Stout, Ale, Lager, Pilsner …

… these are all types of beer. And they’re all handcrafted in the Buchanan Brewery by Brewmaster Len—henceforth referred to as Himself.

Brewmaster Len

All beer can be classified as either lager or ale—the difference begins during the brewing process. Whether the beer is an ale or lager is determined by the type of yeast used in the brew and the temperature at which fermentation takes place.

Ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeast that allows for rapid fermentation at warmer temperatures. Lagers are brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast that ferments more slowly and at colder temperatures.

Himself has deemed “brew day” his favorite day. The smell of sweet wort bubbling away stirs something primordial in his brain.

Herself has deemed “brew day” her least favorite day as the smell of sweet wort bubbling away makes her sick—it stinks to high heaven! Hence this part of the process takes place in the garage portion of the brewery.

Made in 5-gallon batches, the last batch was American pale ale and the current batch is Scottish ale. Himself has declared that the next bath will be an English brown ale.

The art of making beer

Beer making is a delicate process

Once he gets to the cool and ferment processes, Himself turns into a doting parent, frequently checking on his “baby”—precious brew—to make certain that the bubbles in the airlock on the fermenter are indeed bubbling at the recommended rate.

In due time (typically 3 weeks during which the primary and secondary fermentations have taken place), if the brew has behaved itself, it’s time to move to the priming and bottling stage.

Stand back everyone, every single thing has been sterilized to within an inch of its life! If you come too close, Himself is liable to lunge at you, wild-eyed, with a large siphon, and perhaps even shout words that could singe your hair!

Upon completion, Himself has to wait—sampling periodically, mind you. The blessed day finally arrives and Himself gets to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Cheers!


Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.