Private Beer Brewer in Tennessee gearing up for the big show!
An interview with Jeremy Taylor
(Founder of Panther Creek Brewing Club)
What sparked your interest with Home brewing and beer in general?
Well, the biggest spark was my buddy buying a kit and making it in his kitchen. I was a cook and was like “you can make beer at home”? I was already into trying different kinds of beer. My father, uncle and grandfather all home brewed, so I wasn’t a complete stranger to it. My chief interests were easily transferred to beer, the one thing I love more than food.
How long have you been home brewing?
About 7 years. Like a lot of brewers, I started with extract brewing, which is a syrup that skips a lot of steps in the brewing process. There is also a dry version; it usually comes in the kits. Eventually, the home brewer wants more control over what’s going into their beer, so all-grain brewing is the more advanced version of home brewing, and closer to what the pros do.
Without getting too detailed, for people that don’t know, how do you make all grain beer?
You use different barley and wheat to create base flavors. The barley is malted in big ovens at different times to create different flavors. You can buy the different malts at a home brewing store. My favorite is Rebel Brewer. You then crush the grain and mash it (hold it in water at different temperatures). This washes all the sugars out of the grain. Then, water that has been held at a certain temperature is run through to expel all the sugars previously extracted into a brewing kettle. Boiling the mixture for 45-90 minutes, depending on beer, varieties of hops may be added for flavoring, bittering, preservation and aroma. The mixture (called wort), is then added to an air- tight vessel and yeast is added to eat the sugars and create alcohol. You have just made beer. Wow, it’s hard to explain for people that don’t know. I just want to keep talking about it. Lol
How serious can this hobby get?
This hobby gets as serious as one wants it to be. All hobbies take time and money. The more the years go on, the more serious I feel about it. There is a great math and chemistry skill associated with getting serious. Anybody can brew. The artistic part is what differs among home brewers.
How serious are you about it?
I’m not normally a super serious person, but when it comes to beer recipe formulation, I get serious. If I want a beer to taste a certain way, I do the calculations to make it taste that way. You know?
Earlier you spoke of a home brewing club you’re in, tell us about that.
That would be The Mid –State Brew Crew. We are a home brewing club that meets at Liquid Smoke the first Saturday of every month. There are many things we do. We do club brews where we all brew the same recipe with the same ingredients and then compare with each other and talk about it. We also serve our beer at beer festivals across the Mid-State. Every year there is a Music City Brew- Off where we all compete for medals and feedback. We have a club crawl with all the other beer clubs in the surrounding area, get drunk, pass out and judge other peoples’ beers. It’s a great time. This year we will be at theBeer Festival Oct. 1, 2011 and Brewsboro Festival here in . Oct. 8
Panther Creek is like a brewing team; a club in a club, so to speak. It started with me, J.T. Gowen, Nishan Derbabian, and Melvin Stewart. J.T. and I live right off Panther Creek Road in Christiana. We decided that would be what we called ourselves. We talk of our dreams of our own brewery and a have a good time brewing. I cannot tell a lie, every home brewer has a brewery thought run through their head. Your friends are going to tell you how awesome it is. Many people will say “you should sell this”. The truth is that there is a lot to it and it’s the American Dream. Everyone wants to do what they love for money. My problem (and not a bad problem at that) is that I have an awesome career and the best hobby known to man. Does one really want to change that? We just keep on brewing up delicious brew.
Where can we get your beer?
Unfortunately it’s illegal to sell home brew, but you can give it away!! That is what we do at festivals. Also all the Brew Crew guys share their beers at club meetings and talk about them.
Would you give up your career for a brewery?
If the right moment and investor were to approach me….well, let’s see… If that happens, then I will answer that question. Lol. Speaking for myself only, I have a great job with great pay. When I’m not thinking about work (not often) I brew and spend time with my wife Jennifer and son Sage. It would be a big decision to give up a good job in this economy.
So why give away all your beer?
It’s more of a trade. It’s not like I’m not getting to drink other peoples’ beer. Festivals are a good time. I believe if you’re a good brewer, your small batch brews are going toup right next to the commercial guys. I make beer that is not the usual run of the mill.
What are your favorite types of beer?
The more types I try, the more I like. I like most styles of beer, but I especially love sour beers. I started as a stout drinker, but I have since fallen in love with hops! We are called “hop heads” lol
How do you find the time to brew?
You’re asking me? Lol. I try to do at least 2 batches a month (5 gallons); sometimes I double that. I usually just pick a weekend day and hope like hell it works out. There is a lot of prep work the day before, not to mention a week or so to formulate good new recipes. I spend about 4-5 hours on a brew day and probably the same amount getting ready for brew day. Not to mention all the work that comes after brew day. I usually have help on the actual brew day.
Ever have a batch go bad?
Only a few times. If I don’t get what I want out of a recipe, I am generally upset, but hopefully it is still a good beer. Experimenting with yeast can sometimes go south if you’re not familiar with it.
Home brewing has become popular; does this make you feel less unique?
Hell no. The art is what makes you unique. I would encourage anyone that loves craft beer to brew their own a few times, anything to put a dent in the giant breweries that run the commercial beer market. You know of whom I speak. That stuff can barely be called beer half the time! The more people that wield this craft and produce a tasty beer, the more I will have to sample, speak of, and try to make myself. More power to the home brewers! Lovers of beer, lovers of the crafting of beer. Cheers!
Anything else you would like to tell readers?
Yes. If you have ever had the notion, even the teeny tiniest little thought about crafting a delicious beer for yourself, your friends, and your family, do it!! Don’t be a wuss. Craft a beer and don’t give up. It has to be the most rewarding hobby I have ever experienced! Beer is more than a hobby, it is a way of expression. Those of you that are brewers know where I am coming from. I have met anof beautiful people. Don’t hesitate. Come check out the Mid State Brew Crew and learn from the best! home brewers!
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