Why Should People Drink More Beer?

Our friend wants to put together a documentary about us, our brewing process, and our beers. He plans on using only mobile devices for this documentary. Specifically, Windows phones. This will be done over time. Basically, he is going to compile a bunch of short videos and edit them into a story. We’ll be composing the music for this project…hopefully with the help of our musically inclined friends. We welcome our friends to be a part of this business venture. We want them and everyone else around us to get excited about it, because it’s more local beer to drink. We’re excited because we get to share things we love with people.

Anyways, so we’ve been talking to our friend about his documentary idea and he’s telling us about the information people will gain from this video. One of the questions this video will answer is “Why should people drink more beer?”, and we don’t think he was talking about stepping your game up from a 12 pack to a case of beer. We believe he was talking about drinking more varieties of beer instead of those big brewers who have crushed the beer culture in America, with their marketing geniuses who have convinced YOU that YOU like light watered down beer.

It’s fine with us if you like Miller Lite. We think it’s a shame, but we’re not going to judge you. At least you like beer. That’s a start, and we can respect that. You may not like the price of craft beer and that’s why you buy those light boring beers. We try not to be a snob about beer, but we don’t see the logic in drinking cheap beer. If we go to a bar and get a pint of Bud Light, it usually costs the same as a pint of an India Pale Ale. That’s like two beer for the price of your beer. But some people are set in their ways.

We can only give this analogy, we’re the person who likes to get the big ass burger from the deli down the street while you’re the person who buys the “big” burger from the fast food joint down the street. Actually, in our example we really do have a deli down the street from us that has big ass burgers and their’s costs less then the “big” burgers at fast food chains. But let’s pretend that the price is the other way around, the deli’s burger is bigger but it is a little more expensive than the fast food restaurant’s “big” burger.

So what’s the difference besides that prices? They taste different, right? One beef patty is produced in a factory somewhere and the the other patty is freshly made by hand on site with locally raised beef, right? Do you see where we’re going with this? Maybe this isn’t the best analogy, but which burger would you rather have? Don’t you dare say the mass produced one because you’re lying if you do. We think everyone would agree that they’d take the small business’s burger over the corporation’s burger. So why don’t you want the same quality when it comes to beer? You’re ingesting beer through your mouth just like food…WE HOPE. We understand that everyone has different preferences when it comes to what they like to eat or drink. We’re not trying to tell you WHAT you should drink. We are trying to explain WHY you should try more beers.

Can you tell we’ve given up ALL meat, including seafood, for Lent? Got burgers on our minds. We’ll admit, we have cheap beer every now and then. When we go to O’s games we have Boh’s because it’s nostalgic. We drink beers our passed loved ones used to love, like Pabst or Coors Light. But, the question at hand refers to drinking more beer. And here’s where we drive home our point. Ready?

Because it is the best time for beer in American history. We’re still not at the amount of breweries we had before Prohibition, but we’re getting there. And the world is more connected now than it has ever been. We’ve got more varieties now than every before. So next time you’re at a bar or at the liquor store try a beer you’ve never had before. Maybe try a different style of beer at a bar first before buying a whole 6 pack that’ll stay in your fridge until the next time you have guests. That way you don’t try to get them to drink the beer for you. Craft beer, as it is dubbed, is a movement. Be a part of this history in beer making. It’s kind of a big deal. Beer has been around for quite some time, evolving from it’s surroundings. Those cheap light beers are a reminder of how close the art and culture of beer came to being extinct. More importantly, people should drink more beer because, well, why not? It’s here now and tastes just lovely.

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Who will get it?

Riddim Brewing’s customer base will be those who love beer and love music. We celebrate creativity and friendship; we encourage innovation and we enjoy the gathering of people having a good time. Essentially our market is those who are adventurous with flavors of beer, those who need variety, and those who are committed to their local breweries.

But there are more in depth ways of looking at those who will get it. We’re drafting the “Potential Customer” part of our business plan and I’ve been trying to look outside of the box on the topic. Instead of statistics, I’ve given more thought into the specific type of people that will want our product. Here are a few personalities of craft beer drinkers who I believe will get the Riddim…

– Prideful locals who drink beer brewed in their home state, and maybe the bordering few states, exclusively will buy our product simply because it’s local.

– Some routine beer drinkers who always drink the same beer will find out that they like our beer and then they’ll stick with it.

– The beer enthusiast who has tried more craft beers than most people and still has yet to find a beer they claim to love will look to our brewery to seek not only our beers to try, but also to critique. Some may refer to this type of personality as a “beer snob”. 

