Inside the Gates: National Guardsman brews success
Like many careers, full-time Alaska National Guardsmen have busy lives. But many members still find time for hobbies, like one who brews award-winning beer.
Lieutenant Colonel Britt Reed invented the Blackhawk Bock, a traditional German-style beer. Despite a demanding job as commander of the National Guard Blackhawk helicopter unit on Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson, he said homebrewing is a fun hobby he can do in his spare time.
“I’ve been homebrewing since about 1995,” said Reed.
After one day mixing the ingredients, it “takes about two to three weeks for it to ferment out and then a couple more weeks for the beer to condition, so, it’s not too bad”.
Reed entered the Blackhawk Bock into the Humpy’s Big Fish Homebrew Competition and won. Part of his prize was brewing a full batch with Midnight Sun Brewing Company.
“They brought me in, they had me brew the beer,” said Reed. “I worked with Lee Ellis, the head brewer there, up-scaled the recipe and brewed it.”
Midnight Sun brewed 30 kegs of the Blackhawk Bock. Humpy’s is now carrying it on tap for everyone to try. The reviews have been positive.
“[It’s] a little malty, 6.2% ABV. It’s the kind of beer that once you have one or two you’re kind of thinking you might want to have that third or fourth,” said Pete Burns, Humpy’s general manager. “He’s done a great job with it and we’re happy we can support him.”
Homebrewing can take practice.
“He kind of played around with it. It’s something he’s been doing in his free time to get better and better,” said Burns.
Reed found the recipe for success just in time to leave it behind. He and his family are moving away at the end of the summer. Reed says the beer is his parting gift.
“I hope everybody enjoys it and we’re going to miss Alaska,” he said.
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