Mr. Beer Brewer of the Month - Bill Itter (July 2013)

Congrats Bill Itter - July 2013 Brewer of the Month!

Q: TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF...

I am 62 years of age and coasting out of a career as an electronic engineer. I have been a beer lover for at least 40 of those years. My family is of German descent (genealogy is one of my hobbies) and I have apparently acquired the taste for this refreshing brew from my ancestors. During my early exploration of beer styles and types, the brands of Hamm's, Stroh's, Blatz, Meister Bräu and Schlitz filled the market shelves. When bock style beers started being introduced in the spring of each year, I soon became a true lover of the craft of brewing.

Q: WHO WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SHARE A BEER WITH?

In my late teens, my father passed away. I rarely visited his grave until after I became of age. I suddenly found myself visiting regularly with a couple of cigars and beers to sit, visit and reminisce about the past and what could have been. These times only reinforced my ideas about the social aspect of 'stopping off to have a beer' and, needless to say, makes my father the one with whom I would most want to share a beer.

Q: WHEN DID YOU START HOMEBREWING?

It was about 10 years ago that my daughter-in-law and her husband gave me the Christmas gift of a Mr. Beer system. I have since made many a brew and only a handful have I made more than once. (There's something to be said about the variety and combinations of recipes that are available.) In total, that comes to about 200 or so batches to-date. When I bottle, I always set aside one of the eight bottles for an occasion, a friend, a tasting party or a potential fellow brewer.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BEER?

While out at a new pub one evening, I sampled a commercial "milk stout" (sweet stout). I was immediately impressed with the exceptional difference of this particular beer and contacted our Mr. Beer brew master about its possibilities as a recipe. After a few exchanges via email, we arrived at a great combination that would rival any commercial brew. I've since tried several stout recipes with the inclusion of 1/3 to 1/2 pound of lactose and found all of them to be exceptional. The only advice I might add for this particular brew is to allow these beers to lager at least 8 weeks before drinking.

Q: WHAT DO YOU TYPICALLY LIKE TO BREW?

On a regular basis, I would have to say that I currently brew "Baby Got Bock" as a staple and some form of "milk stout" as a reserve for special occasions; however, I've never been afraid of trying something new. For the newer brewers (one of which is my son Karl), I'd say, "Be adventurous." Although I have liked some more than others, I have yet to be disappointed in any recipe that I've made.