– The true beer lover that loves pretty much every beer that passes their lips are passionate about discovering new styles and flavors of beer and we aim to provide that to all of our customers.

– Some curious people who want to experience craft beer and don’t know as much about it as their craft beer drinking friends will tag along with their beer loving friend and maybe we’ll be the brewery to introduce them to the craft beer experience.

More importantly, the “hop heads” out there will get it with our “Hop Notes” IPA and the “sweet tooths” out there will get it with our “Twist n’ Stout”.

 

Goals for 2014

2013 was a good year for Riddim Brewing Company. We finally came up with our name, had a logo drafted by Catherine Lesniewski, we placed 2nd in a home brew competition with our Twist n’ Stout, and now have a vision and mission for what we want to do with Riddim Brewing. Through research, talking with fellow home brewers who share our dream of running and operating a brewery, to visiting breweries all over, from the bay to the gulf through Appalachians and back, and even a little north into Pennsylvania, we’ve seen what our business goal should be. Basically, and more importantly, our brewery will give people an experience, a memorable moment and atmosphere that they can’t get from a large brewery. We also hope to inspire some folks.

So how do we get to where we want to go? First off, I don’t think people really understand how much thought and planning goes into starting a business. And every business is different. Luckily for us, and I’m being sarcastic, we’ve chosen a type of business that is in one of, if not the most regulated industries in the U.S. We’ve crunched numbers over and over again. We’ve drafted and redrafted a business plan several times now. I guess it’s good practice when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing? Better to be prepared, right? We still don’t have a business plan we’re completely happy with, but I have a good feeling about the new one we’re working on.

And that’s where we’re starting this year, composing a finally draft of our business plan. We’ve spent the last year talking with people from the zoning department, the state comptroller’s office, and even folks with TTB. Now it’s time for us to start from scratch, once again, with everything we’ve learned and gained over the past year, and just get it.

On top of constructing our business plan this year, we will continue to work on our brewing recipes, we will finalize our company’s logo as well as work with Beast from the Northeast on our beer labels, and then we’ll launch a website along with a kickstarter campaign. We will aim to raise the initial funds for leasing the space we need to make this happen. We can’t file any paperwork until we have a location for our business. Hopefully, if all goes as planned, we’ll be submitting our applications to the TTB and state comptroller’s office by the end of this year. The goal is to be opening our doors preferably by August of 2015. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves, let’s accomplish this year’s goals first. We’ll keep you posted.

Happy New Year, everyone! Thanks for reading! Cheers!

Happy Holidays from Riddim Brewing Co.

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Twist n’ Stout outside on our friend’s balcony at their annual Christmas party.

Tis’ the season for togetherness, presents, and partying. This past Saturday we contributed to our friend’s Christmas party by bringing a corny keg of our caramel Twist n’ Stout and, as you can see, we got creative with our beer tap. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what a corny keg is, it’s a 5 gallon soda keg. Soda used to be dispensed via keg, but now it comes in bags of syrup. Water and CO2 are then added during dispensing of the beverage. Have you ever noticed that when you fill your cup from a soda fountain the soda coming out is two colors, carbonated water and syrup? I assume that fountain soda is now packaged this way because it’s much cheaper?

Nowadays if you see one of these kegs it most likely belongs to a home brewer. There are two different kinds of corny kegs and they come in different sizes. The keg pictured above has ball lock valves. The other type of valves/kegs are pin locks. I don’t know if one is better than the other? I only have ball lock kegs. Obviously the fittings are different, so if your home brewer friend/significant other asked for a corny keg for Christmas, be sure to have them specify if they want a ball lock or pin lock keg. 

But back to the picture above. The beer, Twist n’ Stout, was said to be “cozy”, “great”, “delicious”, and “really good”. Weighing in at 6.5% ABV it helped our friends have a lot of fun, inspiring dance parties and singing. Judging by the weight of it now, I’d say 4 out of 5 gallons were consumed that night.

I’m my own worst critic. So I will always have some kind of an issue with my beer. So to me it was just “balanced”. I think it could’ve used some more caramel and could’ve had a little more mouthfeel to it. We will continue to brew it this winter and perfect it. I apologize for not taking pictures of the brewing process or of how we put that neat tap together. I did record some video during the brewing process, but after having a few beers (Old Chub and Raison D’etre) I got A.D.D. and forgot to record what I was doing. However, I can give you a simple summary of how we put the tap together.

