1: Introducing: Patrick McFadden
- When did you join the Rackers and what got you started? I first brewed when I moved from Boston to Atlanta in 1990. Atlanta had no brewpubs at the time and I was spoiled by the great beer in Boston. (There were only a hundred brewpubs in the USA back then). Asked a friend if I could help him brew. Pro-tip: This means you will be chief bottle washer. Moved to Green Bay about 2002 and joined the Rackers about 2005, been a member off and on since then as I have moved about fairly often. Joining home brew clubs were always a go-to when moving to a new town.
- What do you brew (beer, wine, cider, etc.) and how is it packaged and served? Beer – Ales actually, that do not require refrigeration (lagered) during aging. I did one Port Wine kit that was exceptional, but sadly it is no longer available. I bottle, easier to travel with, gift, etc. Larger, 22 ounce bottles can halve your bottling time, and you can always find a friend to share it.
- How long have you been brewing and describe your brewing system? I brew in a kettle on the stove and ferment in plastic buckets. Maybe $100 invested back when. Plus the price of the kit. Have done mostly kits all my life except one all-grain brew. Several beer connoisseurs have told me they cannot tell the difference between kit and all-grain. Several others maintain the opposite opinion. I know some of my brews have fooled some of the best. It’s a great way to start cheaply and easily to see how you like the hobby.
- Where do you brew? In the kitchen. On the stove. Ferment and store in a closet.
- How often do you brew; is there a certain schedule you have or is it by season? Pending travels/moving it differs, but plan to get back into brewing soon. Have over 30 kits experience, which I guess over 30 years isn’t that many. Three times over the years I’ve excelled and brewed six kits back to back during the four Fall months to prepare holiday gift 6 packs of 6 different beers. Shopping for 24, done and done. The ‘down’ times during brewing ties in well with bottling the last batch made. Takes about the same amount of time to bottle and brew as it does to just do one or the other. An afternoon well spent.
- What aspects of your hobby would you like to improve upon? You would think hanging out with brewers that one would graduate to all-grain, kegging, home taps, and a keezer (a keg refrigerator). Keeping it simple has its merits too. Nearly every time I have moved I’ve started to give away my equipment. But I brewed one more batch and remembered I like my beer better. Thinking I’ll approach a 3 gallon batch and use an All-In-One brew kettle to make it just that much easier for my next batch.
- What advice would you pass on to others considering this hobby: Hobby? Or lifestyle? Start small, don’t be intimidated by the equipment or process. You are just cooking up a recipe. Lean on other brewers for tips. Everyone is happy to help. And be sure to help them drink their beer too.
- What have I forgotten to ask, is there something else you’d like to share? “Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew.” – Charlie Papazian (The Complete Joy of Home Brewing (1984). 900,000 copies sold, so you are not alone. Just jump in at a club brew, or ask if you can wash some bottles for a brewer friend.