Brews Review

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April 22, 2014
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Brews Review: Take a class, raise a glass to salute home brew day

The craft beer scene continues to explode nationally, with over 2,000 new breweries in the planning stages.

Roseburg, or Brewburg, as we’re becoming known, is no exception. Our five local breweries — Drapers, Two Shy, Old 99, McMenamin’s, and Backside ­— are producing some of their best beer yet and there’s a “tun” of beer events taking place.

Logger’s Tap House is hosting Tap Take Overs, where guests get to meet the brewers and sample their creations. Splitz Grill is hosting delicious Brewmasters food and beer pairing dinners. Our guild brew club is busy mentoring new home brewers and providing lots of fun and educational beer-related activities.

May 3 is National Home Brew Day, an annual American Homebrewers Association event where folks get to talk, make and taste homebrewed beer.

Our local club, the Umpqua Valley Brewers Guild, will be hosting a rally from 1 to 4 p.m. at Backside Brewing Co. at 1640 Odell St. in Roseburg. It’s a fun time to check out the club, meet members and sample beers. Old Soul will be there crafting wood-fired pizzas and Backside Brewing will be serving up its latest offerings.

May 17 is Brewhaha, a brew fest at Douglas County Fairgrounds. Brewhaha is a fund raiser for Douglas County Habitat for Humanity. There’ll be dozens of craft beers from which to choose, music and entertainment, demonstrations and an opportunity to receive a “Ph.D.” from the “Brewniversity.”

“Professor” Denny Conn, a legend in brewing circles, will be doing a guided tasting class on six different beers. He’ll give attendees in-depth knowledge and appreciation of where the beer styles originated, how they’re made, and the best ways to taste, evaluate and enjoy these beers. There will be a limited number of tickets available for this special presentation.

Denny Conn has been a brewer since 1998, when his wife gave him a home brew kit as a gift. He enjoyed cooking and says brewing didn’t seem that much different.

His first batch turned out great, and he was hooked from then on. Denny has won many competitions with his beers and written numerous articles for magazines and books. His beer recipes have been used by commercial breweries. He also serves on the American Homebrewers Association advisory board. He has co-authored a new book, “Experimental Brewing,” to be released in November. He continues to mentor countless home brewers with his no-nonsense, cheap and easy methods for producing great beer.

Q. Denny, can you share your most memorable brewing experience?

 A. That would have to be the day that a friend in the Cascade Brewers Society brought John Maier from Rogue to my house for Big Brew Day. I had just brewed a batch of Rye IPA and I gave John a glass. He looked at me and said “This is the taste I’ve been looking for!” I’ll never forget that. He asked for the recipe. A few months later I heard through the grapevine that he’d given a speech about how he’d tasted this great homebrew and was going to brew it for Rogue’s 15th anniversary. I was over the moon!

Q. What are the three most important things necessary to brew successfully, in your opinion?

A. A goal, a plan to achieve that goal, and the ability to think through the steps you need to take to implement your plan. Successful brewing isn’t about fancy, shiny equipment, though if that’s what you like, you can do it.

Denny, that sounds like pretty good advice for life in general. Save one of those Brewniversity tickets for me.

Diane Griffin, aka the Alewyfe, of Roseburg is the president of the Umpqua Valley Brewers Guild, umpquavalleybrewersguild.com. A retired business owner, she’s been a home brewer since 1988. She also belongs to the Cascade Brewers Society of Eugene and the American Homebrewers Association.

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The News-Review Updated Apr 22, 2014 12:24PM Published Apr 23, 2014 05:27PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.