The hardest part about making the tap was wrapping it. I didn’t even want to attempt it, so Colleen took care of that. Basically I took a cardboard box, gaff taped a piece of wood to the inside of the box, and drilled a hole through the wood and box big enough for the shank to fit through. Then Colleen wrapped the box, but the trick was to do it so I could open and close the box. She then tapped a hole in the paper where I had drilled the hole. Then I attached the tap, hooked the hose up to it, added some weight to the box with some random things, and finally closed the box, taping it up. Voila!  

We hope we’ve inspired you to get creative with a hobby you might share with your friends. Whether it’s brewing beer or crocheting. Presentation not only makes you look cool, but also makes you feel good about yourself and your effort to make something simple into something memorable. People will compliment you. And who knows, maybe that little extra work will inspire someone to have fun and be fun with their hobby too.  

Be safe and have a wonderful holiday, everyone!

 

The History Of TWIST n’ STOUT

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TWIST n’ STOUT is a play on words. Not only is the name a pun of “Twist and Shout”, it also describes our mission with the beverage. We want to put a twist on the style/stout. Hence the name “TWIST n’ STOUT”.

The history of TWIST n’ STOUT goes back 4 years. The original recipe was a clone extract recipe of a Guiness Dry Stout that I got from BYOB magazine. Because it’s no fun for us to make a beer that’s standard, we decided to experiment. We tried two different techniques for adding coffee to the stout. The guy at Annapolis Homebrew suggested either adding instant coffee or adding freshly brewed coffee before bottling. So we split the 5 gallon batch in half, adding Maxwell House instant coffee to one half and a cup of strong brewed Chocolate Coffee from Fresh Market.

The chocolate coffee version was a hit. And at that time, the best beer we had brewed. The instant coffee version, not so much. So around the same time the following year we brewed it again. It did not turn out the same. It was more like a porter. This time we split the batch into thirds. One third didn’t have anything added, it was just plain. Then we adding the chocolate coffee to the remaining 2/3, adding peppermint extract to a third of that. We ended up with 3 different versions of the same beer. We sent the version with just the chocolate coffee out to a BJCP sanctioned competition. We failed to enter it in the correct category, so our score was low. Basically, we wasted our money and some guy got to try some free beer. This is the reason why we just enter our beer in popular-vote contests and not in contests where some guy or gal judges the beer by the book. Good beer is good beer. Who cares if it’s to style.

The next year we decided to make it an Imperial Stout. We made a lot of changes to the recipe and ended up with a 9% ABV stout. At that point we were all-grain brewing. Using the bucket inside of a bucket method, we could only mash so much malt. So we used dry extract to bump up the gravity.

It was the strongest beer we had every brewed. We used WLP028 Edinburgh Scottish Ale Yeast to ferment the wort. Why not? It’s TWIST n’ STOUT, not STOUT e’ STOUT. Then we adding the chocolate coffee before bottling. Once again, TWIST n’ STOUT was one of our favorites. The following year we didn’t brew a batch of TWIST n’ STOUT. With so many recipes and ideas, our capacity was maxed out. We just didn’t have the space or time to brew it; we were busy experimenting with other beers.

Fast forward to late summer of this year. TWIST n’ STOUT went from being a coffee stout, to a unique imperial coffee stout, and now to a sweet stout…with a twist, of course. We did a chocolate/caramel/vanilla version of TWIST n’ STOUT for the EMP Collective Homebrew Hullabaloo. It turned out pretty good, but we thought it could use some improvement.

In October, the Little Havana Home Brew Extravaganza was approaching and we needed to make a beer for it. The competition raises money for BARCS and brings local home brewers together during Baltimore Beer Week. We decided to put TWIST n’ STOUT up against the other brews.

The malt bill consisted of pale malt, caramel 80L, instant flaked oats, a heavy dose of chocolate malt, a tad bit of victory malt, and some lactose (milk sugar). We hopped it with English fuggles hops and fermented it with Safale US-05 dry yeast. Then, during kegging, we added caramel flavoring used for coffee. We gutted and drilled two holes in a pumpkin, converting it into a beer tap holder, and stuck a bowl in the top of it to put chocolate/caramel candies to enhance the experience for those attending the event. We also set out information on TWIST n’ STOUT, like the recipe and BJCP style guidelines for a sweet stout. We wanted to be fun and informative.

