Even though his beers have won numerous accolades including six World Beer Cups and eleven Great American Beer Festival Awards, I was unaware of the esteem in which he is held among the brewing community. About 20 years ago, Miller wrote Dave Miller's Homebrewing Guide, a seminal guide for beer nerds. The book is still in print to share, as Miller humbly puts it, "the many ways in which beer may contribute to the quality of your life."
Now he has released a followup with Brew Like a Pro, a tome which ups the ante on the home-brewing experience by sharing Miller's years of lessons as a brewmaster at Schlafly in St. Louis and here in Nashville.
The new book concentrates on draft beer brewing using whole grains in lieu of malt extracts, just like he does at Blackstone. He offers easy-to-follow instructions and materials lists to set up your own 5-gallon home brewery, and then shares the recipes and techniques to make you the most popular neighbor on your block. Since you don't have to mess with bottles, your beer stays fresh in your own tap system, and all your friends have to come over to your house to enjoy it.
This is not an undertaking for just the casual home brewer, though. This is much closer to the professional process than most garage breweries can handle. But I know that there are some serious home brewers out there in Bites land, and I'm sure that one of you could take better advantage of this advance copy than I could. So how about a giveaway? Just leave your favorite local brew choice in the comments and share why you like it. On Jan. 18, I'll randomly pick an entry from all the comments and send a free copy of this very entertaining and informative book. If you wanted to hook a brother up with a bottle or two or a growler of your resulting efforts, hey I wouldn't complain.
In other Blackstone news, co-founders Stephanie Weins and Kent Taylor are excited to announce a major expansion to the new brewing facility. When I took a tour of the building last year, I noticed how easy it would be to blow out the back wall and add more capacity, and apparently this was a very conscious bit of good planning. The brewery plans to add three new tanks, which will increase their fermentation capabilities by 60 percent, from 10,000 to 16,000 barrels. This will allow Blackstone to continue to support their growing roster of core brands and seasonal specialties and also release a couple new brands including a new high-gravity offering over the next year. The brewery also aggressively pursues contract brewing opportunities for other companies and wanted to make sure they would have plenty of capacity for their own products.
They already have their eyes on a few more new tanks for next year, so it's great to see a local company doing so well. So buy a book or a beer and help them celebrate their good fortune!