Brewer Profile: The Cracking Cask Brewery

On March 14, 2017 by KC Nanobrews
Your name(s): Tim Ryan
Your brewery’s name:
Cracking Cask
Location: Olathe
Number of years participating in the Festival?
This will be my 3rd year
When did you start brewing? What got you brewing? How frequently do you brew?
11/11/11.  As a fan of craft beer that also enjoyed cooking (or, more accurately, eating good food), it was a natural progression for me.  I recently brewed batch 108. My pace has slowed, but I still brew 1-2 times per month.  A bit more as needed for fest season.
Describe your brew system. 
I use a beverage cooler as a mash tun and a 10 gallon kettle. I use a pump for wort transfers and a plate chiller (or two in series in the summer) for chilling. I’ve always batch sparged, but have recently started experimenting with no sparge–and so far I’m a fan. I hate bottling. I really hate bottling. So everything goes into a keg. have a 6 tap keezer with two distributors, so I can serve at two different pressures or with CO2 and nitro in tandem.
How did you come up with your brewery’s name?
The styles that drew my interest in craft beer were English and Irish.  I enjoy them even more today after several trips to the UK and Ireland.  My brewery name pays homage to that.  In England “cracking” is slang for something that’s really great.  A cask, of course, is the traditional package for beer in England.  I also thought the double meaning was cool.

What is your favorite style of beer to brew?
I tend to brew with the seasons, but I almost always have a bitter and an American IPA in my keezer.
What was your first beer you ever brewed? Did it turn out?
My first batch was an extract kit from Northern Brewer:  The Innkeeper.  I had an experienced friend help on brew day.  I thought it turned out quite good.  I am curious what I would think of that beer if I were to try it fresh today.

Do you have a homebrew disaster you’d like to share? 
My disaster involved unpasteurized cider.  Thanks to bad decisions involving campden tablets and beer yeast, I ended up with something so vile I’m a bit skidish about using unpasteurized cider–although I’m sure I know where it went wrong.

Do you have a favorite homebrew trick or gadget that helps make brewing better/easier?
I’m a strong believer in brewing water as the often overlooked ingredient that can turn a good brewer into an excellent, more consistent brewer.  Check out Bru’n Water and get a good pH meter.

Anything unique participants at the festival can expect if they come by your booth?
I’m not sure what beers I’m bringing, but I recently acquired a cute little pin (a 5.4 gallon cask).  I’ll definitely do something with that.  

Have you won any awards/competitions?
What is the best prize you won?
Refer to my prior statement about how I hate bottling.  I rarely enter competitions.  The last time I did, I won bronze for an American Wheat.  In 2016 I won 3rd place (missed 2nd by one vote!) in the High Plains Brewhoff people’s choice vote with my Margarita Radler–which I will likely bring to Nanobrew.
Your brewery’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)


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