Well it paid off. We won 2nd place out of 40 home brewers. We turned some non stout lovers into our stout lovers. It was an awesome experience. Not our first time, but we had a blast. Today we’ll be kegging another batch of TWIST n’ STOUT per request of our friend who was at the competition. He wants it at his Christmas party coming up and the Dude abides, man. This batch is different though. We’ve been pricing things for our planned nano-brewery and naturally we’d like to save some money where we can save money. So the recipe has less ingredients in it; less lactose, less chocolate malt, less caramel malt, and no victory malt. This is a trial run to see if the integrity of the brew is compromised with less ingredients.

We’ll post pictures and comments about the latest version of TWIST n’ STOUT hopefully by next Monday. Thank you for reading. Post a comment and/or tell your friends about us. We’ll keep you posted along our journey to becoming a nano-brewery.

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HOW TO: remove labels from bottles

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This post will cover the technique I, Dude, use to take labels off of beer bottles. I’ve been to home brew competitions where the brewer didn’t bother to take the labels off of the bottle. That just seems lazy to me. Colleen and I don’t put labels on all of our bottles of home brew, but when we do, we then have some bottles to use rather than going to the local home brew store (MDHB or Nepenthe) and purchasing bottles.

It’s more fun to buy the bottles from the local beer store. They have beer already in them. So you can drink some beer AND get bottles. I’ll admit that it’s not easy work to take labels off of bottles in your kitchen at home, using my method. It took me almost 3 hours to do about three dozen bottles yesterday, but it’s worth it to me. I won’t mention the breweries whose labels are a pain in the butt to take off. I will mention the brands that I found to be easy with my technique. Heavy Seas, Dogfish Head, Red Hook, Sam Adams, and Southern Tier were the easy bottles to take their labels off. Note that Sam Adams and Dogfish Head have their name or logo within the shape of the bottles. Heavy Seas and Southern Tier are your average 12 ounce bottles, while Red Hook has a different shape. Colleen and I actually used Red Hook bottles for our wedding beer/gifts because of their unique shape. We put labels on those bottles using myownlabels.com.

The key to getting the labels off of the bottles, using my technique, is to use hot water to loosen the glue and labels from the bottles. And in the process, you clean/sanitize the bottles. Before I get into how I take the labels off of bottles, let me first caution you about the dangers of the procedure. WARNING: Hot water, boiling at times, can burn your skin. Please use caution when dealing with hot water and hot bottles…that being said, let’s get to how to take those labels off.

2b858ca7-5b59-4b89-a2f9-b30b473ab89d_jpegTHINGS YOU WILL NEED: Large Pot, Oven mitts, Green Scotch Bright Pad, Wooden Spoon, Tongs, and a Wash Cloth.

STEPS:

1. Fill the bottles you are taking the labels off of with hot sink water. Place them in a pot large enough to submerge the bottles neck labels (if they have neck labels) and that has the head space for boiling water bubbles. Fill that pot up to the top of the labels with hot sink water. I use my old brew pot, a 3.5 gallon stock pot. I also use a small pot just to prep the next bottles I later add to the larger pot.

2. Place the pot on your stove burner and turn the heat on high. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat to medium. Return the heat to the high position if you are adding any new bottles to the pot, replacing a bottle that you’ve taken out to take the label off. Basically, you want the water to be almost boiling the whole time. Use the handle of your wooden spoon to keep the bottles standing up if they happen to fall.

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3. Using the tongs, pick the bottle up out of the pot by the neck of the bottle. Use the oven mitt to hold/stabilize the bottle. Place the bottle in the sink. Do NOT pour the hot water out of the bottle yet. For safety purposes, you can pour out a little bit if the water is filled to the very top. Remember, we’re using heat to loosen the glue, so we need the hot water inside the bottle to keep it hot.

4. Hold the neck of the bottle using a damp wash cloth and peel the label off of the bottle. Keep in the mind that there is still very hot water in the bottle. If the label isn’t easily coming off, then what I do is scrape the label off as much as possible using my tongs while running the bottle under hot sink water, before doing step #5.

5. Run hot sink water over the bottle and scrub the remaining glue off of the bottle using a green scotch bright pad. The hot sink water acts as a lubricant to help scrub the glue off. Examine the bottle to see if there is still any traces of glue on it. If there is, scrub some more with the scotch bright pad under the running water.

6. When the bottle is clean of label remains and/or glue, empty the bottle and set aside to cool. Sometimes a wet bottle won’t reveal the spots you might have missed. If there’s still some glue left on the bottle, use running hot sink water and the scotch bright pad to finish the job.

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I hope this has been helpful to you home brewers out there. Or maybe for you crafters out there that have been wanting to make something with used beer bottles. If you have a better way of doing it, please let me know. 3 hours is a good chunk out of the day to be spending taking labels off of 3 dozen bottles.

