Andrew and I met a few years ago through Andrew’s wife, whom I worked with. Initially it was the manly stuff…NFL, gun ranges, chamomile tea. Wait, scratch that last one. Beer. It was beer. We shared styles and breweries we liked with each other. Then, on one special moonlit night, Andrew mentioned he was a homebrewer. He shared some homebrew he had, and needless to say there wasn’t enough of it. It was damn good. My OCD then (un)necessarily kicked into high gear, and Andrew set a date for our first tandem brew.
Since it was my first brewing experience, I got to choose the style. With stout being one of my favorite styles, and one that Andrew found quite quaffable, guess what was chosen. Andrew designed an oatmeal stout, grain bills were filled, and a date was set. Alongside a few friends, who also had never brewed beer before, Andrew walked us through the steps. He explained the process the best he could to a small gathering of man-children who kept repeating, “Dude, we’re making beer!” over and over again. He dealt with it quite well.
Initially, the stout didn’t seem like it was going to make it. Something seemed off. Andrew spoke with borrowed wisdom from Charlie Papazian, “Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew.” And boy, it was the truth.
With some patience, and some brewing in the meanwhile, that first stout went from something a dog wouldn’t drink to an epic elixir. Once that first corny keg was tapped, we couldn’t keep our friends or ourselves away from it. No one developed addictions or dependencies, but egos were boosted. Taste buds were happy. This is nearly the same recipe still used for Stout One; the only improvements have to been for efficiency sake.
This small group of friends continued brewing as homebrewers, for the love of it. Then one fateful day, one of the guys sent a link to an article about four patron saints of beer and brewing. The statement was made, “Four Saints would make a great name for a brewery.” The flint had been struck and the tinder was dry. We were engulfed in email after email and link after link of what it would take to start a brewery.
If we were brewing for the love of beer, why get into the rigmarole of making it a business? The answer: It seemed right. Our guts said, usually after a raved about homebrew, to just do it. All four of the original group had never really stepped out of the line of normalcy. We had always done what we were supposed to do: go to school, go to work, join the service, and so on. None of us had really had taken a grave chance on doing something extraordinary. This was it; this was that chance.
During the next few months, conversations happened. Hard choices were made. Realizations came through. The original four had become two – Andrew and Joel. With a firm handshake and the statement, “We’re going to brew beer in Asheboro,” our eyes narrowed on the uncertain future and the tasks in hand. In the Andrew’s other hand was the grain for the next brew, and a business plan was in mine. It was time to make Great Beer for Great People.