brewer profile
March -2018
Eric Worthington

Q: How long have you been brewing?

A:  In February of 2004 I got a wild hair and decided I needed a new hobby.  Friends and I had been exploring the breweries of San Diego since '02 and I didn't know a single person who brewed.  Nor had I heard of brewing clubs, I I wouldn't join QUAFF until the end of '07.  So I walked into Homebrew Mart/Ballast Point and declared "I know absolutely nothing about brewing, teach me!"  ...and they did.  The same guys work there today, and I always stop in to say Hi when I'm in town.  That first brew session I think I called them 6x in a panic.  They talked me down and walked me through it, and to this day I'll help out any newbie as much as I can. 
 
 
Q: What type of system do you use? 

A:  My first 3 years was stove-top extract while I lived in apartments.  I upgraded to cooler batch-sparging/15g kettle when I moved into a warehouse/dojo and acquired a little more room.  In 2011 I bought a house and built a hillbilly Herms system which still used the same cooler for batch sparging (total 8 years) but I was now recirculating.  Currently we picked up a MoreBeer 2025 flat system once we moved to TX.  I use a combo of MoreBeer 14 gallon conicals (custom jacketed and cooled off my cold room) and glass and plastic carboys (standard temp controlled chest freezer) for sours.  I would like to say I've done nearly every type of brewing...but these newfangled brew-in-a-bag weirdos are something else.

 
 
Q: What are your goals as a homebrewer?

A:  Make tasty suds.  Explore different styles and techniques.  To try to not take myself or brewing too seriously while encouraging others to go bonkers over it.  I have a lot of DIY built equipment and I seem to spend more time fixing things than I do brewing.  So basically brew more consistently.  My pils/lagers/hoppies I split with my dad, and I keep everything else.  Meanwhile my goal is to help guide people to becoming judges to help build the craft beer movement on the west side of town.  I've been waiting probably 8 years to do a serious brewstudy session on Belgian beers.  Maybe this year I'll finally get around to it.
 
 
Q: What is your "go-to" beer to drink?

A:  It's changed a lot over the years, these days I'm working more on 5% Czech pils and a light and hoppy APA in the same ABV range.
 
 
Q: What is your favorite brewery?

A:   I cut my teeth in the land of plenty in San Diego, one of my all time favs is Alesmith.  Bar none though has to be the Pizza Port Brewing empire of brewpubs.  Looks like I'll be headed back there this summer and I'll sit down at Pizza Port Ocean Beach and eat and drink myself blind.  Locally my favorite beer is St Arnold Pub Crawl.  And the brewery I spend most of my time at is Brash.  It reminds me of the early days of San Diego brewing with shitty warehouses and no frills.  The Club Pub Crawls have really opened up some other options though, there's a lot of promise.  The crazy part is....I'm more interested in homebrewing than going to breweries.
 
 
Q: What is your favorite style to brew? 

A:   All the styles.  With the exception of sour mash, that was a pain in the ass.  For the most part it's nearly all the same.  However, for some reason I love brewing imperial stouts.  There's something magic about a big pot of high gravity squid ink boiling.
 
 
Q: What areas do you want to grow or learn this year?

A:  The Belgian Quest (single, dubbel, dark strong, golden strong) and work on the fermentation process.  I have dreams of a brew-pi fermentation control that's web-based which I can alter mid-day while at work.  I don't know enough about it just yet though (I need help with this).  More lagers and pilsners, but I also have to build a DIY glycol system for keeping my DIY jacketed conicals cool enough during summer.  See...it just never ends.  Have Josh and Jander teach me the witchcraft behind deconcotion brewing for the Fest & Marzens.  As far as goals for this month: get my damn cold room back functional so I can get back to brewing! 



  
Q: What does brewing mean to you?

A: 
This is a loaded question.  Brewing has meant a lot to me in the relationships and friendships I've developed over the last 14 years. It is so much more than making beer.  In '07 I met a guy who brewed in the 90's but quit, I convinced him to get back into it and we both went all grain in early '08.  From there we both became judges after Peter Zien (Grand master judge and owner of Alesmith) taught only 2 classes (he's now a Master judge/brewery owner, I'm trying to hit National).  Met 3 other guys and the 5 of us brewed together for the next 6 years intensely.  Of the 5 of us, 2 went pro and the other 2 work in the industry now.  Once I became a judge I worked the local competitions and was eventually asked to help steward GABF.  On my 4th GABF trip I met my wife while dancing on a table at the Falling Rock Tap House, it was one helluvaofa Tuesday night.  She also brews and usually says 'yes' to every dumb thing I want to do.  We both continued to steward GABF for the next several years.  When I said I want to build a walk in cold room, she said yes.  When I said lets buy a brewhouse more expensive than my car, she said 'yes'.  When I tell her I want to brew in the TX summer heat she says "yes, but you're a dumbass."  

When we moved to TX I already knew about the CIA from a few  years earlier when we were married in Katy.  I popped into THB to pick up some sankey taps and James gave me the local skinny.  So when I was fresh-arrived brand new, I went to the meetings because I knew I'd find like-minded nutjobs who spoke my language. The CIA is my social circle, without being a brewer just the fact of meeting people outside of work would have been daunting.  As much as I have a love-hate relationship with my brewing (fixing crap vs. making tasty suds), brewing has become an integral part of my life, friendships and free time.  It has been fantastic being part of a young club with so many passionate brewers who are so ready to help teach and grow.  It's much like it was back in San Diego in '04.  There's a whole lot I don't know, but chances are I know someone who does.  



Eric's Current Setup

 

Eyewash station converted to RO water Storage

Old hillbilly HERMS

Eric's Grainmill

Eric's Jacketed Conical Fermenters

Eric's Old Batch Sparge Setup