National American Beer Day
October 27, 2016
Someone along the way decided to make October 27th “National American Beer Day” and Tim Belczak is not complaining. He takes the pursuit of homebrewing and beer knowledge to a whole new level. While he enjoys styles from all around the world, American beers are among his favorite.
“Many people think of ‘American Beer’ as limited to Budweiser or Miller Lite because that’s what they see in the media. There are many flavorful styles with an American origin,” says Tim.
He suggests exploring working though the following uniquely American styles with some great local examples:
- American Light Lager: Miller – Miller Light*
- American Lager: New York Beer Project – Lockport Lager
- Cream Ale: Community Beer Works – Amazing Larry
- American Wheat Beer: Bell’s Brewery – Oberon Ale*
- Blonde Ale: Pearl Street – Lighthouse Golden Ale
- American Pale Ale: Gene McCarthy’s (Old First Ward) – This is Not a Pale Ale
- American Amber Ale: 12 Gates – Bleeding Heart Red Rye
- California Common: Anchor Brewing Company – Anchor Steam Beer*
- American Brown: Community Beer Works- The Whale
- American Porter: 42 North – Asylum Robust Porter
- American Stout: Thin Man – Black Francis
- Imperial Stout: Southern Tier – Choklat
- American IPA: Flying Bison – Buffalo IPA
- Double IPA: Big Ditch – Deep Cut
- American Strong Ale: Southern Tier – Gemini
- American Barleywine: Sierra Nevada – Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale*
- Wheatwine: Smuttynose – Smuttynose Wheat Wine*
- American Wild Ale: look for local small batch sours
* Not from a local brewery, but can be found locally
He started down the rabbit hole of homebrewing in 2006 when he bought a Mr. Beer kit on a deal-of-the-day site. The beer turned out OK, but he quickly wanted to do more with recipe creation and soon upgraded his equipment to handle the standard 5-gallon “extract” batches most homebrewers make with malted sugar, hops, yeast and some specialty grains. A later upgrade to his equipment and process allowed him to start making “all-grain” batches by “mashing” starches in barley and other grains, converting them to fermentable sugars. All-grain brewers use the same ingredients from the same suppliers as breweries use, so the same (or sometimes better) quality can be attained. The only difference is in the scaled down batch size and equipment; the process remains the same.
Wishing to contribute to the homebrewing community, he became a BJCP Judge (Beer Judge Certification Program) and judges competitions both locally and out-of-state. He helps with judge training and administers a annual tasting exam in Buffalo for prospective new judges. He also volunteers his time to grade exam sets from other exam sites a few times a year (a requirement to attain Grand Master rank within the BJCP).
He runs the Erie County Fair Homebrew competition each year and is on the committee for The Western New York Homebrew Competition (Amber Waves of Grain), which has exceeded 600 entries in recent years.
He is a past president of the Niagara Association of Homebrewers and a homebrew instructor at The KegWorks Store in Tonawanda. Check their schedule if you’d like to attend an upcoming class and lean how beer can be made at home.
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