Wednesday, March 12, 2014
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Craig Dilger, who has been brewing beer at home for the past nine years, will be on the upcoming Portland Brew Week’s tour of home brewers. Dilger, left, with help from his friend Bill Boguski, generally brews up several batches of beer each month at his Portland apartment.
Photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer
Dilger and Boguski stir in ground barley to create the mash mixture that they will use when making their next batch of home brew.
A silent auction that was supposed to be held at the fundraiser will now be a “traveling silent auction” at various venues throughout the week. The auction features “stuff brewers don’t normally give away,” Stevens said.
Shipyard is auctioning off a year’s supply of beer, Stevens said. Some brewers will be offering private tours or signed, special release bottles. And others will put their used whiskey barrels up for sale – they are popular repurposed as book cases and other crafty items. (They can only be used once for aging beer.)
The rest of Portland Beer Week features a creative, eclectic schedule of events that seems to have something for everyone. Some of the ideas are expected – beer dinners, theme nights that focus on a particular style of beer. But others are brand new and inspired. Here’s a quick sampling:
• There will be two progressive beer dinners. The one on Nov. 5 will feature Bunker Brewing Co. and travel to all three of Jay Villani’s restaurants – Sonny’s, Local 188 and Salvage BBQ. The second one on Nov. 6 will focus on Rising Tide beers, which will be paired with food courses at Outliers, Little Tap House, Portland & Rochester, and Love Cupcakes.
• After 15 years of brewing, Sebago is releasing their 1,000th brew, a Belgian quad, on Nov. 8. They’re calling it “M,” as in 1,000.
• Bull Feeney’s is bringing D.L. Geary and Alan Pugsley together for a four-course beer Founders of Maine Brewing dinner where they’ll talk about the “Birth of Maine Brewing.” Each course will, of course, be paired with Geary’s and Shipyard. The dinner is only $29.95, including gratuity, and seats are limited to 35, so this one is likely to sell out fast.
• Last year, several businesses and groups formed during Portland Beer Week and are having one-year anniversary celebrations this year. One of those groups is the Maine Beer Mavens, which will host a beer-and-cheese party at Rising Tide on Nov. 8.
The Zymurgy Home Brew Tour (Zymurgy is the name of the journal published by the American Homebrewers Association) on Nov. 9 was the suggestion of Zach Poole, owner of the Maine Brew Bus, the tour company whose motto is “Driving you to drink local.”
Poole said he wanted to showcase home brewers who are not really amateurs, but they haven’t yet mustered the nerve to open an actual brewery. Some of the people he’s recruited for the tour he’s met on his own bus; others he tracked down through Portland Mashing Maineiacs, a local home brewing club.
One of the home brewers on Poole’s tour will actually be brewing some beer while entertaining guests from Portland Beer Week, Poole said. Another has experience barrel-aging beers.
“They have other jobs that they do, and they just brew for fun,” Poole said. “Probably most brewers started brewing at home. I don’t know if any of these will someday take the next step into starting their own brewery or not, but they’re all above the home brew kits.”
Why is Craig Dilger letting all these strangers into his home to drink beer?
“Why not?” he replies.
Home brewing, Dilger said, “is a hobby that is all about sharing. If I make 5 gallons of beer at a time, it’s still two cases of beer that’s often best drunk fresh, so it’s a little more beer than one person wants to drink entirely on their own. And it’s about the fun of having people over. For me, the process of brewing has always been something that friends have done with me, or I have done with friends, so it’s always been kind of a community activity.”
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Craig Dilger heats up water used in making the mash mixture for his next batch of home brew beer at his Portland apartment.
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Craig Dilger grinds up freshly roasted barley that he will be using to brew his next batch of home brew.