Congrats Markus Lienau - December 2013 Brewer of the Month!
Q: Tell us a little bit about you.
(I am Da Yooper on the forum) I am an Engineer, Marketer, and now a soon-to-be hops farmer (14 acres
with another 10-20 coming on line in the near future), as well as getting into the cherry and apple business plus having about 10 acres of wine grapes. My wife is one <bleep> of a RN Nurse and we are both looking forward to doing beer and wine related "stuff" in the near future. We started the hops revolution in Michigan and proud to see many others have jumped on to help make us one of the number one craft beer states. I owe a lot of my initial education to Mr. Beer.
Q: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BREWING?
I started brewing about three or four years ago (how the time flies!). I bought my wife (girlfriend at the time) a Mr. Beer kit for Christmas. In all honestly, I sort of knew that it was really for me and the tent she was getting me was for her, but hey, share and share alike! Our family decided to get into the hops business, first with growing and then moving on to the processing, and I figured what better way to be able to speak with other brewers than to know their language. So, with a single purchase one weekend this madness started and I haven't looked back.
I really can't say that I have moved on to full 5/10/20 gallon batches and all-grain brewing since I still use the LBK for many things such as splitting up batches and making a quick extract brew to fill the pipeline. It also allows for some variety with a case at a time - and for me to enjoy the beers the wife does not particularily care for (look at the pic, I am holding a smoked porter and her a super hopped IPA - thanks Sam Adams for a taste of the pilot). What has really helped me develop is splitting a batch between two LBKs and trying a different yeast, hop, or other ingredient and doing a side-by-side tasting of similar but different beers at the same age.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BEER?
My first favorite beer was Mr. Beer's Mad Dog IPA. The wife was just starting to enjoy IPAs at the time so I tried to kick out as many IPAs as possible. Another "always in the pipeline" beer is a Peanutbutter Oatmeal Stout as that is the only dark beer she will drink as of now. I really cant't say I have a favorite as I like experimenting and trying other things. We also like hitting up the breweries and talking shop with the brewmasters and from time to time getting to sample their pilot batches. The smoked salmon beer we had in Alaska for our honeymoon was a WINNER with both of us! But, with being able to speak the language, it has been a blessing that many of the pubs have shared their recipes with us and give us sit-down time to chat and offer tips and tidbits.
Q: WHO WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SHARE A BEER WITH?
There are many people I would like to share a pint with but I have to say John Palmer. I listened to an interview and found out he started brewing because he couldn't find Stroh Dark in California when he got a job out there. "Hey, that was our house beer in college" so looked him up and found out he was a few years my senior and we probably passed in the Engineering halls at Michigan Tech (and probably at one or two bars in our travels). So not only would I like to have a pint or two with him, but talk about our Techie days. I still miss Stroh Dark and need to find a clone. Any help?
Oh, and with Turkey Day weekend, I also would like to have a pint with Aaron Rodgers and my wife with Clay Matthews. Go Pack!