Although I just recently joined the Manty Malters I have been home brewing since 1994 but my taste for something more than just yellow fizzy beer goes back even further, late 80’s, when a good friend and I would occasionally buy Lowenbrau Dark or some other type of more flavorful beer while all our other friends would be drinking Old Milwaukee or whatever was cheap “quantity not quality”. Years later that same friend stopped over one day proclaiming that he had got into home brewing and he had some for me to try. It took him a lot to convince me but finally with great reluctance I tried it and was hooked. My friend helped me get started and like most I began with extract brewing then eventually progressing to all grain brewing and similarly have gone from bottling to kegging my beers. I now usually brew 10 gallon batches using 2 keggles and a large 15 gallon cooler for my mashtun. I enjoy brewing a very wide range of beer styles however as of late I have been focusing on German style lagers which have required much more attention to the details as these types of beers easily show any flaws.
I also grow my own hops which came about many years ago when a coworker gave me some hop rhizomes and told me they were from the hops they used at the old White Cap Brewery in Two Rivers, unfortunately he did not know what kind of hops they were. Several years after I received the hop rhizome from the coworker I read an article that the Court House Pub got the recipe for White Cap beer from a family member affiliated with the White Cap Brewery. I contacted the owner of the Court House Pub and explained my dilemma in identifying the hop I had and ask if he would be willing to share with me the type of hop used in the recipe and that is how I discovered the hop I had was Cluster. Since then I have planted Cascade, Sterling, and Willamette. I dry, vacuum seal, and freeze my hop to be used throughout the year.
Looking back I wish I would have joined a home brew club early on when I first started brewing because having the support, knowledge, and comradery has made the hobby of home brewing even more enjoyable. After going to a couple of meetings I invited my wife to come to the meetings too which she also really enjoys.
My wife Sharla and I have two children ages 13 and 16 and live in the Shoto area. In our spare time we enjoy boating, fishing, hunting, gardening, camping, biking, snowmobiling and going up to the Rhinelander-Three Lakes area to the cabin on Stella Lake. I almost always bring a keg or two of homebrew up to the lake to share with everyone staying at the cabin and with any of the friends and neighbors that may stop over, which is why I like to brew 10 gallon batches vs the standard 5 most make.
So the rest of the time I am a CNC programmer at Jagemann Stamping Company and have been there since 1988 working in the toolroom making tooling on CNC machines until about 2005 when I moved to a full time CNC programmer position where I now mainly sit at a computer working with CAD/CAM creating programs for the CNC machines.