Once again, please be careful while taking the labels off using my method. You’re dealing with really hot water and glass. One can burn you and one can cut you.

Dude’s Xmas List

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Dear Santa,

I’ve been a fairly good boy this year. I’ve done some things for charity, I’ve managed to redo my kitchen without having a brain aneurysm, and well, you know how good I’ve been this year. Sure, I might have some regrets. I especially regret the hang overs. I think each year I get older adds another hour of recovery time.

I know I can’t ask you for inspiration for writing a song, motivation to record music and/or play some open mics, or anything else intangible. But I can ask you for stuff. Brewing equipment and beer, to be specific. So let’s go ahead and start with some brewing equipment.

First off, like I’m sure most home brewers could use more of, I would like more fermentation buckets. I can’t really have enough. I mean, I can. But if I want to start brewing one barrel batches then I should have at least 6 fermentation buckets. And speaking of one barrel batches, I would like three 55 gallon brew kettles from bubbasbarrels.com. As well as the steel for my friend, Stupid Steven, to build me a brew stand. Also, I’m going to need some hoses and quick disconnect fitting, 3 banjo burners, 2 wort pumps, and a counter flow wort chiller. I know that seems like a lot. And it is, but I can give others the gift of beer with these things. There are other things I need but I’m not going to be greedy.

Most people would prefer hot cocoa this time of year, but not this dude. I’d rather have a cold, strong brewski. During these cold months I like those 22 ounce bombers of delicious beer. And like I said, I like them strong. Imperial Stouts, Doppelbocks, and Barley Wines are what make me jolly this time of year. Honestly, I don’t even care who brews it or what the name of the beer is, although I prefer American beers.

If you get me all of these things this year for Christmas I promise I will brew a batch of chocolate chip cookie Milk Stout for you, Mrs. Claus, and all of your Elves. Next year, instead of cookies and milk when you come to bring me presents, you’ll have cases of beer to take back to the North Pole and throw yourself a little pat-on-the-back party for a job well done. I’ve never made a chocolate chip cookie Milk Stout before, but I will make it my New Year’s Resolution to perfect a recipe for you, Santa. Because I’m Dude, and I abide.

Merry Christmas,

Dude

Dude’s Philosophy Part II

What makes a beer a “good” beer? I think most of us didn’t like sipping Dad’s beer when we were kids. But, if you did then maybe that’s the reason you drink a six pack everyday or hit the bottle first thing in the morning. I’m not judging you if you do. That’s just not for me. But back to my point, what makes a beer “good”? Is it because it’s light and you can consume a dozen cans of it while tailgating at a sporting event? Is it because it’s packed full of flavor and aroma? Or is it simply because it turns bad feelings into good feelings?

The answer is subjective and is a matter of preference. Some people, like myself, explore different beers. Some people stick to what they know and what they like, and drink the same beer all of the time. And then there’s people, also like myself, that drink a particular style of beer not only because they like it, but also because of the season or the mood they’re in. Some of us have found that “good” beer, and some of us are still searching for it. If you don’t feel like reading all of this and you just want to get to the point then I suggest going to the last paragraph from here.

If you look on websites like beeradvocate.com you’ll see that really what makes a beer “good” is up to the person consuming it. Unlike beer, pizza is always “good” and if you don’t agree with that then you have no right wearing a TMNT costume at a Halloween party. But let’s not get off topic here. To tell you the truth, I’ve had more “bad” craft beers than I’ve had from the “domestic” market. And still I would rather drink a pint of craft beer any day over one of those clear, straw colored, light beers. Why? Personally, I like exploring beers, I know what styles I like, and a pint of craft beer is going to do a more sufficient job of turning “bad” feelings in to “good” feelings.

Probably the reason I’ve had decent “domestic” beers and quite a few “bad” craft beers is the fact that most “domestic” beers taste the same. And that’s really the reason I brew my own beer. Yes, I buy beer from the store too, but I brew because the beer I make doesn’t taste like the beer you or even breweries make. I’ve never really understood why a home brewer would try to brew a clone of a beer unless it was for a special occasion or a request. It takes less time to just drive to the store and buy two cases. There’s so many variables involved and it is challenging, but I like to come up with my own recipes. I used to take advice from online forums like homebrewtalk.com. But now I just go with my gut.

