Brent “You can call me Pickles” Wilkerson
Ok fine it’s my time for a Meet the Malters bio, so here it goes. I’ve always been an admirer of good beer, which most homebrewers are but my story is a little different.
My homebrewing adventure actually starts with something scary, cancer. My wife Lynn had to go through a battle with breast cancer. Which is trying for anyone and she has been cancer free now for 2-1/2 years but only after surgery, chemo and radiation. Lynn and I started going to a cancer support group in Manitowoc and there was another person attending the support group, co-owner from Grape, Grain and Bean.
We didn’t talk homebrewing at the support group but we did talk and chat monthly. Then a week before Christmas of 2012, Lynn and a friend were going Christmas shopping in Manitowoc. As they were leaving I jokingly said “Hey you know you could go and visit you know who at Grape, Grain and Bean.”
Well, Lynn did go and talk to them at Grape, Grain and Bean. Much to my surprise she came home with a Brewer’s Best deluxe equipment kit and Brewers Best German Oktoberfest extract kit. I had no idea that she was actually going to go there let alone come home with everything to get started. And to think I was only joking. But my wife knows me all too well and knew I would love this hobby. It was a great gift for me.
Lynn said I needed to do a batch every month for the first year, and well I did. Starting first with the Oktoberfest. Then a Brewer’s Best Red Ale followed up with Whiskey Barrel Stout kit. Next, I made an extract blonde / Bud clone, recipe I got from Scott Kohlman. Then I did the Saison d’Ete Clone war, yes Dave Taylor I used agave nectar. Next I made a Graff, the “Brandon O” version from here. (Link: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f81/graff-malty-slightly-hopped-cider-117117/ ) Then I went and observed Adam Davidson making an all grain batch of beer. Afterwards I was convinced I needed to switch to all grain.
So my first all grain batch was a 5 hop IPA. Followed up with a Honey Cream Ale and then after Lynn tried Brian Lesperance’s Strawberry Blonde at Pinecrest I made a Strawberry Wheat. Next I did a Raspberry Chocolate Milk Stout and then a SMaSH Pale Ale. Ending with a standard Hard Cider. That should be 12 batches for a year.
Besides homebrewing, I enjoy canning. I can salsa, pickles, sauerkraut, dilly beans and pickle relish. I also make kimchi and hot sauce from scratch. Homebrewing and canning have a lot of similarities like sanitary practices, boiling, patience and following a recipe and instructions.
For my life away from homebrewing … well married, father of two, step-father of two, we have three cats and a bearded dragon. Originally from Iowa and been a Wisconsinite for about 16 years. Professionally I’m a CAD/CAM/Engineer and all around computer geek for almost 20 years. We enjoy traveling. And we enjoy it so much that Lynn and I took the kids, our parents, our oldest daughter’s boyfriend and got married in Jamaica. We’ve also been to the Dominican Republic and Rivera Maya. It’s just too bad we can’t travel and brew beer all the time!