Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson
Brian OíRourke is a priest in the Episcopal
Diocese of Los Angeles. He has served at Southern California several
churches since he became a priest in 2011, and now assists at Saint
Jamesí in South Pasadena. Brian brews his own beer.
is Brian brewing with his brother. Brian is the one with the halo.
Brian was born in a small town in Germany,
where his love of beer began in the womb. He soon moved back to the
States, with his family, and grew up in Carmel Valley, California.
When he was a boy, his grandfather had a small winery named Domaine
de Clarke. Brianís first job, at age 11, was a Cellar Rat in his
grandfatherís winery. By the age of 13 he had been promoted to
become a Hose Dragger.
Working with his grandfather has been the
greatest work experience of Brianís life.
Brian left home to attend Menlo College in
Atherton, where he earned a Bachelorís degree in business
administration. After college Brian moved to San Francisco, where he
had a successful sales career. He also met and married Jenny, the
love of his life.
Brian and Jenny moved to Los Angeles in
2004. While participating in a small group and preparing for Jennyís
baptism, Brian felt called to become a priest. After attending
seminary in Virginia, Brian was ordained as a priest. After the
birth of their daughter, Maggie, Brian and his family returned to
Brian recognizes that growing up in a winery
skewed his appreciate for what he now understands to be the greatest
drink ever-- beer. His early affection for beer, through college and
in his early 20s, was focused on Sierra Nevadaís Pale Ale.
Brianís true love of beer exploded when he
met Jenny. On their third date, they went on a picnic to a park that
did not allow food, so they ate lunch in their car in the parking
lot. Jenny had secretly packed a bottle of Chimay Red with lunch. At
that moment, Brianís life changed forever. His love of beer found
new levels of depth and intensity.
Brian combined his childhood experience in
the winery and his new love for beer, and soon began brewing his
own. He describes the first beer he brewed as an amazing pale ale.
The brewing experience Brian enjoys most is
brewing with family and friends. In seminary, he brewed with a close
friend who is now a fellow priest. He is currently teaching his
brother to brew. Brian believes the bond you build while brewing can
never be broken.
Brian enjoys brewing new things. He is
currently a hop head, but brewing different types of beer keeps him
level-headed and trying new things. His current favorite beer to
drink is Green Flashís Palate Wrecker, an Imperial Pale Ale which
uses six pounds of hops per barrel. It has a huge malty flavor that
adds balance to the overall taste experience. Brian is currently in
the process of trying to brew something similar.
Brian has several favorite California craft
breweries, and beers, including Green Flash (Palate Wrecker), Stone
(Levitation), Ladyface (Chesebro), and Ballast Point (Sculpin).
In the last six months Brian has brewed a
Stout, a Nut Brown, and a Dunkel.
Brian sees his own personal brewing
production growing substantially over the next few years.
As Brian brews he listens to a variety of
music, from hip-hop to classical. If he were forced to choose
something to listen to right now with a great beer it would be
Weezer's "Pinkerton" album.
Brianís food/beer pairing selection would be
something he has grilled at home. He has mastered barbecued chicken,
pork chops, pork loin, stake, flank stake, and salmon. He always
include some grilled carrots, broccoli, squash, tomatoes, corn, or
asparagus. Coincidentally, these all go really well with strong,
Brian does not see a significant connection
between brewing beer and being a priest, even with the long monastic
tradition of brewing beer. He understands that the first monks who
brewed beer did it not only to satisfy their own thirst, but also to
raise revenue to pay for their contemplative way of life. Brian
thinks it would be a wonderful experiment if more churches in
financial distress were able to take advantage of a similar model
Brewing beer has taught Brian many lessons.
The most significant lesson changing water into beer has shown him
is quite simple: If you can dream it, then it is possible. Brewing
beer is a dream come true for Brian. It reminds him never to give