It all started in the kitchen of a college house in Cincinnati shared by 5 guys. It was the kind of place that screams cleanliness. Armed with some of my best friends and just a little bit of sense, I boiled water on the stove and added malt extract and hops. The first inkling of a dream began to form in the back of my mind as I poured my creation into a plastic bucket. The yeast sloshed and mixed as I carried the bucket into the basement to let it sit and ferment. Weeks later after bottling that first batch, I cracked one open and thought to myself, “this is actually pretty good.”
For three years I continued to brew in the kitchen (a much cleaner one). Not every beer was as good as the first one, and in fact, some were pretty terrible. I learned a lot from each brew, some hard lessons including dumping beer that is not good enough; and some marriage saving moments like always having a vanilla stout available for Kristin. I continued to learn about good brewing practices like sanitation, caring for yeast and temperature control. With every brew session my passion grew, and I began to dream more frequently about someday owning my own brewery.
Eventually I was brewing often enough that Kristin kicked me out of the kitchen. You could say that this is where the adventure that is Trek brewing really begins. After a few years of slowly buying and replacing equipment I decided it was time to build the system I wanted.
My engineering background was put to good use as I planned my new garage brewery. Brewing is a combination of art and science and I wanted to lock down the science. I put a focus on process and control in the new system. I wanted to build a system that allowed me to brew beer through repeatable processes and accurate measurements.
The result was a ten-gallon, electric brewing system. Armed with my new system I started to really hone in on my beer recipes. Having repeatable processes allowed me to focus on the art side of brewing. Nothing was off limits. I tried recipes across the board, and I started to win awards from red ales to imperial stouts. I studied to learn as much as I could about different beers styles and became a certified beer judge through the Beer Judge Certification Program.
Along with my new brewery, I started to use kegs, and have my beer on tap at home. We started bringing growlers of beer to parties, and would often have friends over for tastings. We collected feedback from friends, and soon our friends were asking to come fill growlers before they had parties. This is where the dream moved from being a passive thought to an active obsession. It became the focus of conversation first for Kristin and I, then for our families and friends.
As we forge ahead on this new trail, we’re not forgetting where we came from; the electric brewing system that I built is being expanded to one-barrel to serve as the pilot system at Trek. It will continue to be a platform for experimentation and expanding the offerings at the taproom. The recipes I developed will become the backbone of Trek Brewing’s lineup. We can’t wait for you to try them out and find your favorites. Who knows, maybe you’ll dream up your next adventure. Beer has a way of doing that.