This month, our Craft Brewery Series limited edition recipe was a collaboration with Las Vegas’ Banger Brewing. We replicated their popular El Heffe Jalepeno Hefeweizen for Mr. Beer customers to brew at home.
Banger Brewing was started by five guys who met in the casino industry in Vegas. These five guys grew up traveling as much as possible to learn about the craft food and beer industry, and what started out as a passion turned into a business venture. They realized Vegas was lacking fresh local beer… so Banger Brewing was born!
We had a chance to chat with Banger Brewing’s head Brewmaster, Michael “Banger” Beaman, to learn more about the brewery, how they found the world of homebrewing, and to get their advice for other homebrewers.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and Banger Brewing:
We are 5 guys that have become best friends the past 16 years in the food and beverage industry in Las Vegas. We have learned from some of the best mentors Las Vegas has to offer. Right when we all turned about 30 we decided we really needed to do something, open up our own place. At that point I had been homebrewing for about six years bringing my brew up to the local ski hill and any activity we were all doing together. So that’s when we all committed to open up a brewery. That’s when we buckled down and really tried to fine tune our brewing skills. It took us about four years and we finally opened our doors on December 27, 2013.
Q: Tell us about your first brewing experience:
I bought a homebrew kit after I saw a commercial about Sam Adams homebrew competition. My first 2 beers were awful, I ended up dumping them. I brewed a Fat Tire clone and a simple heffe.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge in the transition from homebrewing to opening your own brewery?
Brewing is essentially the same process, so just going from a homebrew setup to commercial equipment was the biggest learning curve.
Q: What is your favorite beer to brew?
Kolsch. It’s one of my favorite styles. I really like working with that yeast strain. It acts as both an ale and lager, therefore you can get some really cool yeast characteristics by manipulating the fermentation temps.
Q: If you could share a beer with one person, who would it be?
Benjamin Franklin. Not only is he one of the founding fathers of our country but also of homebrew. I would love to try one of the old colonial brews.
Q: Any advice for new homebrewers?
As Charlie Papazian would say “Relax, don’t worry and have a Homebrew.”
Q: Any advice for homebrewers looking to take the next step in opening up a brewery?
Knowledge is key. Learn as much as you can. Go take tours at your local breweries and ask a lot of questions. Brew, brew, brew try and brew as much as you can, try brewing every different style you can think of.