SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A lot of people have hobbies like fishing, gardening, or cooking, but there’s a growing number of people who are tapping into a different kind of activity; beer! That’s right, homemade brew.
Welcome to Orange Cat Brewery…well it’s not actually a brewery.
It’s just the name for Nick Langel’s hobby.
“I’ve been brewing beer for about three years now and brewed over 50 different kinds of beers from IPA’s, stouts, red ales and basically you name it,” Langel said.
And it shows. What you see on top of his cupboards are the different types of beers Langel has brewed, bottled, and named.
“My favorite is probably the Cliff Hanger IPA, my best friend’s name is Cliff and he’s a huge outdoorsman, so we figured with Cliff—Cliff Hanger, so that’s a fun play on names,” Langel said.
Langel says one of the best things about brewing your own beer is coming up with unique names like this one named after his cat Mango…it’s Mango the Menace and of course, we like reporter involvement in every story so here it goes, cheers!
A toast to Mango the cat, the inspiration behind the beer and the fictitious company logo.
Langel refers to Mango as his playful intern.
Legally, Langel can’t sell his homemade beer, but he loves making it and drinking it with family and friends, who also like to brew beer.
“We come up with a recipe and a name for the beer and what kind of story we want to tell with this beer and that way when we are done and actually enjoying the beer sitting around a campfire or on the deck we can talk about how we created this and added in the hops and how we had our friends and family involved with the process of making beer,” Langel said.
They’ve even started their own club called the Home Brew Club that now has about 30 members.
Langel says brewing your own beer isn’t that hard. You get a kettle like this, fill it with water and add grains, hops and other ingredients and boil it.
“You’re extracting all the sugar out of the grains which makes the beer and the flavor so you’re extracting caramel, vanilla, depending on your style of beer,” Langel said.
From there you transfer the unfinished product to a five-gallon pail and let it ferment.
“It’s not that complex as people think it’s actually a fun and semi-easy hobby to get into,” Langel said.
“We’ve seen the renaissance of craft beers and it’s still climbing,” Heather Taylor of Taylor’s Pantry said.
Heather Taylor has been selling everything a person needs to get started. The kettles, the bottles, the caps, and of course the ingredients.
“We have new hobbyists who are getting into making their own beer in fact a lot of the breweries that are in Sioux Falls and around Sioux Falls, those folks started here at my store buying product and equipment from me and learning how to brew beer out of their garage,” Taylor said.
Taylor sells about 20 to 30 different kinds of flavors just in the kits.
But if a person becomes more familiar with the brewing process, they can come up with their own recipes adding all the grains and spices that she sells.
“Well you know I think it’s kind of one of those trial and error situations, because when you first get started you know you might make some mistakes, but we are here to help and there’s a lot of community online social support for the people who are learning,” Taylor said.
Like Langel, who admits when you’re brewing beer, you never stop learning.
“Yeah for somebody who is just starting out I would say do some research get to be a part of the Home Brew Club or Big Sioux Brewing Society come to some of our meetings, you’ll be able to learn about recipes and make a lot of new friends and learn about the home brewing setup that way,” Langel said.
If you’d like to start brewing your own beer, we’ve provided a couple of links to the Home Brew Club and the Big Sioux Brewing Society.