Charlie Papazian @ Bitter & Esters Part 2: Homebrew Swap Q&A

10733719_891600054192193_5584874814975917766_oAfter interviewing Charlie he went out for a dinner interview with Ale Street News founder and editor Tony Forder and I stayed at Bitter and Esters waiting for the evening’s homebrew swap to begin at 6pm. Then at around 7, Charlie returned to a packed shop bustling with homebrewers sharing their recent zymurgical creations. Bitter and Esters owner John LaPolla asked him if he’d like to speak before or after trying a few home-brews and he replied that he’d speak first. So everyone gathered around the tables at the back of the shop and payed close attention to the words of the “godfather of American homebrewing and craft beer.”

Once Charlie finished his informative and entertaining introductory words he welcomed questions from the crowd and answered them with him both useful information and stories of past experiences which left everyone laughing and full of homebrewing pride. In turn, part two includes my footage of  Charlie’s words to the crowd (intro. and Q&A) along with him choosing the winner of the swap (explained in the video and below).

Overall, meeting and spending some quality time with Charlie was an experience that I’ll never forget. He is a true gentleman and exudes a contagious sense of pride in spreading the messages of homebrewing that all craft and homebrewers can relate to and internalize. If you haven’t had the opportunity to meet him in person his books, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing and The Home Brewer’s Companion are a great way to get to know his approach to homebrewing and instill a sense of fun into your homebrewing experiences (both of them are available for $17.99 at Bitter and Esters). Lastly, while I knew of Charlie’s slogan “Relax don’t worry have a homebrew” before this event, after interviewing and sharing beers with him I can honestly say that following it can help any one who has chosen to brew their own beer become a better brewer by heading its meaning (discussed in parts 1 and 2).

For more footage from this event including the history of “Relax don’t worry have a homebrew” and Pie Day check out the Bitter & Esters blog post about this event.

Topics discussed and Questions asked in the above video:

  • How many beers Charlie will have brewed by the end of 2014? Keeping things simple to be able to brew often.
  • Homebrewing hint: Sealing bottles will paraffin or sealing wax to protect beers that you’re aging (homebrew and craft) from oxidization.
  • History of The Home Brewer’s Companion.
  • What’s in Charlie’s fermenters now? – Story of his Barkshack Ginger Mead
  • Things that have shocked him about yeast and hops over the years: being able to culture and then ferment beers with yeast from a 24 year old bottle of homebrew.
  • Story of the Cry Havoc yeast strain (WLP 862) – How Charlie obtained his original vial of it and where the strain originated from.
  • “Knowledge is great, but you have to go with your experience/s”
  • Hop descriptors in Charlie’s books are from his experiences brewing with them and not just rubbing hops in his hands and trying to pick out aromas.
  • Has Charlie ever thought of opening his own brewery?
  • Using cinnamon in the mash to prevent precursors of hot side aeration and stabilize beer quality. Coriander’s ability to preserve beer.
  • What’s the worst homebrew disaster that you (Charlie) have experienced recently?
  • Charlie picks the winner from the 4 homebrew swap crowd chosen beers.
  • A few pictures from the event.

Cheers and Keep on brewing!


About Barry W

Israel (formerly NJ) based sourdough baker and fermentation enthusiasts sharing his baking, fermenting, cooking, and brewing adventures on
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