The weekend before the Fourth of July, I got the chance to sit down with homebrewer, Allen Meredith. He had invited my family over for a small get together, though the thing I was looking forward to the most was trying out the beer he had just recently brewed, a German style Kölsch. According to the BeerAdvocate, “Kölsch beer was originally only brewed in Köln, Germany, though now many American brewpubs and a handful of breweries (and home brewers) have created their own version of this obscure style. The beer has a light to medium body with a very pale color and the hop bitterness is medium to slightly assertive. A somewhat vinous (grape-y from malts) and dry flavor make up the rest.”
In talking with Allen, I had to know what first made him get into homebrewing. “I’ve wanted to brew beer since I was a little kid after my Dad took me to Olympia Brewery in Washington. Of course all I could drink at the brewery was soda pop, but I was in awe of the brewery itself. Then at about the age of 20, I was going to get into it, but started a family and didn’t have time. Plus there was no internet, no brew supply stores, brewing hardware was hard to come by, and the library was the only resource I could find so I decided to hold off on brewing” said Allen. Eventually the kids grew up and he found more time to himself. According to Allen, “I’ve been brewing now for about 10 years. I found a Meetup group called North County Homebrewer’s Association (NCHA), immediately joined the group, and did quite a few homebrew sessions with them. The NCHA group was very helpful in laying the ground work for getting my brew skills established. Just after learning how to brew, NCHA would volunteer to help brew at Oceanside Ale Works in Oceanside, California, and of course I was eager to join them. Every time I helped at Oceanside Ale Works, I would learn something new.”
While we continued our chat, I got to drinking some of Allen’s Kölsch. He had that and a pale ale he had brewed earlier in the month on tap at his home bar. The beer hit my lips and it was cold and refreshing. Especially on such a warm summer day. It went down smooth and was very drinkable. Needless to say, I enjoyed my pint. Both beers he had brewed were excellent. If you’ve ever had a homebrewed beer, you would know that it tends to turn you into quite the beer snob. They’re usually full of flavor since they’re brewed in smaller batches. I asked Allen what his favorite beer to brew was and he said, “I would have to say my favorite beer to brew is a Red IPA. My first experience with red ale was Karl Strauss Brewery’s Red Trolley Ale. It was my go to beer, well before I started brewing. After learning how to brew, I got more into pale ales and IPAs (India Pale Ale). Then I thought, I want to make a Red IPA. It’s delicious!”
As we finished up talking about Allen’s beers I had to ask if he had any tips he could give to first time homebrewers. Allen said, “Nowadays, if you want to learn how to brew, there are lots of great information on YouTube and on online beer forums such as BeerAdvocate. However, the best way to learn how to brew is to assist someone who already knows how to brew. When I was the newbie in NCHA I was called the spargeboy, the lowest rung on the ladder. Sparging is the process in which the sugars are washed from the barley to make wort, the sugary liquid that is transformed into beer by yeast and hops.” I couldn’t agree with him more. My first experience homebrewing was on my 30th birthday with my brother, another homebrewer. It was a simple enough process, but it really was helpful having him there to show me the ropes. There’s nothing more satisfying than tasting your very own brewed beer for the first time.
Fortunately, Allen was generous enough to give me a simple recipe for a first time homebrewer that I could share with my readers. Here is the recipe for a Bass Pale Ale clone that he says never fails. He said, “Bass is a very balanced beer, not too hoppy, not too malty, and has a great amber color. It’s been a long time since I’ve brewed this beer, so I think I will brew that one next! Thanks for that!”
Bass & Co’s Pale Ale Clone
(10 Gallons all-grain)
OG = 1.049 FG = 1.010
IBU = 32 SRM = 17 ABV = 5.0%
14 lbs 2-row Pale Ale Malt
4 lbs. Flaked Maize
2 lbs. Crystal Malt (60L)
1.5 oz. Roasted Barley (300L)
8 oz. Northern Brewer Hops (60 minutes)
2 oz. Northern Brewer Hops (20 minutes)
1 oz. Perle (10 minutes)
2 tsp. Irish Moss (15 minutes)
2 bottles White Labs WLP023 (Burton Ale) yeast
7 gallons, strike water at 165 degrees. After adding grain, return to a 152 degree mash temperature (60 minute mash).
8 gallons, sparge water at 160 degrees.
90 minute boil.