Storrs Center resident and University of Connecticut communications major Steve Bogdan brews craft beers as gifts, for personal use and to explore the craft-brewing world. We were fortunate enough to try his home creations as well as get a one-on-one interview to look closer at the art and science of home brewing.
Lately, Bogdan has been brewing ales and his latest creation is called Gone Off Tabs, a North Eastern-style IPA brewed with Galaxy and Simcoe hops as well as a dry hop of additional Galaxy, imparting citrus qualities.
Daily Campus: Where do you source your brewing ingredients?
Steve Bogdan: There is a local brew store geared towards home brewers called Stomp N Crush in Clinton, CT, that I like to go to. They sell all different kinds of yeasts and hops and malts, for any scale of home brewing. They have everything from brew kits to all different kinds of roasted malts.
DC: What would you recommend to people who are curious about trying to brew at home?
SB: My advice would be to first shadow someone who brews. You can visit local breweries; many will give tours. This gives people a good look at the full process, which played a big role for my own education in learning the basics of brewing. Then it’s much easier to start the process on your own.
DC: How did you get into brewing?
SB: I had a close friend that got me into brewing. He would invite me over to his house whenever he was brewing. But my initial draw to home brewing was the fact that you don’t have to be 21 to buy everything you need to make beer. I would often get funny questions from the guys running the store like “do your parents know you’re doing this?”
DC: Can you tell us more about dry hopping?
SB: Dry hopping is when you take hops and add them into the primary fermentation, which comes after you do a full kettle boil, pitch the yeast and put the soon to be beer into a fermentation bucket for a few weeks. Over the course of the fermentation process you are adding hops, which does not increase the alcohol content at all, it is just for flavor. This is the same time when brewers can add fruit and other botanicals for flavor. I actually have a baker friend in New Haven that takes my spent grain after brewing to bake breads with so there is virtually no waste to my brewing.
DC: Gone Off Tabs is very cloudy. What about the way it’s brewed gives it this quality?
SB: There are a few things to try and help enhance that cloudiness; I added corn maize and flour to it, which give it the cloudy amber body. The London Ale 1318 yeast strain was also a factor.
DC: What beer do you like to drink that’s not yours?
SB: Lately I’ve been inspired by Tree House Brewing Company. I really love what they do with their beer, so that’s what I drink at home mostly. I also enjoy beers from Other Half, Hill Farmstead and Omnipollo from Sweden. The others are all North East brewers. Locally, Pub 32 has a great list on tap.
DC: What is your next brewing project going to look like?
SB: I like both sides of the craft-brewing world. There are the master brewers and their artfully calculated beers that can really blow you away, but then there is the playful side of beer where you can brew with unorthodox ingredients and have fun with where it takes you. Gone Off Tabs was a more traditional ale style so next I’m working on a beer brewed with gummies because me and my roommates all love gummies.
Dan Wood is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.