Boot Camp

Asheville Boot Camp Speakers

Drew Beechum has been brewing and writing about brewing since he first picked up a kettle in 1999. He is the author of The Everything Homebrewing Book, The Everything Hard Cider Book, and The Homebrewer’s Journal, and coauthor with Denny Conn of Experimental Homebrewing and Homebrew All-Stars. Beechum is also the cohost with Denny of the Experimental Brewing podcast. He lives in Pasadena, California, with his lovely wife, a dedicated brewery, and his loyal army of dogs and cats. He will join Denny Conn and Marshall Schott teaching the Homebrew Experiments workshop Friday and repeating it again Saturday.

John Blichmann is the President of Blichmann Engineering and has been an avid homebrewer and winemaker since 1991. He earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1988 from Iowa State University and worked at Caterpillar for 15 years. He founded Blichmann Engineering in 2001 in his garage and focused on providing homebrewers top notch quality and innovative designs to help homebrewers and winemakers enjoy their hobby and to help them make amazing home beverages. Let equipment guru John Blichmann take you hands-on through the full all-grain process from milling, mashing, and sparging before going into the boil. You’ll get to know the equipment, techniques, and ingredients first-hand and learn all-grain “brewing by doing” in a small-class environment in the “All-Grain Brewing Essentials” Boot Camp on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23.

Denny Conn brewed his first batch of homebrew in 1998 and since then has brewed over 530 more. He is a BJCP national-ranked beer judge and has been a member of the Governing Committee of the American Homebrewers Association for 12 years. He has a strain of brewing yeast named after him (Wyeast 1450 Denny’s Favorite) and his recipes have been brewed by several commercial breweries in both the United States and Europe. He was a contributing author to Craft Beer for the Homebrewer and coauthor of Experimental Homebrewing and Homebrew All Stars and the upcoming Homebrew Simplicity (spring 2019). He currently consults for several breweries, and cohosts the Experimental Brewing podcast. He lives in the foothills of the Coast Range in Oregon with his wife, five cats, and two dogs.  Join Denny on Friday, March 22 or Saturday, March 23 where he will conduct “Homebrew Experiments” . Please note we are repeating this same Boot Camp topic from Friday again on Saturday. 

Dave Green is Brew Your Own’s Recipe Editor and Associate Editor and has been with BYO for over a dozen years. In addition to reviewing every recipe appearing in the magazine for accuracy, he has written several feature stories on advanced hopping techniques for BYO including mash hopping, first wort hopping, whirlpool hopping, and advanced dry hopping. He enjoys brewing both at the office and at home and has a soft spot for hop-forward beers. Before BYO, Dave was a former professional brewer on Long Island, NY as well as a high school chemistry teacher. Dave will be leading the “Advanced Hopping Techniques” workshop on both Friday and Saturday.

Brian Grossman  Hear from Brian Grossman, head of Sierra Nevada’s Asheville-area brewery, about growing up in the craft beer world as well as the booming Asheville area craft beer scene on Friday, March 22 as the Lunch and Keynote Address.

Ashton Lewis started working for Brew Your Own before the premier edition hit the market in 1995 and has filled the role of Mr. Wizard and Technical Editor over the last 21 years.  In 1997 he joined the Paul Mueller Company as part of their brewery equipment group and as the Master Brewer at the Springfield Brewing Company, a showcase brewery built by Mueller that same year.  He is still the Master Brewer at Springfield Brewing Company and one of the partners in the business following its sale in 2011 and continues working full-time for Mueller as the company’s Staff Master Brewer and Brewing Market Manager.  Ashton completed his M.S. in food/brewing science from UC Davis in 1994 and his B.S. in food science from Virginia Tech in 1991.  His non-brewing interests include scuba diving, cycling and food. Ashton will lead “Troubleshooting Homebrew Faults and Fixes” Boot Camp on Friday, March 22 to help you troubleshoot and fix your own homebrews.  On Saturday, March 23 Ashton will walk you through how to best use scientific gear at home to help you improve the quality of our beer in “Hands-On Homebrew Science” Boot Camp.

John Palmer is the author of How to Brew and co-author of Water – A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers and serves as the Publications Director for the Master Brewers Association of the Americas. He is also a member of the American Society of Brewing Chemists and the Brewers Association. As an engineer, John is keenly interested in the nuts and bolts of the brewing process and he frequently travels to conferences all over the world to share what he has learned. He lives near Pasadena, California. On Friday, March 22, join John in “All-Grain Brewing Essentials” Boot Camp designed for intermediate to beginner homebrewers getting into all-grain brewing, this full-day workshop will cover all you need to know to successfully make great homebrews using all-grain brewing both with traditional and newer techniques. On Saturday, March 23 John will help take the mystery out of water’s role in brewing and how to make better beer as a result in the “Brewing Water and Adjustments” Boot Camp.

