Food & Drink: At Bader, everyone's a homebrewer



Rachel Pinsky

Rachel Pinsky

If You Go

• What: Bader Beer and Wine Supply.

• Where: 711 Grand Ave., Vancouver.

• Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

• Contact: 360-750-1551 or BaderBrewing.com

Like Patrick Swayze in the film “Roadhouse,” Andrew Reudink has three rules for his Beginning Brewing class at Bader Beer and Wine Supply. Reudink’s three rules are easier to remember than Swayze’s: sanitization, sanitization, sanitization.

On a dark Wednesday evening, four students (me, another woman and two men) gathered in a back room of the store to learn how to make beer. “This is a super informal class,” Reudink told us while sipping beer from a pint glass. We learned that a beginning homebrewer can be laid back about times, temperatures or beer styles, but sanitation is no joke.

Reudink explained, “If you don’t sanitize, there’s wild yeast and bacteria on everything.” Then he added, “If you’re familiar with vomit or puke — bacteria makes that smell.” And, “Yeasts are weird. They are a living thing. They do weird stuff.”

Reudink has brewed beer at home for 10 years. He started by brewing five batches of beer in three weeks. According to him, his first batch was “wretched.” But now he’s an expert. He’s also made cider, wine, cheese and kombucha. He taught a beer-making class at Clark College’s School of Continuing Education. He’s taught at Bader Beer and Wine Supply for six years.

On this night, we would be making Andrew’s Jimica Lite 2.0, a robust porter. Reudink created this beer for his brother.

“My brother, Jim, only celebrates one holiday a year, his birthday. It’s a week-long holiday called Jimica.” This light version of Jimica Porter has half the alcohol content (5 percent) of the original, full-strength Jimica Porter.

The class isn’t long enough for students to make and drink their own beer. In this class, we soaked grains and malt extract to make a wort, added hops, and poured the wort into a vessel with yeast and water to allow for fermentation. After we left, this concoction would ferment for four to six days and then be bottled with a bit of corn sugar to create bubbles. The bottles sit at room temperature for a week to mature. Then they can be chilled and consumed.

Reudink began this process by placing three types of malt and one type of wheat in a muslin bag and steeping it for 30 minutes in a large glass container filled with hot tap water. He placed a lid on top and said, “Don’t sweat the temp too much.” And added, “That’s science-y stuff. We want to have fun.”

The immersed grains smelled like barley tea at a Korean restaurant. While the grain steeped, Reudink talked to us about equipment and showed us how to sanitize everything. After the 30 minutes, he removed the bag of wet grain, gestured at it and said, “Cereal for my chickens. This goes quickly when you have 16 chickens.”

The remaining liquid, this grain tea, is called the wort. It’s boiled, then malt extract powder and hops are added. After adding the hops, Reudink announced, “Now we have 45 minutes to drink beer.”

I commented to one of my classmates that this class is better than high school chemistry because you can drink beer. He responded, “You didn’t drink beer in high school chemistry class? No wonder you have such a solid job.”

We lumbered out of our folding chairs and sampled Reudink’s home brew (Fresh hop, IPA or wheat beer) from kegs and toured the store. A variety of homebrewing kits are available at Bader, as well as an endless variety of malt, yeast and hops. There are also kits for making wine, distilling alcohol and making kombucha.

The timer went off and Reudink pitched some more hops into the wort to increase the hop flavor, then he sanitized a carboy (a large container), funnel, strainer and beer thief (a tool that looks like a long, thin turkey baster used to sample the beer).

Reudink attached a coiled object with tubes called a wort chiller to a water faucet and ran water through it to cool the wort to 85 to 90 degrees so that yeast could be added for fermentation. After the wort was properly chilled, he filled the sanitized carboy with cold water and added the chilled wort, and then more cold water. He tested the temperature and specific gravity (with a hydrometer floating in a tube filled with the liquid). The beer cooled some more and then yeast was added to the carboy. After adding the yeast, Reudink declared, “We made beer! You are all brewers!”

t this class is better than high school chemistry because you can drink beer. He responded, “You didn’t drink beer in high school chemistry class? No wonder you have such a solid job.”

We lumbered out of our folding chairs and sampled Reudink’s home brew (Fresh hop, IPA or wheat beer) from kegs and toured the store. A variety of home-brewing kits are available at Bader, as well as an endless variety of malt, yeast and hops. There are also kits for wine-making, distilling alcohol and making kombucha.

The timer went off and Reudink pitched some more hops into the wort to increase the hop flavor, then he sanitized a carboy (a large container), funnel, strainer and beer thief (a tool that looks like a long, thin turkey baster used to sample the beer).

Reudink attached a coiled object with tubes called a wort chiller to a water faucet and ran water through it to cool the wort to 85 to 90 degrees so that yeast could be added for fermentation. After the wort was properly chilled, he filled the sanitized carboy with cold water and added the chilled wort, and then more cold water. He tested the temperature and specific gravity (with a hydrometer floating in a tube filled with the liquid). The beer cooled some more and then yeast was added to the carboy. After adding the yeast, Reudink declared, “We made beer! You are all brewers!”


Rachel Pinsky can be emailed at couveeats@gmail.com. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @couveeats.

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