Words by Skyla Patton | Photo by Michael Davies

Are you a beer enthusiast? Tired of having to pick only from the selection in stores? It’s time to roll up your sleeves and become more than just the drinker of beers — homebrewing is calling your name. Homebrewing is an ancient art form that has regained popularity in recent years. We sat down with experienced homebrewer, Jenna Simonson, tasting room manager at Agrarian Ales to get an inside scoop on what goes into the art of homebrewing.

Question: When did you first start home brewing?

Answer: I started home brewing in 2013.

Q: What inspired you to start – a person, event, beer?

A: I fell in love with Sour Beers and was intrigued by the process in making them as opposed to regular brews.

Q: What competitions have you entered since being a home brewer? Pt.2 What drinks have won awards?

A: I have entered a few of my sour beers into KLCC three and four years ago. No winners there.

I entered the ‘Slurp n Burp’ homebrew contest in Portland about three years ago and got a third place medal in the Fruit Beer category for my Raspberry Kettle Sour called “Raspberry Boobilee.” Named because it was built upon a light-crisp bohemian pilsner base, making it “Boobilee” or Bubbly, then I added a fair amount of Nutrient Dense Local Raspberries from an organic berry farm i used to work at. I wanted the name to represent that a female brewed it as well. Therefore the ‘Boob’ part.

Q: Do you have a favorite brew you’ve made? If so, why is it your favorite?

A: My favorite beer I have made was for my dog’s memorial this past April. She always smelled like maple and she was a chocolate color with blonde reverse-brindle striping. I made a Dunkelweiss with Big Leaf Maple Blossoms. I had always wanted to use maple blossoms in a beer. It turned out the color of my dog as well as a light, easy going, approachable beer with a slight maple blossom flavor that you can’t quite put your finger on, almost earthy and sweet. That beer’s name was “Pie” after my dog Staisha’s nickname Staisha-Pie. I added Munich malt to help contribute a slight pie crust character to the base of the beer.

Q: How do you come up with the names for your brews?

A:  Many different rhymes and reasons. Never the same method. Sometimes I will even build a beer on a name I have for one.

Q: Do you have any tips for people interested in trying it themselves?

A: Ask questions and get help from your local home brew shops. Corvallis Brewing Supply and Falling Sky Brew Shop are both extremely knowledgeable and will get you started on the right track.

Q: What are your favorite styles to brew?

A: Kettle sours.

Q: What competitions have you entered?

A: I entered the fruit beer category in the KLCC Brewfest.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for individuals who have never entered before but are thinking about it?

A: For KLCC, go into the Falling Sky Homebrew Shop and sample your beer with them ahead of time. They will help you with any pointers and choosing the category your beer fits into best.