in London back in 2004. Other UK connections of mine are mostly friends that I made while living in Italy, one of whom had me as his best man when he was married back in 2015 (planning a stag do with a 9 hour time difference is quite challenging, btw).

I have lived in various parts of the US (San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley, Los Angeles, Central California, Portland (OR), and NYC) and spend considerable time in France, Italy, England and Spain. I've also traveled to 40+ different countries and my dad is retired in Thailand, so I go there somewhat regularly. In Britain, I have been to London (I lived in EC1-Clerkenwell), Bath, Brighton, various parts of Cornwall (stayed in Polperro for a long weekend), Birmingham (where my friend used to live, though he is from Chester), Stratford-Upon-Avon, the Isle of Wight, Llandudno, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness (and various towns in the Highlands). I have also been to Belfast, Dublin and Cork. Most of my experience in thye British Isles came after the age of 20, but some of it was from my childhood, including most of the Highlands stuff (I have a Scottish surname and that meant something to my dad). I did drive the last time I was in Britain, which was reasonably exciting for me, aside from that drivers in Wales were generally rude (drivers in Texas are worse, though).

I haven't bottled anything in years, and keep six homemade drinks on tap (currently all beer, but sometimes cider and soda). I only brew all-grain, excepting wort for yeast starters or minor adjunct additions to styles that benefit from them. I batch sparge in a large cooler and mostly brew 20L batches, though I have capacity to brew 40L at a time. My favorite styles to brew are Black IPA, Strong(ish) Bitters (~1.040-1.048 SG), American-style Amber and Brown Ales, American Porters, and Czech-style dark lagers. I have been working hard at getting better at lager-brewing and west coast IPAs lately. I used to brew a lot of Belgian styles, but got tired of them (and they are hard to serve when carbonated properly in a keg using American-style faucets). I genuinely love good bottled Belgian ale, though I rarely want 20L of it, so it's not worth bottling a batch (maybe when Wyeast re-releases 3864).

Having lived for 6 years in Portland and decades in California, I am probably pretty familiar with most of the top west coast breweries you would see sold in British beer stores or fancy off-licenses. I am probably a good resource on that sort of information.
 

Galena

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Hello mate and welcome to the forum, sounds like you are well travelled this side of the pond. This forum is rather friendly I think and certainly I haven't experienced any toxicity as yet, but I know how easy things can go that way on t'internet. I do read the American Homebrewers Association forum from time, usually Google takes me there when I am researching a problem. Anyway all the best.
 

Chippy_Tea

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I am somewhat active on the American Homebrewers Association forum, but have been seeking different forums of late, as the culture there has grown rather toxic (like so much else here in the US).

Welcome to the forum Skyler.

Our sister site is in America and may be of interest, i don't visit often and do hope its not turned toxic as it always seemed pretty laid back - HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.
 

Skyler

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Yeah, I also use HBT from time to time, though it's a lot more "casual" and there doesn't seem to be the same level of expertise there as on the AHA forum (I also used the Northern Brewer forum way back in the '00s). I find the American forums tend to be pretty genuinely bad at understanding British beer, though. I hope this is a good place to improve my bitter brewing and cider making.
 

Skyler

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Crikey... you're like a gypsies dog!
That Welsh thing.... we're not THAT bad...I always wave with either one or two fingers!
It's good here...you'll like it!!
I had a severe case of wanderlust in my teens and 20s. Overall I had a pretty good time in North Wales. People kept saying, "sorry, I thought you looked English" to my wife and I, which we thought was funny because "looking English" isn't an insult to Americans at all. I recall a cider in Llandudno that was simultaneously extremely smooth and extremely potent... Black Dragon, maybe? Served in a proper pint at nice cellar temperature with low natural carbonation; that stuff was deadly.
 

Worf

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Greetings. Only been here (this forum) for a few months. Was in Sacramento Cty for 5 yrs before coming to AZ desert be at the beginning of March.
Married to a Brit, regular trips over to the UK have me an appreciation for English bitters, but having a German influence in my pedigree enjoy good I dunkle & back as well.

Welcome Skyler.
 

Banbeer

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Welcome along @Skyler, nice intro but you left out your shoe size and inside leg 😆 Good luck with all you brew. athumb..
 

Gerry99

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Welcome Skylar. I’m from Donegal and don’t have access to bitter either. I’m just back from a week in England and really enjoyed trying the different ales and bitters. Great forum here with loads of information.
 

samale

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What an introduction, you missed the best part of Ireland. Derry/ Donegal.
 

An Ankoù

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Welcome to Valhalla, Skyler. Glad some of you guys across the Pond enjoy a proper English bitter. To my mind it's not an easy style to get right: easy to make a decent pint, but not necessarily exactly as you like it. Having said that, Bitter is a dynamic style and, in general, it's a lot sweeter now than it was in the 70s, 80s (before your time, junior!)
I get what you say about Belgian beers and about bottling. For me, they're far too strong for a serial pints-swiller so for, that matter, are the imperial IPAs etc. and that's where the bottling and small batch brewing comes in. I don't do anything bigger than 5 Litre kegs, but if I used bigger ones, I certainly wouldn't want them tied up for months with a Belgian sipping tripel. Thanks for the offer of insights into American styles; I may very well come back to you later on that. Happy brewing.
 
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