Brewer Profile: Westwood Brewhouse

On March 8, 2017 by KC Nanobrews
Your name(s): Mike French
Your brewery’s name: Westwood Brewhouse
Location: Westwood, KS
Number of years participating in the Festival? First Year
When did you start brewing? What got you brewing? How frequently do you brew?
I started brewing in 2000. I was a freshman in college and was not old enough to buy beer, so I learned how to make it I learned how to brew from my uncle who started as a homebrewer in the 90’s. I try to brew once a month.
Describe your brew system. 
1/2 barrel all grain system. 20 gallon brew kettle, picnic cooler for a mash tun. 2 1/2 Speidel Fermenters. 4 tap keezer that I use for serving, conditioning and fermenting depending on the style. 

How did you come up with your brewery’s name?

Most breweries are named after their founder or their location. We chose the latter and decided to brand our brewery in a way that would allow us to scale without having to change its name. Historically, every neighborhood/village had a brewery. We would like to be that for Westwood. The name allows us to connect with the neighborhood.
What is your favorite style of beer to brew?
We like to drink IPA’s, so we make IPA’s. Recently though, we’ve been focusing on brewing using Belgian Yeasts so we been brewing a lot of Tripels, Abbey ales, Saisons and Belgian IPAs.
What was your first beer you ever brewed? Did it turn out? My first beer was a pale ale. I thought it turned out great. Of course, when you’re in college, you think a lot of things are great. At the time, if a beer was drinkable it was a success. Now we are focused much more on brewing high quality beers consistently.
Do you have a homebrew disaster you’d like to share? We brewed a Tripel and had put it in a barrel to age. The next morning, I heard a loud crash in the house. I had no idea what it could have been and was certain it had not originated in the basement. Just to be sure, I went to investigate and found that the container/tub I had cradled the barrel on to catch any overflow or blow off had collapsed underneath the weight of the barrel. The airlock had dislodge from the bung hole and beer was spilling out onto the basement floor .I recovered it, drew myself a beer and said a small prayer to the beer gods. Had I not been home when this happened, I would have lost the whole barrel. Fortunately, we only lost about a gallon of beer.
Do you have a favorite homebrew trick or gadget that helps make brewing better/easier?
Having a high capacity keezer gives us a ton of room to ferment, condition and serve. Highly recommended. 
Do you have any plans to go pro?
Yes. Westwood, KS. Date: TBA
Anything else you’d like to share?
We are very excited to be involved with Nanobrew Fest and we are looking forward to getting some good feedback on our beers. Thanks for having us!

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