​Scaling Down For Homebrewers

A lot of breweries dotting the US landscape started as a homebrewer’s dream. Giving back to those that follow in those footsteps seems to be a call of duty and an honor for most professional brewery owners now.

For the past few years the American Homebrewers Association has compiled a list of professionally made beers and had them scaled down ​to homebrew batches for a “Clone Beer Recipe” page with each state and the District of Columbia getting a representative.

Brewer reached out to some of the breweries that were listed in the 2019 listing and many said it was a honor and a little extra bump in recognition to represent their state to the millions of homebrewers that may come across the recipe of a beer they make all the time at the brewery.

​Back Forty’s Tripp Collins said they did not have to submit the idea. Instead, they were approached and thought it was a fun project to undertake.​

“We have always had a good relationship with the AHA and the BA so I’m sure when they were looking over their options we might have been front of mind,” Collins said. “Or who knows, at that point, we might have been at the top of the list of breweries listed in alphabetical order.”

Reuben’s Brews’ Adam Robbings is on the Finance Committee of the Brewers Association and one of the brewery’s team members is also on the AHA Governing Committee.

In North Dakota, Fargo’s Aaron Hill added that he was exactly sure the criteria or how/why the brewery was selected.

“But we are the largest producer in the state,” he noted.

The beers span a wide variety of styles. For the state of Texas, a Saison from Jester King was featured, which pleased owner Jeffrey Stuffings.

“We strive to build the category of farmhouse ales, so yes, it’s good to see beers of this style receive some attention,” he said.

Collins doesn’t think being featured on the list was going to necessarily drive business but, “it never hurts to have your name out there.

“I think the AHA has a great reputation among the beer industry in general and for us to be the featured brewery from Alabama on their list is positive for the brand,” Collins said.

Added Fargo Brewing’s Aaron Hill: “Any earned media definitely help promote our brand and create more awareness for who we are. The bulk of our customer base is in North Dakota or close proximity to Fargo in Minnesota and South Dakota, but anytime we can get national media attention is great.”

Robbings added that sharing this and being listed was not about sales.

“It’s about giving something small back to the community that we started in,” he said. “I was a homebrewer once, I learned my trade as a homebrewer, and we want to support homebrewers when we can. It was a slam dunk.”

For most of the brewers that talked to Brewer, sharing the recipe was a cinch. Many of the beers they make had homebrew roots, so scaling down wasn’t hard.

“Our Robust Porter started life as a 5-gallon homebrew recipe back in 2011, so it was very easy to take it back to its roots,” Robbings said “I designed the beer initially as a homebrewer — and it won Gold in the first three competitions I entered it in.

“So there was no need to change that recipe. The current commercial recipe is a directly scaled up version of my original homebrew.”

Collins said that Back Forty kept good notes on the origins of it’s Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale and is happy with the recipe shared to the homebrew community.

​”As far as the profile goes, I think it’s pretty close​,” he said​. ​”​The average homebrew batch might come through a little roastier with a bit more honey flavor but that’s not a bad thing.​”​

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