An Evening with the Basic Brewing Guys

Basic Brewing Guys
Hanging with the Basic Brewing Guys - (from left to right) Steve, me, Andy, James

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to visit Northwest Arkansas.  While there, I had the privilege to meet up and hang out with the guys from Basic Brewing, my favorite brewing podcast and video podcast.  You may remember last year I had a chance to chat with the guys about the spontaneous homebrew I had made.

To begin the evening, we met up at Tanglewood Branch, where I had a chance to finally meet James, Steve, and Andy in-person.  While at the pub, I had a chance to try the porter made by the owner/brewmaster, J.T. Wampler.  After we finished our beers, we decided to head over to the Fayetteville square and enjoy some pizza from Tiny Tim’s Pizza and West Mountain Brewing Company.

West Mountain was a quaint restaurant that had been a pizza place for some time, but just began brewing at the end of 2011.  While there, as we were enjoying the pizza, I tried the Rye Pale Ale and the West Mountain Saison, with the saison being my favorite of the two.

After we had finished our meal, Steve decided to call it an evening, but James, Andy, and I went back to Andy’s home.  James had brought a few of the beers he had purchased while at the Great Taste of the Midwest the previous weekend in Wisconsin.  Additionally, I also wanted to see Andy’s automated brewing setup he had (along with the barrel he had just purchased; see the Basic Brewing Radio archives for more info).  While checking out the brewing setup, we split the Berliner Weiss James had just made (7/26/2012 episode of Basic Brewing Radio), along with a couple of New Glarus beers – the Thumbprint Saison and the R & D Sour Ale.  After a while, we realized it had gotten late, and we decided to call it a night.

Over the course of the evening, I had a chance to sample some great beers and enjoy great company.  I hope the next time I get a chance to visit Fayetteville the guys are available again, so we can have another great time.

Blue Tarp Brewing Co. in Decatur, GA

Blue Tarp Brewing Co.
Blue Tarp Brewing Co.

A week or so ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Tom Stahl, co-owner and head brewer of the soon-to-be brand-new Blue Tarp Brewing, located in Decatur, Georgia.

Over the course of about 90 minutes, Tom took me around the warehouse space that will be one of Decatur’s first production breweries.  In fact, Tom mentioned they helped change the law in Decatur to allow breweries.  At the time I took the tour, most of the equipment had been purchased or built, and construction was almost complete.

Tom mentioned the brewery plans on releasing two beers at launch, an IPA and a red, but I believe the names were still not finalized.  At launch, the beers will be on draft locally, with the plan to expand to a canning line in the near future.

When asked about the name of the brewery, “Blue Tarp”, Tom reminisced about when he and his good friend, also named Tom, first homebrewed, it was a rainy day.  Since they were using a propane burner outside, to protect the new brew from the elements, they decided to put up a blue tarp.  About halfway into the brew session, one of the brewers noticed a warning tag on the tarp that said “EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE, Do Not Place Near Open Flame”.  By that time, it was too late to take it down, and, luckily, the brew day ended without incident.  As an homage to that first day, Blue Tarp Brewing was born.

During the tour, Tom’s passion for great beer shined through, and I wish him a lot of luck with the new brewery.

Let us know if you get a chance to try some of Blue Tarp’s offerings when the y become available!

Heartbreak Brewing on Kickstarter

Heartbreak Brewing
Heartbreak Brewing

A startup brewery in Des Moines, Heartbreak Brewing, is trying a new way to fund a portion of the new nano-brewery, Kickstarter.  If you aren’t familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a new way to crowd-source funding for a variety of projects, including music, movies, and, in Heartbreak Brewing’s case, beer brewing.

What makes Heartbreak Brewing unique is it’s planning on going completely electric for reduced cost and reduced carbon footprint.  I spoke with Dan Haggerty, Jr., the owner, and he gave some of the initial details about the brewery:

  • They plan on starting small and expand
  • They will initially keg their beers and bottle some of the main beers.  He also mentioned they are going to support a bottle recycling program that will give points toward growler refills and merchandise.
  • The distribution will start in Des Moines, and go outward from there

I’ve contributed to the Kickstarter campaign that ends June 1st, 2012.  Support more good beer, and help the new brewery!