I went to a local liquor store the other day, intent on grabbing a few beer. I had in mind a few regulars that I wanted as well as a few new releases that I hadn’t tasted yet.
I found all but one of the new releases, and was quite pleased with that. The one new release that I didn’t find was sold out at that location so I planned on picking it up at another time.
The regular beers that I was looking for weren’t all there. In fact a few are quite often hit or miss, and this day there were lots of misses. I was in a bit of a rush so I grabbed a couple of beers that I wanted to retaste and left.
I was speaking to my wife about the hit or miss nature of things when she asked if I could brew something similar to the beer I was looking for. I’m pretty sure that I could I replied, but it would take several attempts.
I mentioned that it would be nice if I had a recipe to start with. I’m an avid brewer, but I am not really into cloning commercial beers from scratch. She, being ever so direct, said to ask them.
So that is what I did. I sent an email to Central City Brewing and asked if they could help me with recipe and process tips. In a best case scenario I get help, and the worst case I figure is that I get a polite let down.
Brewers are a funny group of people. Some are completely open and honest, while others treat things like high level military secrets. I’ve seen some breweries refuse to disclose anything about their ingredients or processes, and I’ve also been offered direct access to brewing recipes, technical aspects as well as ingredient sourcing.
Personally I don’t see all the fuss. As was pointed out to me a long time ago, and others have observed as well, with everything the same there will be differences in beers brewed In different breweries by different people. That is not to say that they won’t be close, but they won’t be identical.
Minor differences simply have to add up. Water, equipment, raw ingredients are just some of the factors that are never identical and result in different beer. In fact many professional breweries blend finished beers in order to ensure greater consistency from batch to batch.
But I sure want to try and get something close.