Brewer of the Month
This month we are changing things up a bit. For the month of April we will have our first duo selection of brewers. I've only known these to great guys for a few months but have been intrigued by their passion for brewing. Devin Ashley (Bad Ash Brewing Co.) and Manuel Sanchez (Art Is Hard Brewing Co.) are co-brewers of the month.
Here we have Devin. Don't let the beard and bald head fool you....he's actually not a Viking! Although looks like one in this picture. He's a man on a mission. At one time he was strictly a wine drinker with the occasional light lager. He had purchased a starter kit from the old homebrew shop on 22nd street and attempted to make an Oktoberfest batch of beer. From conversations with Devin it sounds like that batch didn't quite have the outcome he expected.
"It was like putting a bunch of dry wheat in your mouth and swallowing.” - Devin
So for the next six years brewing goes on the back burner.
Along comes nursing school and a new friend. Manuel introduces Devin to good craft beer. It was Devin's first experience with beer with flavor. If I remember the story correctly it was a New Belgium Ranger IPA. The intense bitterness caught him off guard but opened his eyes to a new style of beer.
Manuel is other man of this great duo. Who was initially drawn to home brewing through his enthusiasm for craft beer. The two spoke a lot about craft beer and the possibility of maybe doing some home brew. Shortly after graduating nursing school in 2012 he bought his first home brew starter kit and a turkey fryer. The first batch Manuel made was an extra pale extract kit from northern brewer.
"It actually turned pretty good from what I remember from that moment on I never looked back." - Manuel
Next up was going to all gain brewing. So he built a mash tun from an igloo cooler using a dishwasher hose for a false bottom and began all grain brewing. The two collaborated on beers here and there early on. In 2015 they worked together on a number of beers and began talking about collaborating on a small batch brewery business model. So they bought some larger fermenters and firkins and began brewing batches monthly for Devin's cigar club.
"I love brewing lots of different styles of beer and I still really enjoy pale ales and IPAs." - Manuel
Manuel has told me Pale Ales and IPA's were key to his early interest in craft beer. I look forward to seeing what styles he creates in the future.
"It's hard to say these days what my favorite style is overall. As home brewer it's really cool to continue to learn and grow; we've done things from basic ales to sour barrel projects and we continue to look for new ideas and ways to improve our final product." - Manuel
Devin's first two batches of beer were a Kolsch and a IPA....fast forward a few years and he is up to 148 batches of beer. I'm sure he's under the 200 gallons a year (wink, wink) regulation for home brewer's. He is known for his Sour beers. I've personally tried them and really enjoyed them. I've also heard a few guys in KC comment on how much they liked them. Devin and Manuel have an ongoing barrel project. Twelve guys get together and brew up a batch to fill this 60 gallon barrel. Each use the same recipe but different yeast strains. They then meet up and combine their batches in the barrel along with some bacteria to expedite the sour process. Each year they would return, rack the old beer out and put new in with more bacteria cultures. Although the 60 gallon sour barrel project ended Devin and Manuel have started various new barrel projects. They are up to 9 barrels at this point.
So if you've read this far and I hope you have you will get let in on a little secret......
If you've read everything so far your probably wondering why I have a Liberty coin with a hat on it at the top of this page.
I'm pleased to be the first to publicly announce this:
These two gentlemen are about to launch the first brewery in St. Joseph!
YES you heard me correctly. We are finally getting a brewery here. Well overdue if you ask me. The last brewery to launch in St. Joseph was Belt Brewing Company. Who had to close their doors in 2003. Our newest brewery Liberty Cap Brewing Company should be in production this summer. I can't give out the details of the location yet but I will tell you it will be very very close to downtown. Liberty Cap Brewing Company purchased the brew house from 75th Street Brewery, Kansas City.
I was very glad to hear these details as I
I'm very glad to of met these two brewers. I hope to get a chance to brew with them someday either on the homebrew level or pro level!
Congratulations to the both of you for being dp Brewing Company April 2017 Brewer of the Month.
In 2014 Devin was asked to be part of the Goetz Brewery Project. Due to trademark procurement issues this brewery never came to light but Devin's drive to become a Brewmaster didn't die. More on that later.
When I asked Devin to describe Manuel in one word, he simply told me he can't. He went on to explain to me how Manuel has brought him back to earth when he gets obsessed with a crazy idea. He said Manuel is his sounding board. Very "well-leveled" in Devin's words.
Around once a month several close friends meet up for the famous "Cigar Club" at Devin's house. There is always homebrew to enjoy and obviously most people bring a good cigar. It's through these gatherings that these two guys get a lot of good ideas and feedback on their beers. Devin has stated he enjoys meeting other homebrewers and learning from them.
"I really like the DIY mentality of home brewing, you’ll be hard pressed to meet a homebrewer who hasn’t used a saw or done some sort of electrical wiring related to a project involving their beer." - Devin
once myself got to brew at 75th Street. I look forward to seeing the equipment up and running again.
I would like to point out this venture might not have ever came to light without the help of Dan Moser. Dan approached the guys and pitched the idea of the brewery.
"Dan is a businessman who knows all aspects of craft beer and with his direction we will be able to provide a quality product to all craft beer lovers." - Devin