Tuesday, August 9, 2011

THE BREWLAB EXPERIMENT

The other day a man showed up at my door with a 6-pack of homebrewed beer. I don’t know this kind man, and I don’t know the good people who make the beer he drove all the way over to give to me. All I did was pony up $20 to BREWLAB – until very recently “BREWLAB SF” – and joined their collective as a member. Brewlab is something that could only exist in web time, a place where you can join a club where people make beer for you with a couple of clicks and sit back and wait for the doorbell to ring and a man to appear with your beer. It’s the brainchild of San Franciscans and brewers Sam Gilbert and Emily Ford, and though they agreed to be interviewed by Beer Samizdat’s crack team of questioners, they also asked to defer said interview for another month while they continue to build their business. So we’ll wait – and talk about their cause here anyway.

I peg BREWLAB as part of the rapid de-evolution from macro beer to micro beer to nanobeer and now all the way into picobeer. Or something like that. They’re home brewers who join up in a virtual kibbutz, and agree to have their experimental creations put into 6- and 12-packs with those of other brewers and distributed within a metro region – San Francisco in this case, though I’ll venture to guess that’s just the start. Brewlab is a little cagey on this, but you don’t really have to even pay to start drinking these beers – they request “donations” and that’s about it. I decided to go with the $20 monthly subscription “donation”, and for this I’ll receive 6 beers in a variety pack every month, delivered to my front porch by Sam & Emily themselves (or by their pals). Hard to find anything to argue with here – although one rogue has tried, and I’d have to say, with all due respect to him & his commenters, that I’ve never seen such insular and catty backbiting in my life. You guys sound like cops, albeit very nerdy ones.

Count me in as a fan. I’ve only had two of my six beers so far, and both were just fine, both “brewhouse quality” ales. I like that I got some low-ABV sippers I can try with dinner and a couple of 8%+ bombs that I can have for dessert. Somewhere in there is San Francisco’s next great brewer, and I’ll be sure to let him or her know when I’ve found them – and I’ll let you know too. This sort of everyone-in experimentation and evolution is what makes the 2011 craft beer world even more interesting than last year’s, and I like ideas that sort of smack you upside the head like this one. Kudos to Brewlab for their beer-making and –distributing panache, and let me know when you’re ready to answer some hard questions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great concept - count me in!!