As I continue to learn as much as I can about the world of Craft Beer, I’m quickly realizing that the people behind the scenes at your favorite local brewery are often fascinating people with their own unique story. Phil Rhudy, the owner of Independent Brewing Company in Bel Air, Maryland, is another prime example of this. I think most beer lovers remember the beer that started it all for them. For me, Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale was one of the beers that made me aware of beers outside of your usual domestics. Phil Rhudy recalls his own experience with the beer that changed everything for him.
So after Wild Goose’s Snow Goose changed the game for Phil, he decided to get into home brewing, but the important thing to remember is that this is in the late 80’s and a VERY different time for the world of craft beer.
Trying to become a home brewer at this time was labor intensive from start to finish. There’s no ordering ingredients online, there’s no software to do the calculations for you, you certainly couldn’t look up recipes on the internet. Phil learned brewing techniques from a book on home brewing that he referred to as “The Home Brewer’s Bible” that he still has to this day, and he went from location to location to find the supplies he needed. And speaking of supplies, one supply that you might not even think of at first came from a particularly interesting source.
So with all of supplies and techniques in place Phil set off on his home brewing journey, which he never intended to turn into a journey where he opened his own brewery. Phil was truly in this for the love of the game and not a paycheck. He loved brewing beer and sharing it with his friends. Next week, we’ll hear how that did eventually spawn the idea of opening a brewery, and how important Independent Brewing’s role in the community is to Phil. Until then…
100.7 the Bay’s Craft Beer Guy