Hello - USian, love of British ales and of England

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New Member
Dec 20, 2023
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Hello all, wanted to introduce myself and to thank you for welcoming me into your community. Some of you, I see, who are members here will know me from HBT (gadjobrinus over there).

Bit of an admittedly lengthy background:

I began brewing in the early 90's when my wife bought me a kit and Charlie Papazian's book. With the first brew I was blown away by the possibility of brewing beers of high quality at home, and I was hooked. I brew almost exclusively in the British tradition, and more & more over time I have taken in particular to the Yorkshire way of doing things, though I love so many British ales and regions.

I once worked in our craft industry, the company Goose Island in Chicago. I was national distribution manager at a time when the Founder, a true original in our craft brewing scene, was making a concerted push to "go big" before eventually selling to a host of mega-concerns, among them SAB and now, Anheiser-Busch. He sailed away on a golden parachute and as far as I'm concerned, AB's imprint on Goose Island is now patently evident. But in its time, Goose was a tremendous pioneer and I feel lucky to have worked there and learned so much (prior to running the distribution, I had begun in packaging and eventually, into quality control and the micro program and cellar). While there, studied some via Heriot-Watt's malting and brewing diploma program though it was via distance learning and I didn't complete the training.

While at Goose, one of the greatest experiences of both my life and the young married life of my wife and I, was my wife's entering us in a "World Beer Tour" web contest and of all things we won the grand prize. It included a two-week trip to England, beginning with a multi-course dinner, pairings with beers, at the White Horse in London with Michael Jackson and Mark Dorber. Then on to a bit of a brewery tour through the Midlands all the way up to Stoke-on-Trent. We stayed in London for a few days (Fuller's; Young's; pub crawls, including Blackfriar), then on to Hook Norton and surrounding villages, where we stayed at the Reindeer Inn and toured Hook Norton and got to know it's ways. Then on to Stoke-on-Trent and Titanic, with the wonderful Ian Bradford at the helm.

I was a committed brewer until about 5 years ago, when I finally confronted years of poor health and a serious medical condition, and made the conscious decision to radically turn around and get my house in order. I only recently returned - though my consumption has dropped off considerably (I might have a pint every few days or so), my passion for traditional British brewing never waned and I'm very glad to be back. Pretty humble this time around - went from a 3-vessel, 20 gallon propane-blasting system on gleaming stainless from Spike (a local small brewing equipment fabricator) to 5 US gallon brewlengths on our kitchen stove, an Igloo mash tun, and plastic fermenting buckets, My first brew back was a bit of Coniston Bluebirdesque, a test brew for learning the parameters of the new system (conditioning now; photo in early condition below). I have two fermenting now - a best bitter and a strong bitter, both on Wyeast 1469 and more or less following the rousing protocols of Black Sheep, Timothy Taylor et al, on a home level.

The "Coniston" at one week of bottle conditioning - primed for a mere 1.7 vCO2:

5 days in bottle-min.jpg

Thank you again for welcoming me and hello over here to some members I've known from HBT for a long while now. - Paul
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Many thanks all. Many truly fond memories of your country and looking forward to returning, this time with my son in tow. In truth I feel like I've forgotten everything, very rusty, so am soaking up a ton from British brewers like yourselves. Cheers.

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