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34th Latitude South African Hops

South African Limited Release hops! We have leveraged our way into securing an extremely limited quantity of rare South African hops JUST for homebrewers. Expand your brewing horizons with these special hops that you cannot find in the US. They are currently sold only to craft breweries in very small quantities. Be the first brewer in your club to try them out!

William Richartz

William Richartz

Where are you from?  Menomonie, WI “When in doubt, go to Stout.”

What is your favorite brewing topic to talk to customers about?  Really, I love to talk about any topic. Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus and their roles in sour beer top the chart. I also enjoy barrel aging, clean or sour, and barrel maintenance. I have a horticulture background, so any time people want to talk about unusual grains or herbs, I am game.

What was your biggest brewing blunder? Accidentally adding a pack of Brett. Lambicus to my yeast starter for an Russian Imperial Stout. Had two starters going for two different beers and made the cardinal sin of having one too many on brew day. It was not until I went to pitch the Brett starter that I realized it was just wort. The RIS went down the drain a few months later.

What movie have you watched the most times?  Star Wars Empire Strikes Back, and anything with Milla Jovovich. Seriously she is awesome, Return to the Blue Lagoon, Kuffs, The Fifth Element, Ultraviolet to name a few. My wife gets upset if we watch too many in a row.

What was your proudest moment in your fermentation history?  Traditional blended Kriek. Years to make, pounds and pounds of cherries and then it was gone in no time.

My first time in New Zealand I collected some spontaneous wild cultures and currently have a few batches of beers going from that. Hopefully that become my proudest moment if they turn out. So far so good.

Why do you brew?  At one point in my life I wanted to be a chef. I grew up watching all the great cooking shows on PBS. Yeah PBS, there was no Food Network or Cooking channel. I find that brewing is a great way to satisfy that same creative process, plus you get beer in the end.

When did you start brewing?  I believe it was 2010, shortly after buying a house. I finally had room to brew!

What is your brewing system?  A pretty simple 18 gallon kettle that I made into an electric kettle with the classic 10 gallon cooler, immersion chiller, and elbow grease. I think most people would be surprised to see my system, very basic. Oh, not to mention my notebook, refractometer, pH meter and my two cats that are WAY too much help.

What is your favorite style of beer for drinking and for brewing? Munich Helles, German Pils, and anything Farmhouse or sour. I try to brew a turbid mash lambic twice a year to keep a good stock for blending and fruiting. I also enjoy brewing historical and obscure styles. Otherwise I like trying out different grains to see the flavor profiles. Always trying to find grains that will help build body into Brett beers. Brett can real chew up beers and leave them with a thin mouthfeel. Spelt (raw or malted) has proven great for this but malted rye and malted oats are great as well. Honestly people need to play more with grains. Just no Hefes please.

If you could share a beer with anyone throughout history, of even fictional, who would it be?  Anthony Bourdain, but he better take me to Thailand for real deal pho.

Where do you spend your non-brewing time?  Gardening and Vacation! New Zealand anyone!? Everyone should have a chance to drink German Pils made with Nelson Sauvin hops while down under.

Who are your three favorite musicians/bands?  Trent Reznor/NIN does that count for one or two? Pink Floyd and Nirvana.

Aaron Finger Brewmaster at Northern brewer

Farley’s Feature – This is Not Your Father’s AB InBev!

This is Not Your Father’s AB InBev

I first got into homebrewing in the early 1990s after I spent a year studying in Scotland. While I was there, I traveled the continent and tried a huge variety of beers. Coming from the United States, I found European beer totally mind-blowing. I discovered malty 90 Shilling Ale in Scotland, well-balanced bitters in London, refined and wine-like Trappist ales in Brussels, bready and clovey Hefeweizens in Germany, and hoppy and robust golden pilsners in Prague. It opened up a whole new world: I had no idea there was so much diversity of flavors and experiences out there to explore.

In 1993, I found myself back in the States. Apart from a handful of visionary brewing pioneers, the United States was largely a beer desert. It was in that environment that I started a small homebrewing shop that I named Northern Brewer.

Northern Brewer’s mission was to educate our customers about the amazing diversity of international beer styles and to help people brew those beers on a hobbyist-scale. It was quite a challenge to convince somebody to brew a lambic, a stout or an IPA when 99% of the beer being sold was an American lager made with corn or rice.

But an amazing thing has happened over the past 20-odd years. Everything has changed.

Today, whether you are in New York or Memphis, you can’t go into a restaurant without finding a variety of delicious, interesting, and often locally-produced beers on the beer list. Everybody, everywhere is demanding better beer. It is clear to me that homebrewers drove this change, transforming the United States into the most exciting and dynamic beer scene on the planet. And who are the proprietors of the thousands of new local breweries? Homebrewers like you and me.

So when I sat down recently and thought about our 20-year old mission — particularly the part about educating people about beer — I began to look around the office for a spot to hang the “Mission Accomplished” banner. And then the phone rang. On the other end AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer and parent of Anheuser-Busch. As you might imagine, I was more than a little skeptical that we would have anything at all to talk about.

What I soon realized is that this is not your father’s AB InBev! It turns out that the world’s largest brewer has also seen the light — which is something that was unfathomable even 10 years ago.