Steve Parkes is the owner of Drop-In Brewing Company and also owner and lead instructor of the American Brewers Guild in Middlebury, Vermont. He holds a degree in Brewing Science from the prestigious brewing school at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.  One of the breweries Steve operated in the UK required that he build a working brewing system from old dairy equipment in a short amount of time; Steve learned improvisational skills that would serve him well in his new venture. After 6 years honing his brewing skills in the UK, winning awards and gaining valuable management experience, Steve took up the challenge of starting a new brewery in the USA. Friday, March 22 begins his two-day “Turning Pro & Commercial Brewery Start-Up” Boot Camp that continues into the next day in which you will hear Steve’s expertise on planning decisions, and keys you need to know if you want to open a successful commercial craft brewery. When you register for this class you will attend it for both Friday and Saturday unlike our other offerings.

Marshall Schott began making beer at home in early 2003 while living in Bellingham, WA. Following a move to California, he brewed irregularly until completing graduate school, at which point the obsession really kicked in. He currently brews 10-20 gallon batches multiple times per month, most of which have an experimental component. While he appreciates a good IIPA, he has a particular fondness for lager styles. Brülosophy was started in February 2014 as a place for Marshall to share and discuss the results of the homebrewing experiments he was regularly performing. He works as a clinical psychologist and enjoys spending time with his family and writing songs when he’s not making beer. .Join Marshall on Friday, March 22 or Saturday, March 23 where he will conduct “Homebrew Experiments” . Please note we are repeating this same Boot Camp topic from Friday again on Saturday.

Dr. Brad Smith is the author of BeerSmith beer software and its founder.  He has written over 300 articles on brewing beer including magazines such as Brew Your Own and Zymurgy as well as a book. Brad is the host of the BeerSmith home brewing podcast, created (currently over 400,000 recipes),, created the BeerXML recipe standard, appeared in a How to Brew video series with John Palmer and regularly speaks at national and international events on brewing beer. He is also a retired Air Force Colonel and a former lab and satellite Commander. Brad will guide you through your own recipes, techniques and understanding your own brewing in “Recipe Formulation” Boot Camp on Friday, March 22 and again Saturday, March 23. Please note due to many requests we are repeating this same Boot Camp topic from Friday again on Saturday.

Gordon Strong is the President and highest ranking judge of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), the organization that certifies beer judges for homebrew competitions and also registers qualifying homebrew competitions. In addition to his Grand Master Level V judge status, Gordon is a three-time winner of the National Homebrew Competition Ninkasi Award and the author of Brewing Better Beer: Master Lessons for Advanced Homebrewers (Brewers Publications, 2011). He frequently contributes to Brew Your Own, including taking over the “Style Profile” column in early 2015.  On Friday, March 22 learn how to master mashing techniques along with controlling your all-grain wort production in Gordon’s “Advanced All-Grain Techniques” Boot Camp. It is being offered again on Saturday, March 23. Please note due to many requests we are repeating this same Boot Camp topic from Friday again on Saturday.

Kara Taylor is the Senior Laboratory Manager and has been with White Labs since 2009. She became interested in fermentation science while homebrewing during her days at Loyola Marymount University. She received a B.S. in Biology in 2009 and began employment at White Labs in San Diego as a yeast laboratory technician. Currently she resides as the Senior Laboratory Manager. She is a member of Master Brewers Association of Americas and the American Society of Brewing Chemists. Kara will be leading Saturday, March 23  “Advanced Yeast Lab” Boot Camp.

Michael Tonsmeire is an award-winning homebrewer, certified beer judge, and all-around sour beer nerd. He blogs as The Mad Fermentationist, writes the Brew Your Own Advanced Brewing column, and authored American Sour Beers (Brewers Publications, 2014). Michael is co-founder and co-head brewer for Sapwood Cellars, scheduled to open in November/December 2017. Tonsmeire has consulted and collaborated with a dozen of America’s best craft breweries including Modern Times Beer Co., and Commonwealth Brewing Co. He has presented at the last three AHA National Homebrewers Conferences, as well as homebrewing conferences in Norway and Brazil. Tonsmeire resides in Washington, D.C. Learn how to choose, use and maintain oak barrels – and barrel-alternatives – for homebrewing at the “Barrels and Wood-Aging” Boot Camp on Friday, March 22. The next day, Michael will demonstrate the unique skill set needed to create your own delicious sour beers including wort productions, growing alternative microbes, blending, aging on fruit, and sanitation in the “Sour Beer Techniques” Boot Camp on Saturday, March 23.

Dr. Chris White lives in San Diego, CA., USA, where he serves as President and CEO of White Labs Inc. Chris founded White Labs in 1995 to manufacture yeast cultures and provide fermentation services to the brewing, wine, and distilling industries. Chris has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego and a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis. While at Davis, Chris interned at Genentech Inc., the world’s first biotechnology company. White is coauthor of Yeast: The Practical Guide To Beer Fermentation, co-designer of BrewMaster: The Craft Beer Game, and has published numerous articles on yeast, beer, and fermentation. Chris White was a lecturer in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at U.C. San Diego from 1999-2007, and is currently teaching in the Brewing Certificate Program at U.C. San Diego Extension.  Chris was awarded the 2013 Recognition Award from the American Homebrewers Association. In “Advanced Yeast Techniques” Boot Camp on Friday, March 22, Chris will lead you in mastering different yeast-related techniques in order to get the most from your yeast.