It’s especially enjoyable when a homebrew club requests an opportunity to visit SABCO, meet our staff and hopefully brew with our equipment. Recently on a bright Saturday morning in November, our doors were enthusiastically opened to the always thirsty Glass City (Toledo) Mashers . . . one of many home-brew clubs which have been able to take the trek to our facility in Toledo, Ohio. This time, many club members and invited guests traveled from several points in Ohio and Michigan to enjoy the ritual gathering of fellow “brew-hearted” hobbiests.  Those attending the event soon approached 50 + guests. Students as well as seasoned experts in the club were looking forward to laying their hands on the famous Brew-Magic V350 System, and applying its near variation-free control to their favorite recipes. Several within the group couldn’t wait to seek my reaction to a short glass of their proud creations that they brought to the event to share. One brewer offered me a sample of his chocolate porter. This was truly a taste treat! Another handed me an Oktoberfest. Also a delight. Then came the tease of  chocolate beer bread, then the spicy cranberry dip, etc. etc. Such fun. . ! It’s no wonder I look the way I do.

As they loaded and proceeded to “dough-in” two separate test recipes using two different Brew-Magic Systems, I had a chance to ask several in the group the same two “loaded” questions that I always bring with me to the HBA conference. First I ask if they can make great beer. The response to this is most always proudly positive. Then I get to find out how honest they are by asking if they can make the same great beer the very same way, twice in a row. At this point I typically receive a big grin, and a tap dance. Fun to watch.  As you can imagine, it’s a great lead-in to introduce them to the Brew-Magic V350 pilot system whose fame originates from its ability to conduct precision laboratory style brew-recipe trials. Most often, these enthusiasts are already well aware of the system’s capability and have made the trip not to listen to me brag about it, but rather to “kick the tires” and compare the results with their own systems. To any producer of “Snowflake Beer” (everyone is different), any methodology which can remove unwanted variables is certainly worth remembering. Like “Dogfish” Sam, or “Brew-Dog” Martin, each in turn had to replace the variables with consistency by seeking wiser methods, and more professional design equipment. Thankfully Brew-Magic was there for these “gods” of the brewing world. They now explain that during their professional transition, there was a eureka moment when they realized that commercial repeatable quality simply had to overrule their embedded desire to be “consistently” different. Plus it didn’t take long for them to figure out that a fresh consistent batch of their great  recipe needed to be given to their peers for judging or to their future pub guests for enjoyment. I guess you could say that their mutual reputations depended on it.

Over the years, I’ve had the true privilege of sharing with many of these fine brewers, samples of their original, and favorite “snowflake” beers. All of these friends have their roots deeply embedded in advanced homebrewing. But sadly,  now that they’ve taken on professional skills, when I ask many of them my loaded second question, I no longer get to watch them tap dance.