Shaul (Steve) Faulkner is the Long Beach Homebrew Club’s “Home Brewer of the Year” for 2017, winning the most in-club competitions against other members last year. He has now been home brewing for five years and has been a member of the LBHBC for nearly four years.
He wasn’t much of a beer drinker before he started home brewing, not much liking the flavor of big commercial beers. When a friend invited him to join in for a brew day, they decided to brew an Amber, which was one style that Steve knew he did enjoy. The beer turned out great and Steve realized that he really enjoyed brewing!
“I remember the exact moment I realized that I could really get into brewing and enjoying beer,” Steve told me. “It was the first bittering hop addition in that first batch. It was the change from the sweet, malty aroma to the hopped wort. Just smelling the change in the aroma flipped a switch in my brain and I realized ‘I can make beer that I like to drink.’ After that I was excited about brewing and started reading and watching videos, just trying to learn as much as I could to make great beer.”
Steve’s favorite and most successful batches have been his own original recipes. For his first original recipe he decided to do a little experimenting. On his 38th birthday he went to a home brew shop and tasted all of the grains and picked out his four favorite, which turned the recipe into a porter, and it tasted great! This recipe is now called the 38 Special Porter. It was the first beer that he entered into a home brew competition, which was the “Pints and Knights” competition hosted by the Knights of Columbus, and it won 1st place. He has now entered more competitions that he can keep track of and most recently won 1st place each for his Biere de Garde and for his Flanders Red at the 30th Annual Southern California Regional Homebrew Championship last year.
“The reason I am so proud of these beers is that it affirmed the confidence I had as a craft beer brewer,” Steve said about entering his original recipes into competitions. “The idea that drives me in brewing is that I now have a good palette and that if I like the way my beers taste there will be others that like it as well. Entering beers into competition is the best way to get that sort of confirmation.”
The Long Beach Home Brew Club meets at Stein Fillers on the second Tuesday of every month. For more information about the club meetings and events, check out their website (www.longbeachhomebrewers.com) and follow their Instagram (@longbeachhomebrewers).