I met a less experienced home brewer and I told him about my experiences, and he kept on saying “…well on homebrewtalk they said…” and I hope he does open his brewery some day and does well. But, the best advice I’ve gotten in the past 5+ from that forum is that I should add roasted pecans to the mash and how to add potassium sorbate to sweeten my beer. I’m not saying that the people posting on that forum don’t know what they’re talking about. I just trust my gut and the people who have written books on the subject.

Back to what makes beer “good” though. The most valuable advice I’ve ever received, or maybe I should say the most valuable concept/term, was this idea of layering beer. We were @COASTBrewing and the fellow bearded gentleman there was talking about their Belgian beer with local honey and then he described it as being layered. And folks, THAT is what makes a beer “good”. I don’t think the color or look of a beer plays a part in what makes a beer “good”. Sure, it plays a role in what “style” it is, but not if it’s “good”. Why do you put a condiment on your food? Because it adds more flavor, or should I say layers of flavor? Am I making sense with this analogy? The most complete experience for your senses is when there’s this beautiful aroma, and that aroma carries into this more complex flavor, “…and it all blends perfectly.” But there are a good amount of people out there that don’t appreciate such an experience when it comes to beer and/or don’t want to spend a couple extra bucks. And I guess they’ll never get it?

Dude’s Philosophy

The beauty of music and beer is they’re both mediums of art that are time based. They both take more time to create than they do to consume. Sure you can put a song that you recorded on repeat. You can brew cases upon cases of beer. But when you listen or taste your creation it’s there and then its gone. Not to downgrade the art of photography or painting, but once you’ve captured or painted your subject, you can look at it all you want. With music and beer you have to play again or pop another one open.

Riddim Brewing Company’s foundation is rooted in this philosophy. And though we will use brewing math and science to prefect our recipes and brew a consistant beer, we will not use automation in our brewing process. We hand-craft our beer. Because, metaphorically speaking, would you rather hang a printed copy of art on your wall, or would you like a real version of a work of art on your wall? Sure, one costs more than the other. But, it’s got soul. It was made by hand and not some machine. We understand that when you’re mass producing a product that unless you’ve got elves or Oompa Loompas you can’t do it without machines. This is not for us though. We want to be analog and stay on the small size. Because what happens to artists who get big? They begin producing the same blah blah stuff over and over. It works and makes a ton of money, but it’s not art or music.

Ludwig Van Beethoven is Dude’s biggest musical influence. Behind him would be The Beatles, MetallicA, and Bob Marley. Beethoven didn’t write a song, get popular from it, and just keep playing the same kind of songs. He wanted to separate himself from the other composers and he wanted to write music that was the best of his abilities, never settling for less even when he was deaf. Now replace composers with “brewers” and write music with “brew beer” from the previous sentence. And take out the part about being deaf. That’s the focus of our beer. We want to brew unique beers at a high level of perfection and quality.

Thank you for taking the time to read some random thoughts from Riddim Brewing Company. This has been Dude, speaking in third person on behalf of Riddim Brewing Company. Please leave us a comment or ideas for future posts.

 

 

Dude’s Epiphany

What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?

Like most people in their early 20’s, I liked to party, and I still do, just not on the same frequency or level. The beer of choice back then was focused on quantity and how much it costs, rather than the quality of the beverage. Beer, in general, changed my life. I mean, I always thought that I’d grow up to have a career in music. I even went to a sound engineering school to get into the business. But beer changed that, and this post is about a single experience that changed my life.

For the past 8 years, Union Mills Homestead, a national historic landmark, hosts an annual Maryland Microbrewery Festival. It’s a festival with live music, local vendors, and more importantly, locally crafted Maryland beer. My wife, then girlfriend, and I went to the festival 7 years ago. That day changed my life, because I found out about craft beer. I never had any craft beer before that festival. The single moment that changed my life was when I had Heavy Seas’ Loose Cannon. From drinking that beer, my goal in life changed from making music, to making beer. Shortly after I made this discovery, I finally got a job that had something to do with what I went to school for, but I knew that’s not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to open a brewery and make beer.

So that same year for Christmas my wife, Colleen, got me “How To Brew” by John Palmer. I read it once. Then, I read it again and took notes. And then, I read it again and took more notes. The next Christmas my wife got me a brewing starter kit. Which consisted of two buckets, one for fermenting and another for bottling, a bottle capper, a hydrometer, and some other little stuff I don’t remember because I never used them. So one day, a week or so later, a friend and I got some bottles, an extract brewing kit, and a 3.5 gallon brew pot. We brewed a pale ale…and I’ve been brewing beer, reading books, and planning to open a brewery ever since.