Homebrewer: Shawn Olsson

Shawn is homebrewer that I have been trying to photograph for a while now, but our schedules never seemed to match up. We were finally able to meet up for a brew day a couple weekends ago. Unfortunately, Jess couldn’t make it out, that pesky thing called work got in the way. We are planning on going back at the end of month so Jess can talk to Shawn and we can taste the beer he was brewing that day. In the mean time I’ll talk a little bit about the beer he was brewing and what he has on tap at the moment.

Our day started early, 7 a.m. early. I know that doesn’t sound particularly bad, but when you get done with work at 2 a.m. it feels early. I knew I was in the right place when I saw the beer flags flying in the front yard. I found Shawn in the garage already brewing. He filled me in on what he was making, which was a Belgian Wit Beer spiced with coriander, grains of paradise and bitter orange peel. This was a particularly special batch as it was being brewed as an anniversary gift for his wife. The last time he made this beer was for his wedding reception.

When I first arrived there were only two taps hooked up, but around 11 or so Shawn hooked up the other two taps and “the bar was officially open.” The first I tasted was his Hard Cider made from raw cider he purchased in Oak Glenn. Generally, I’m not much a cider fan, I tend to find them a bit sweet for my tatste, but I was pleasently surprised with Shawn’s. This was the first cider I’ve tasted that I could drink a full glass of.

Next was the Noonan’s Dortmunder Export. This was a blonde lager brewed in the Dortmunder style using hard water. This was probably my favorite of the day. Shawn brewed it with the help of another homebrewer Scott Bennett, who hosted a homebrew day a couple months back that Jess and I attended.

Next in line was Shawn’s Fullerton Pride. This traditional English Special Bitter was Shawn’s attempt at cloning Fuller’s London Pride. Shawn was trying a couple different levels of carbonation and it was a bit on the low side when I tasted it. He told me he got the carbonation dialed in since and the beer is really smooth now. This particular style has won him regional rounds of the AHA National Homebrew Competition.

The last brew I tasted was his Oli’s Smoked Bock. This traditional Rauch Bier made in the Bamberg style was the first smoked beer I had ever tried and it was fantastic. The smokiness hits you as soon as you pour it from the tap. The smoked flavor comes from Alderwood smoked Munich Malt that Shawn smoked in his backyard. This brew is from 2009, so it has had time to age and smooth out the smoked malt flavor.

With that, enjoy the photos and stay tuned for a proper write up from Jess.

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