Mike Sawyer and Jared Johnson
CW: How does it feel to brew your beer for patrons of Clockwerks?
JJ: One of our favorite things about home brewing is sharing our beers with friends and family. To be able to share our recipe with the patrons of Clockwerks is very exciting. Brewing on the Clockwerks system was a unique experience for us, taking our recipe from 10 gallons to ~250 gallons was truly eye-opening. I hope the scaled up recipe turns out and your patrons like it!
MS: We feel very proud to showcase our beer for the Clockwerks crowd. We fell in love with the brewery during our time creating Citrafiable Pale and can’t wait to share it with the Beer Community in the Twin Cities.
CW: How did you start home brewing?
JJ: My wife bought me a basic equipment kit and an extract recipe about 7–8 years ago as a gift. I was so intimidated by the process that I put if off for about 9 months. I finally brewed that brown ale extract recipe (after replacing the dead yeast), and after a comical first attempt at bottling filled with numerous mistakes it turned out....drinkable. I was hooked. After a few years of extract recipes I switched to All Grain, and slowly added more and more brewing toys. Mike and I became neighbors in 2011 and have been brewing together since.
MS: I started home brewing 13 years ago with a very basic “Mr. Beer” kit I received as a gift from my father in-law while I was living in Boston. I made some decent beers with the kits, but wasn’t overly impressed with the variety of beers I could brew and it didn’t feel very creative. After taking some time off from home brewing and relocating to the Twin Cities in 2010, I started back up home brewing in 2011 using extract brewing kits. I was making tasty beer, but again, not the creative process of making your own recipe. I soon met my neighbor, Jared, who introduced me to All Grain brewing and the art of creating our own home brew recipes. The internet and various brewing publications have kept me active in the home brew community ever since.
CW: We're thrilled to have Citrafiable on tap. Tell us more about your inspiration.
JJ: When we were given this opportunity by Clockwerks we wanted to bring a recipe that fit with your lineup of well balanced and session-style beers. We admittedly love brewing (and drinking) 8% juicy/hazy double IPAs, but those recipes didn't seem like the right fit. Our Citra Pale Ale, Citrafiable, is a balanced beer that we have been tweaking for years. We hope it works well in the Clockwerks lineup, and we're so looking forward to hearing reviews from your patrons.
MS: Jared and I have always loved Citra-based beers. We’ve been fine tuning a “house recipe” for a couple of years and were very happy where we landed with the Citrafiable Pale recipe. Late addition Citra hops melded with a bunch of flaked oats give this beer the mouth-feel you’d taste from New England IPAs with a hint of Midwest malt allowing the Citra to really shine through. We hope you enjoy drinking it as much as we enjoyed brewing it for you.
CW: What's your favorite beer?
JJ: We have so many great local breweries here that I cannot keep up. I used to do a lot of trading for out-of-market beers but it doesn't seem necessary anymore. I'm a hophead at heart but do also really enjoy crisp, clean flavors.
Clockwerks — Boho Rye
Other Local — Barrel Theory Rain Drops
Most Consumed (other than homebrew) — Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
MS: Being a Native New Englander, I was always partial to the beer coming out of Harpoon Brewery in Boston. Their IPA was my gateway into the style. To echo Jared's points about the local beer scene, I'm a big fan of Blackstack out of Saint Paul and their Local 755 and Surly's Furious is always in my beer fridge at home. Give me a stout, a sour, an NEIPA, a Lambic, Saison or just about anything and I'll gladly give it a try.
CW: Any tips for homebrewers just starting out?
JJ: First, have fun and don't stress about it. If your beer doesn't turn out great it's not going to kill anyone, you just might have off flavors. Have a brew day plan and write it out. My first few brew days were like 7–8 hours long because I had followed the extract instructions one step at a time and had no ability to multitask. Take notes and learn from your mistakes. If you can find a brew partner, it makes things easier and more fun. I do still brew alone when I need to keep my kegs full, but it feels a little more like work. Finally, until you have your process down, don't drink until you are done, or at least done mashing :).
MS: Start small. You don’t need to buy all the best equipment starting out. A food safe bucket, turkey fryer, large brew pot, bottles, and an inquisitive mind are all you need to get going. There is always time to upgrade equipment (and you will) but start out small to see if you like it and go from there. There are many resources available on-line and we are blessed in the Twin Cities to have such world-class home brew stores as Midwest & Northern Brewer. Take advantage and ask other home brewers. They are a great resource.