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The Beer Circle » Al's of Hampden, Belgian Pale Ale, Pizza Boy Brewing Co. » Hombrewers BPA: Behind the Scenes at Al’s of Hampden

Hombrewers BPA: Behind the Scenes at Al’s of Hampden

Brewing control system that automated our brew day.

Brewing control system that automated our brew day.

At the early time of 8 AM on a Saturday, a dozen local homebrewing enthusiasts showed up to a quiet Al’s of Hampden, ready to help contribute to a brew day. The beer, aptly called Homebrewers Belgian Pale Ale, is slated to be tapped on National Homebrew Day on May 3.  I was one of the homebrewers eager to attend and help out.

We started out by learning how automated the system is compared to what we are used to at home. We helped add the grains to the mill, watched as the mash and lauter tuns took care of the sparging and boiling, and added the hops as needed. As we waited, Al and Terry (head brewer at Pizza Boy Brewing Co.) gave many insights to topics such as opening a brewery, the things you don’t expect going from homebrewing to production brewing, and the pitfalls of the big breweries – who typically focus too much on the baseline rather than the quality of the recipe. If you haven’t read it, there is a great article that was recently published where Al talks about his entry into the craft beer market.

I also got to learn about some of Al’s and Terry’s future plans. While currently all of their beer is sold exclusively on-site under the name Pizza Boy Brewing Co, Terry is starting a separate line called “Intangible Ales” which feature many of his high-quality sour ales. They will be bottled and shipped across the local distribution network. We were given a taste of an upcoming sour ale called Bluerbonberry – a blueberry bourbon barrel-aged sour. Needless to say, I will be keeping a close watch for its release!

In addition to tapping the Homebrew BPA, Regional Harrisburg Brewers will put on a demonstration of how to homebrew. More details about the event will be posted on Al’s of Hampden’s facebook page as the event gets closer.

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Written by Kenton Martin

Kenton is a Southeast PA native who began diversifying his beer tastes alongside many of The Beer Circle writers at Zeno’s beerfests in State College, PA. He continues to live in the area and is an avid follower of the local microbreweries – going so far as to try his hand at brewing himself. Initial results have been very successful. Find Kenton Martin on Google Plus

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