A Philadelphia native and Rowan University alumni named Jack Swiker moved to Los Angeles in 2007. While living on the west coast Swiker picked up a new hobby and has had great success with it. What he’s been doing is home brewing craft beer. He’s made six different beers so far and has enjoyed the process in making them. Swiker talked about some of the process of home brewing and the beers he’s made.
Swiker, 29, started home brewing because he had an appreciation for craft beer and microbrews. A friend randomly posted on Facebook about a home brewing kit and Swiker was on the move. He ordered a one gallon home brew kit from the Brooklyn Brew Shop and received the kit in the mail shortly after. “It was an appreciation and growing progression of an interest in craft beer and micro breweries that pushed me to try this out,” Swiker said. “I didn’t want to taste Coors or PBR, I wanted something with a great taste.”
Swiker explained that in order to brew you need to put aside about six hours and for him on a weekend day. The equipment he uses cooks down the grain to a process called mashing. Mashing extracts the malt. It then cools and goes in to a fermenter. Hops are added in later. It sits in the fermenter for about two weeks to the end process which may take anywhere from four to six weeks depending on the brew. While this is happening the yeast eats the sugar and the c02 carbonates the water. The beer is then ready to drink.
So far Swiker has made Grapefruit Honey Ale, Wheat Ale, Pumpkin Ale, Apple Crisp Ale, Chocolate Maple Porter and Blood Orange Wheat Ale. The Blood Oranges are only in season a few weeks a year in California. He later upgraded to a five gallon kit. He is planning to make an IPA Hoppy Ale for the summer and Peanut Butter Porter for winter time.
“The reason I make these beers is because they are hard to find in stores and are out of the norm,” Swiker said. “Brewing brings a sense of community with other brewers and friends who enjoy beer.” Swiker also enjoys sharing beer brewing stories with the dedicated people who also brew.
Jack Swiker plans to continue his brewing and explore more microbrews in the L.A. area. He hopes to someday upgrade to 10 gallon kit. Swiker also writes a sandwich blog called The Danger Sandwich. The blog recently had its 100th post. He reviews sandwiches and the restaurants that serve them. He mentions some great craft beers in the blog. On top of that Swiker hosts a webseries named Up All Night With Kurt Magnum.
Photo courtesy of Jack Swiker