Behind the Brewer with Strange Brü
Talking with other brewers is one of the best ways I know to make better beer. We’ve all got our own styles and tricks for brewing great batches. I asked a few homebrewers I’ve met to share their process and advice. Welcome to Behind the Brewer.
Where do you live & brew?
We homebrew from our backyard in Dallas, Texas!
What was your first brew day like? What did you brew?
The first brew that we created together was Mariposa, which is an Oatmeal Coffee Stout. The base of this brew was an extract with specialty grain. Our favorite part of this beer was that we used locally roasted coffee from West Oak Coffee Bar in Denton, Texas. Overall, the brew day went very well. We made no mistakes (winning) and the beer had a solid rich flavor and body. It has been hard to recreate it because the coffee blend was discontinued at the coffee shop. Sad times.
What type of brewing do you do these days?
We like to experiment and make mistakes. We have not limited ourselves to one style, because there are no limits to brewing (evil voice). We have produced the following beers styles; American Wheat, Kölsche, American Lager, New England Indian Pale Ale, Brown Ale, Stout, most recently a Berliner Weisse. Jacob’s favorite style to brew is an American Lager and Adriana’s favorite style is an American Wheat.
We have geared from using extracts (which are still great) to all-grain Brew In a Bag (BIAB). We really enjoy starting from scratch. Therefore, that also means we like to use flames to get our brews going. We would use an all wood fire if we could, but we opted out and use propane and propane accessories. God dammit Bobby.
Our setup has grown tremendously in comparison to our beginning stages. For example, we used to cool down our wort in an ice bucket and now we use a wort chiller. The only original pieces from our starter kit are a fermenting bucket and that orange Home Depot bucket, a staple. The most significant upgrades are our transferring tools, such as our pump. We call him “Lil’ Pump.” Any trap fans? Also, our mash/lauter tun and ten-gallon boil kettle.
Any recent brewing experiments you’d like to share?
We recently bought a Randall, which is a tool that allows us to infuse our brews with anything from fresh fruits to herbs. So that is our next experiment. We will be using it to infuse the Berliner Weisse with a secret ingredient (we haven’t decided, yet).
Decoction mashing is a new technique we will be dipping into. We’ll let ya’ll know how it goes on our Instagram stories.
What’s the best beer you’ve ever brewed?
This is getting personal. (Jacob and Adriana give evil stares). Jacob believes that the Mango Kölsh, better known as Victor’s Chanclas was the best because it was, “crisp, refreshing and tasted just like champagne mango juice.” Adriana believes that PERA, our American Wheat beer blended with fresh pears was the best because it was like biting into a juicy pear and had a clean wheat finish.
What’s your favorite commercial brewery or beer?
Adriana’s current favorite beer is the Peach Beerllini Radler by Left Hand Brewing and her favorite brewery is Martin House Brewing Company from Fort Worth, Texas.
Jacob’s current favorite beer is Necessary Evil (Pilsner) from Manhattan Project Beer Company and his favorite brewery is Braindead Brewing Company from Deep Ellum in Dallas, Texas.
What does your brew crew look like?
Our crew is sexy, for sure. We (Adriana and Jacob) are the main brewers, but our family normally helps with serving and set-up at homebrewing events.
Do you enter homebrew competitions? Any award-winning beers or good feedback from judges?
YES! We heavily enjoy representing at homebrew competitions. Our first was Labor of Love hosted by Deep Ellum Brewery in 2018. We won second place in the pale wheat category with PERA, our American Wheat and pear blend.
This year we took second place overall in the Krausen Cup by Imperial Yeast with our D.R.E.A.M. America Lager.
What advice would you give to a brand new brewer?
What techniques have made your beers significantly better?
Using the nylon grain bag is our best friend because we don’t have to recirculate the wort and we don't have stick mashes. Recirculating the wort without the bag can be time-consuming.
Favorite ways to spend your time outside brewing?
We are artsy as fuck. Jacob is in a band and plays the bass and guitar. Adriana paints, cooks, and writes (poetry, stories). Together we make funny skits on our Instagram stories.
Anything else you’d like to share?
We would like people to check out our page (@strange_bru_)! We like to hear advice and just simply converse about beer.
Thanks so much, Adriana and Jacob. Cheers and brew on friends!