Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Beer So Far: Highbrau Brewing

As I mentioned in the previous post, I began homebrewing in early 2008 and started taking it really seriously in early 2009, when I moved up to an all-grain system. I enjoy sharing my creative works with others, and since I wanted to practice everything from the creation of beer to its marketing and serving, I created a "brand" for my homebrews and made a website for them:

Click to see the website.

One of my passions throughout my life has been literature. I began reading at a very young age, and continue to consume books voraciously to this day. I enjoy everything from the literary classics to modern science fiction, and am constantly on the lookout for new books. When I decided to create a brand for my homebrews, I wanted to fuse these two interests into something that would pay tribute to them both. I came up with the name Highbrau, and my friend Justin Wolf put together some logo and brand design for me. Since then, I've been using the Highbrau brand to market myself and my beers, and have taken some steps to ensure that I can use the name professionally in the future should I choose to do so (check out!).

From the beginning of my homebrewing career, I had an equal enthusiasm for brewing classic examples of traditional styles, and experimenting with new ingredients, techniques and concepts. I've created traditional English bitters, Baltic porters and Reinheitsgebot-compliant German lagers, complete with double decoctions and long aging periods. Standing right alongside those beers have been more unusual concoctions like black saisons, American table beers, Belgian imperial stouts and smoked rye doppelbocks. The last beer to be brewed in my current apartment was a low-alcohol Belgian farmhouse ale, infused with lavender and dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace hops. The whole wide world of beer fascinates and entices me, and I've tried to span my work across as many parts of it as possible, from the simplest session beer to the most painstakingly-crafted sour ale. 

To improve my craft, I completed my education at the Siebel Institute in Chicago, while doing independent research and seeking out critical feedback from as many sources as possible. Both the homebrewing and professional brewing communities have been very helpful, and I'm thankful for all the assistance they've given me... along with lots of good times and good beer.

Below are a few of my personal favorites from over the years:

Big Brother Brown Ale - An American brown ale, brewed to hefty proportions and heavily hopped like an IPA. Sweet and roasty malt flavors mesh with Willamette and Cascade hop bitterness. Doubleplus Delicious! (6.5% ABV, 59 IBUs, brewed on 06/21/2010)

Raketemensch Weizenbock - A screaming comes across the sky, and it's a hefty German wheat beer aimed directly for your glass. Munich malt and dark wheat give it a rich, bready malt body, accompanied by banana and clove flavors from the weizen yeast. "Fickt nicht mit der Raketemensch!" (8% ABV, 20 IBUs, brewed on 10/03/2010)

Dorian Gray Pale Ale - Pilsner malt, Hallertauer hops and Belgian Trappist yeast... that's it! This beer draws great complexity from its simple recipe. Grainy malt, herbal hops and fruity, spicy yeast character all combine to make a refreshing, delicious beer. Nothing's more satisfying than a pitcher of Dorian Gray! (6% ABV, 29 IBUs, brewed on 01/08/2011)

I leave for Denmark in five days, and from the looks of it, S√łgaards Bryghus exercises the same mix of traditionalism and experimentation that I do. I expect it'll be a good place to brew.

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