Private: JACOB LEONARD / BREWER
HOW DID YOU GET INTO BREWING: In college, Jacob knew he wanted to do something with science, so he took a microbiology class and was instantly fascinated with yeast and bacteria. Upon asking his teacher what he could do with that, he replied, “become a brewer or a winemaker.” So that weekend Jacob got homebrewing kit at F.H. Steinbart’s and was instantly hooked. Awhile later, his wife enrolled him in the American Brewers Guild Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering program. “I came home and she was waiting with a bottle of Saison Dupont and said she signed me up. I thank her for that,” says Jacob.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO SHARE A BEER WITH SOMEONE AS A BREWER: “It’s great to hand a friend a pint, that you’ve helped create, and ask them what they think of it. It makes me a better brewer to hear their feedback, and it might change the way I think about designing the next beer,” say Jacob. “What I like about making beer is sharing my passion. I’m constantly thinking about beer, a bit obsessively.”
WHAT HOMEBREWS DO YOU HAVE COOKING RIGHT NOW: “Right now, I have a Chinook and Cascade hop IPA going, just using up some hops I had. I also a little of the Oyster Stout test batch left that myself and a few other brewers made before we went full scale at the brewery.” He says that this year he is going to focus on brewing Pilsners. “I have the keg fermentation fridge and everything all set. Pilsner’s a style I am really in love with right now.”
SOME BREWER’S WISDOM FOR US: Brewers are a wise bunch, and Jacob is no exception. He says, “Another brewer once told me about the ‘3 Pint Rule’. I’d even call it the ‘2 Pint Rule’. If you are at a bar where you have 12 or 15 taps to choose from, and you go back to the same beer again, then that is a great beer--no matter what it is.” This is something he keeps in mind as he brews. “Ultimately you can brew the most technically perfect beer in the world, but if it doesn’t taste good in the pint, and doesn’t make you want to come back to it, it doesn’t matter.”
BEST BREWING STORY: “I have two actually. The first time I ever brewed a fresh hop beer is one. We went to the hop farm and grabbed fresh hops straight from the dryer. We drove back with garbage bags full of these super fresh hop cones, went straight to the brewery and brewed a fresh hop Kölsch. I was still pretty new to brewing, so it was first time I felt like I really understood what hops were about--seeing the connection to the farm and the land. And the beer was awesome too.” “My other story is when I brewed a Rye Pale Ale with 35% rye malt in the grist, which is a lot. We knew it would gum up the mash, and took some steps to mitigate it, but not enough. It turned into a 14hr brew day that ended with less beer and a little higher gravity than we wanted. The day we released the beer, a guy came into the pub who had been traveling from Lake Superior to the Pacific Ocean in a dug-out canoe he made himself. He sat down at the bar and we started talking. I thought his story was one of the coolest things I’d ever heard, so we renamed the beer Marc’s Portage Pale Ale in his honor. He was stoked and we’re friends still. That beer was such a pain in the butt to brew, but it turned out great and came with a great story. That’s what it’s really all about.”