The Inside Pint: from artisan brewer Duane Bargar
Posted On Wednesday, May 20, 2015
As someone keenly aware of my Irish and Prussian heritage, I really enjoy a well made, cold glass of beer. In the back of our minds we're aware that some amount of labor had to go into making the refreshing product we enjoy so thoroughly. Events like beer month highlight this to a degree, but you still have to do a little digging to find out what it really takes to turn out a truly craft beer. Fortunately for you, due to the diligence of a certain blogger and the endless patience of Duane Bargar, a home brewer, some of the nuances of brewing will be demystified.
Duane Bargar has been brewing his own beer at home since 1995 and competed in competitions across the nation from 2009-2013. In 2012 he was a steward of Asheville's own Blueridge Brew Off, and in his final year, 2013, was a judge for the same competition. His brews have won 16 first places, 11 second places, and 11 third places. As if his credentials alone weren't enough for you to take this guy seriously, in my interview with him, he said, "For me, it's not about having a drink that tastes good or something that after a glass or two makes me feel good, like it is for some guys. For me, it's more about learning about the historical time period and regional techniques that have influenced beer." As he gained more experience as a brewer, he started making his own recipes based off of the historical accounts of ingredients and processes specific to certain regions and brought those to competitions. Unfortunately, his interest in brewing didn't translate into professionally producing beer, like he hoped. However, his experience is our gain, as by now it's incredibly obvious the man knows what he's talking about. If you're interested in more information about Duane and his awesome Brews, check out his facebook page for Luther's Brew Haus. Here is the brewing break down as related by Duane.
Steeping the grain is almost the same process as making tea, says Duane, except that as the grain steeps sugar is pulled from it and creates the wort, which the hops are added to it and the wort is brought to a boil for about 60 minutes.
2. Add Yeast
Next the Wart cools down and the yeast is added. An interesting fact Duane explained is that, the type of yeast used will influence the flavor of the beer.
Finally! The beer is fermented, which gives it it's alcoholic properties. Duane explained that even this is an important process, it's not enough to simply put the beer in a container and let it sit for a week. Depending on the type of beer, it has to ferment at a certain temperature. For example, a Lager can be fermented at room temperature, while an Ale must be brought down lower.
The last step, and possibly the best is to pour a cup of your hard work and enjoy it with your friends!
Now the next time you sit down and pop open a cool one, you can not only be aware of all the effort and science that goes into brewing, but you can also be a fount of knowledge with your friends! You also have the opportunity for some great dialog openers with some of the craft brewers who will be flooding Asheville this summer. They're a really terrific group of guys who have really given a manly overtone to the art of creating. Regardless of who you use this information to impress, or if it's inspired you to look into home brewing for yourself, here's to you - or as my family says, Slainte!