Brewer Profile: KC Hop Talk

On March 11, 2017 by KC Nanobrews
Your name(s): James W. Bradley
Your brewery’s name: KC Hop Talk
Location: Kansas City
Number of years participating in the Festival?
2017 will be the 2nd year pour beers. However, I’ve attended most of the festivals.
When did you start brewing? What got you brewing? How frequently do you brew? I always had an interest in learning to brew beer, and in January of 2013, signed up to take a “Learn to Brew” session from Jennifer Heiber. At that time Grain to Glass was operating in a small section of the Market 3 Deli in the River Market. After the class was over, I purchased the beginners kit and an extract kit. Now, I typically brew 5 to 10 gallon all-grain batches, about twice a month depending on the weather.
Describe your brew system. 
I started with a beginners kit and a 5 gallon pot brewing partial mash beers on the kitchen stove. From there I have stepped up the system a few times with the purchase of bigger kettles, a 10 gallon mash tun, kegs, carboys, etc. There always seems to be a new tool, gadget, need or want to purchase when your making your own beer.
How did you come up with your brewery’s name?
When I first created KC Hop Talk, I was completely focused on creating a social media presence focused on delivering the most up-to-date beer news in the Kansas City Area. The idea of brewing my own beer came along as a secondary idea, not because I wasn’t interested, but more as necessity to understand more about how beers are made. This understanding of the whole brewing process turns out to be a great asset in the day-to-day operations of operating a content curration site focused on beer. Plus it is a lot of fun making your own beer.

What is your favorite style of beer to brew?
I like anything made with water, grains, hops, and yeast. I really like brewing beers that I haven’t brewed before. 
What was your first beer you ever brewed? Did it turn out? 
It was a Robust Porter Extract Kit from Grain to Glass. It was actually better than I expected.

Do you have a homebrew disaster you’d like to share? 
Some close calls, but nothing major. I will says this, ‘try to drink session beers or limit your intake on brew day.’  
Do you have any homebrew related projects that you’d like to share?
Been working on using a Raspberry Pi and Arduino Uno Projects board to monitor / control fermentation temps. This has really made a big difference for me during the winter months when the basement temps drop below 65 degrees.Do you have a favorite homebrew trick or gadget that helps make brewing better/easier?
I rely heavily on software to help make sure the beers that I am brewing meet the style guidelines. Plus it always helps to measure your gravity during the brewing process to make sure the efficiency matches the beer your are brewing.

Anything unique participants at the festival can expect if they come by your booth?
I recently purchased a used whiskey barrel from Restless Spirits, which will add some unique characteristics to beer served at the festival this year. I plan on serving a barrel aged Kentucky Common this year.  In addition to barrel aged beers, this years participants will get to try some refreshing summer session beers. 
Have you won any awards/competitions?
What is the best prize you won?
I’ve only entered my beers into a few competitions; however, I did received a 3rd place metal in last years Masher’s Competition for my Kentucky Common. More recently, I received a second on my Dry Irish Stout beer.    

Do you have any plans to go pro?

No plans at this time. I really enjoy brewing beers and serving them at the festival. It is very exciting to get an instant feedback directly from other beer lovers.
Your brewery’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
Check out KCHOPTALK on all social media outlets

Anything else you’d like to share?

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