Our relationship with AB InBev is already paying dividends. We’ve joined the brewers at Goose Island to make an authentic homebrewed version of their wonderful Milk Porter. This is just the first in what will become a regular series of partnerships with brewers across the country. If there are particular beers, styles or breweries you’d like us to work with, send us an email or give us a call. We want to hear from you!

We’ve also been working with the AB InBev team to source ingredients that have never before been available to North American brewers. Southern Star — a unique, pleasant hop variety bred and grown in South Africa will be available later this month. You won’t find this hop available anywhere but Northern Brewer! We are also on a mission to bring European craft recipes to American shores through an exciting new program this year, and this is just the beginning.

AB InBev understands that today’s beer drinkers are looking for creative, flavorful beers that are produced by local breweries, often in settings like neighborhood tap rooms and brew pubs. And they are transforming their company to deliver that experience.

Over the past five or six years, AB InBev has assembled a truly remarkable portfolio of craft beer brands. While many craft beer fans were justifiably concerned that the world’s largest producer of “macro beer” would destroy these beloved breweries, they have in fact been allowed to operate independently and far exceed their dreams for reaching new levels of innovation with their styles and serving more beer lovers. When we agreed to join AB InBev, we did it so that we could continue our mission with a partner that shares our values about what beer can be. We want to enable tomorrow’s brewers to unleash their creativity, and continue to drive the brewing culture — not only in the United States, but throughout the world.

For our customers, of course we need to continue to earn your trust every day, just as we have since I started this business 23 years ago. Northern Brewer is still dedicated to helping you unleash your creativity and passion for great beer. We know the freshest and most exciting beer you will have this year is probably one that you made yourself. Knowing we will be moving forward in our mission with the proud backing and full support of our partners at AB InBev fills me with tremendous optimism for the future ahead.

Skol!

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Java junkie brewers, this one’s for you.

How much coffee is too much coffee when it comes to beer? According to this Punch article on an all-coffee beer fest, there’s no such thing. We reached out to one of our favorite local, fair-trade bean bros, Peace Coffee Community Manager, Ryan Brown, for his take on the latest coffee beer trends.

Take it to the next level Own a brewery

For your viewing pleasure: Brew Rebellion’s road to going pro!

If you’ve ever dreamed about opening a brewery, here’s your front-row seat. Next month, Amazon Prime will be airing “Barely Beer Barons,” a series offering a no-holds-barred look at what it takes to go pro, from the ground up. Spoilers: It’s a lot of hard work and even more heart. We’re pulling for the guys at Brew Rebellion because we know a lot of talented

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A brewery on every corner? Sounds amazing.

This article predicts the beer version of “a taco truck on every corner” and we at Northern Brewer couldn’t be happier. Our own HQ is based smack dab in the heart of one of the greatest beer cities in America, according to Thrillist. And knowing you’re never too far away from amazing, local beer is, we can attest, really good for the soul. Not to mention, strike up a conversation with just about anybody, and you’ll find out they’re somehow linked to either beer and brewing, or simply a die-hard, knowledgeable fan.

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Happy to see MN leading the way when it comes to women brewers!

We’re proud to count many of these brewers among our friends and brew heroes…including Urban Growler’s Deb Loch, who was our very own Product Development guru way back when!

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Short Pour: Q & A with Omega Yeast Labs

Farley’s Feature – Brewing an Exciting Future

Brewing an Exciting Future

Friends – I started this business 23 years ago this month because of my passion for quality beer and the joy of brewing from my own home. We have seen tremendous growth in homebrewing in that time. Our community continues to expand as does the diversity of quality ingredients and equipment available.

Northern’s family is much bigger today than it was in 1993, but I’m proud to say that we have never lost our identity. Our employees and managers come to work every day with a commitment to be the best in the industry, period. Someday we want homebrewing to be as common a household craft in America as cooking or gardening. But we all know that we won’t get there through complacency.

Many of you have seen the news that we’ve closed a deal to be acquired by ZX Ventures, the global Disruptive Growth Unit of Anheuser-Busch InBev.

I’ll admit, we didn’t share this with you the way we should and for that, I apologize. I think this is a really important moment in our company’s history and an important moment in our shared passion for brewing great beer. Let me tell you what that means.

First, nothing will fundamentally change as the result of this deal. Our entire leadership team will remain intact and our company will continue to be independent. Our staff of dedicated employees will continue to serve our customers and help our industry innovate. Our culture will remain as it is today: vibrant, energetic, fair and dedicated to our mission and to you.

Second, this partnership with ZX Ventures is about growing our company and providing our customers with unparalleled opportunities. This deal will make us stronger and able to pursue our passion with even greater focus, better tools and ingredients.

We are convinced that this partnership will be good for us and great for you. We share the same mission with ZX, to provide “consumers with exceptional beer experiences, anytime, anywhere.” That is, after all, why we’re all here.

This is a really exciting opportunity that doesn’t come around that often. We’re proud of this deal and are excited to begin working with the team from ZX. We’re confident that in time, you will realize just how much we’re going to gain from this partnership and how everyone – you, our company and our community – will be better off because of it.

You have made our community thrive and made our business what it is today. Here’s to more than twenty years of brewing great beer together. Cheers to you and to the future.

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