How I started brewing my own beer
My name is Ken Lenard and I live outside of Chicago. I started brewing at home in 1999 after brewing at a Brew-On-Premise for a few years. I started brewing with malt extract and eventually switched to all-grain in 2004. I brew ales and lagers and I keg all of the 5-gallon batches that I brew. This is a hobby that changes frequently and it's always a good idea to keep up with new information. One way to do that is to use a good brewing forum like the AHA forum where experienced brewers openly exchange useful information. You will see a lot of new information so do your best to stay on top of things. I am a member and moderator on a forum called Brews-Brothers. There is a very good group of brewers there who like to bounce around new ideas and share information and I invite brewers of all experience levels to come and participate.
I have always liked beer and making my own beer has kept me very focused and entertained for almost 20 years. It can be a very creative outlet and it also lets you be in complete control over something in a world where that is often not the case. Brewers now have such great access to the ever-expanding options in brewing malt, hops, yeast, brewing ingredients and brewing information. There are a lot of good, focused people out there who are always looking for ways to make better beer and do things more efficiently. I know people who have a lot of money invested in their equipment but I'm proof that you don't need a lot of high-tech gear to make great beer consistently. You really don't even have to be someone who loves to tinker (although many brewers are tinkerers)... you just need an open mind and access to good information. My processes and equipment are very old-school. Nothing is automated. I filter my water and weigh out my grains. I mash in the kitchen and boil in the garage with a propane burner and I brew year-round. Sometimes it's hot and other times it's 14° outside but it's all good. I enjoy making beer and serving beer to friends, family and neighbors. I take great pride in serving beer that I feel is fresh, delicious and made with attention to detail. Check out the BREWING PROCESS page for in-depth information and processes that I use on every batch of beer that I make. If you ever have a question or need a clarification on anything you see here... or if you just want to drop me a message, check out the CONTACT page.