Brewing Up A Brülosophy

I can’t recall a time I wasn’t insatiably curious, a characteristic quirk that not only influenced my career choice (psychologist), but seems to find its way into pretty much every aspect of my life. When I started brewing in 2003, I quickly became engrossed and absorbed everything I could from books, magazines, and other more experienced brewers, accepting most of what I learned as fact with little question. The beer I made was good, and that was all the evidence I needed.

One wife, three kids, a Ph.D., and numerous batches of beer later, I began to question these facts. I introduced a friend to homebrewing in 2010, someone who, like me, tended to think about things in a way most find supremely boring. We brewed together multiple times per month for over a year, and during that time he began questioning many of the “necessary methods” I was shoving down his throat. Sprinkled between talks about the poignancy of a single mundane experience and the noblest expression of love were discussions of the importance of transferring to a secondary fermenter and mashing for a full 60 minutes. Deep shit.

Just as we began tickling the idea of testing things out for ourselves, circumstances arose that led to my friend moving to a city far away, leaving me alone with my converted cooler MLT, a 15-gallon kettle, and a list of unanswered questions. I realized at this point that my love of brewing was about more than just making beer, it served as a point of connection with my friend, and his absence influenced my enjoyment of the hobby. So, I took it upon myself to ensure this activity I enjoyed so much remained a positive aspect of my life. Enter Brülosophy.

Throwing a decent degree of caution to the wind, I began testing some of the brewing process variables my buddy and I had been questioning, collecting data in a somewhat controlled manner, and sharing the results online. Passionate about both brewing and philosophy, I put them together to create the “brülosopher” moniker. As my “exBEERiments” began to pile up, some people recommended I compile them all at a single source to make referencing them easier, and after months of resisting, I eventually launched a website in February of 2014. The response was pretty immediate.

Passionate about both brewing and philosophy, I put them together to create the “brülosopher” moniker.

Having no clue what might come of this gig, and really no intention of turning it into anything in particular, my neurotic tendencies kicked in and I committed to producing content on a set schedule. This eventually led to me building a crew of other nerdy homebrewers to contribute as well, which resulted in me making even more nutty commitments like publishing two articles every week and starting a weekly podcast while maintaining a full-time “real” job and ensuring I spend quality time with my family.

It’s odd for me to think that this thing I started as a way to keep me in the hobby has become what it has. I’ve made some of the best friends in my life, had opportunities to chat with rad people in cool places, and learned more about brewing than I ever imagined, all because of my annoying inability to accept fact as fact. I could talk about how the exBEERiments have influenced by views on water chemistry, lager fermentation temperatures, or mash and boil lengths. Indeed, my approach to brewing is different today than it was a few years ago. But more than anything, what I’ve appreciated most about Brülosophy is that it has provided me a point of connection with a bunch of great people, and even today, I’m regularly reminded of how fantastic the hobby of homebrewing is.

Issue: January-February 2019