Brewer Profile: Helpful Boxer Brewing

On March 16, 2017 by KC Nanobrews
Your name(s): Bart and Jenny Campbell
Your brewery’s name: Helpful Boxer Brewing
Location: Kansas City, KS

Number of years participating in the Festival?
This is our first year!
When did you start brewing? What got you brewing? How frequently do you brew?  We started brewing in early 2013. Bart brewed occasionally with a buddy on his system prior to us starting and loved it. Jenny encouraged Bart to buy the kit from Midwest Supplies and give it a go once she saw his passion for it. It’s now a favorite hobby of ours to brew together. On average we brew about 1.75 times/month (yes, we did the math!)
Describe your brew system. 
We initially started with extract kits. In September 2015 we switched to all grain and haven’t looked back since! Our system is a pretty “traditional” homebrew setup: Igloo cool mash tun, 15 gallon boil kettle and 2 tier propane burner setup. We also switched from bottling to kegging when we switched to all grain and have a kegerator as well. We can ferment up to 25 gallons at a time and recently added a couple of barrels to our collection.
How did you come up with your brewery’s name? We have 3 dogs who are our babies, one of which is a Boxer, Hugo. If you know anything about Boxers, you know they always want to help with any and everything that you’re doing. Hugo is no exception and brewing is one of his absolute favorite things to “help” with. The name just seemed to fit!
What is your favorite style of beer to brew?Bart’s favorite to brew are Milds, and Jenny’s favorite to brew are Saisons. We do love brewing a wide variety of styles though, and recently started trying our hand with lagers. We both love a good, easy drinking lager!
What was your first beer you ever brewed? Did it turn out?
Our first beer we brewed was an Amber Ale from an extract kit. It turned out pretty good actually, we were happy with it at the time. It would be interesting to try a bottle of it now and see if we’ve improved any over the years!

Do you have a homebrew disaster you’d like to share? 
Not so much a disaster but we did have one, a Scottish Ale, that didn’t turn out. We were still bottling at the time and planned to dump the batch but never got around to it. It sat in a closet for about a year. Once we finally got around to cleaning out that closet we decided to throw one in the fridge to try again just for the hell of it. To our surprise, it actually wasn’t bad! Throughout the rest of the batch we discovered that about half were terrible and about half were drinkable. It was a crap shoot on which you’d get. We did also have a Golden Ale over the summer that got infected. It’s actually turned into a really good sour that we’re about to blend with our intentionally brewed sour, so that turned out in our favor.

Do you have any homebrew related projects that you’d like to share? 
We scored a 2 tap kegerator from Craigslist for a steal. We brought it home, cleaned it out, sanded it, primed it, and painted it with chalkboard paint. We stained strips of oak and framed the doors with those. We glued glass mosaic tiles on half of the freezer door and replaced the pull handles with stainless steel cabinet handles. It looks pretty classy! And who doesn’t love having a kegerator right next to you when you’re brewing?
Do you have a favorite homebrew trick or gadget that helps make brewing better/easier? We made a hop spider from a garbage disposal colalr and some bolts, and used a hose clamp to attach a muslin hop bag to the collar. It works great and was super easy, quick and cheap to make. 
Have you won any awards/competitions? What is the best prize you won?
We haven’t entered any contests yet to win any awards, but our moms really like our beer! 
Do you have any plans to go pro? When? Where?
Hopefully, as that’s our ultimate dream! We’d love to be the first local brewery in KCK.
Your brewery’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
Twitter: @Helpful_Boxer 
Anything else you’d like to share?
We’re really excited to be participating in the festival this year and sharing our beers! We’re hoping to do many more of these in the years to come. Cheers!

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