Interview with a Home Brewer – Greenfield, MA.

Most of us have our favorite beer. Whether it’s the style, the body, the over all taste, or even nostalgia, something brings us back to that go-to brew. But when we sip that beer and enjoy it caressing our palate. Maybe we contemplate the sweetness of the Hefe, or that crisp and slightly bitter finish of a Lager, and the ever present citrous or floral smell of our favorite IPA; but do we ever think, “How did this wonderful treat get its start?”

Maybe we have, maybe we haven’t. But every sip of beer  that you savor had a humble beginning. From the large corporate monster beer companies, to your local brewer in an old where house, each one had to have their “Big Bang” or creative start.

Today let’s talk to a local Home Brewer by the name of Tim. I work with Tim, and from time to time, after tantalizing me with descriptions of his current brews, he will let me have a sample. It’s always a pleasure when I come into my desk at work to find a bottle of Tim’s freshly brewed beer waiting for my drive home. Hmm, of course I don’t mean drive home, it’s enjoyed after I get home. Moving on…

I call his beer Tim Beef, mainly because he kept “forgetting” to bring in a bottle he promised me, so he said “write me a note.”  So I wrote quickly on a Post-It note ‘Bring Tim Beer!’  But with my chicken scratch penmanship it came across ‘Bring Tim Beef!’ I am so glad he knew what I meant.  Let’s get on with the interview and see form the very beginning how many brewers today started out.

Hey Tim, thanks for volunteering some time with The Barley Men.  I gotta say, I like your style of brewing and even though you seem to do it for fun, you do take it seriously enough to make it not taste like an ordinary home brew.


TBM: So for the our readers out there in Webland, tell us a little about yourself.

Tim: My name is Tim Sheperd. I’m 29 years old and would classify myself as beer nerd / beer snob. I’m happily married and live in a small town in Massachusetts.

TBM: Married huh, wonder if that took some convincing.  What got you into brewing?

Tim: One of my friends started brewing beer and I would hang out with from time to time while he was brewing and fell with of all things, the smell.
When my wife and I got married we agreed to split some of the wedding money on what ever we wanted for ourselves, I chose brewing equipment! That was about 4 years ago and I’ve made about 20 batches of “mostly” delicious brews to date.

TBM: Great choice, and what a kind wife.  What’s your favorite beer style, and/or top 3 favorite beers?

Tim: My favorite style depends on the season. In summer I’m an IPA junkie. The more IBU’s the better! If I could afford to drink Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA as my “everyday” beer that would be ideal.
The winter gets a little more complicated. I will go for anything from Imperial Stout to Porters and Bocks. My favorite that I found recently was Undead Party Crashers from Clown Shoes, which was an imperial stout, holy crap…awesome!

TBM: It’s funny how we say “Holy Crap,” and yet it refers to something good. Speaking of good, sometimes our product can be affected by a name.  I know Tim Beef isn’t the name of your brewer title, if you would like to share what would you like your Brews to be titled?

Tim: The Sheperd’s Brew.

TBM: Catchy. Do you have any goals for brewing in the future? Or do you want to keep it as a hobby?

Tim: WHEN I hit the lottery I will quit my job and open a brew pub. End of story.

TBM: Hobby it is. Any tips to new home brewers?

Tim: Start with easy recipes to gain knowledge of the basic chemistry do brewing beer. Once you have the basics down that’s when it gets fun. I have done quite a few recipes with the same grain bill and changed the hops, yeast and added flavorings to the secondary fermenter (oak, coconut, bourbon)

TBM: Good tips. I know you have a sense of humor, whethere its good or not, we can let the public decide.  Any funny brew stories?

Tim: I was brewing a beer for my friends wedding, the boil was done and I was cooling the wort so I could get it into the fermenter. As I pulled the “glass” thermometer out only the top was in my hand. Glass everywhere in the wort. I had to dump the batch! I ordered new ingredients and brewed again. Everything went fine but I tried a beer a day before the wedding to make sure it was OK. It wasn’t carbonated yet! Needless to say off to the store I went to pick up 10 growlers of IPA…fail!

Valiant effort Tim.  I enjoyed picking your brain a bit and I am hopeful that any new brewers out there, or even experienced will enjoy this interview. It may be the boost they need to start or experiment more. So if you ever see Sheperd’s brew in the future, remember, he started off as one of the “little guys” form western MA, and you got to meet him here with the Barley Men.

Tim let me post all my samplings from Sheperd’s Brew on Untappd under “Tim Beef.”

Nick  @thebarleymen


Sheperd’s Copper IPA



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