Andrew and Tabitha Walls and friend Ryan Scott spend their weekends brewing batches of unique beers in hopes of eventually turning a hobby into a business. The trio started brewing and is now focused on honing their craft to move up in the rankings of Delaware State Fair’s Battle of the Brews. In the long term, they’re looking to give Kent County something unique: A brewpub where diners can walk in, sit down, and order dinner and a beer that’s been brewed right in the back room.
The trio talked to us about how they got started and offer advice to other brewing novices.
Q How did you get into home brewing?
Andrew: My grandfather in Maryland always grew wheat, so I wanted to do a wheat beer in his honor. So what can we add to wheat to make a cool beer? So we added honey to it, Blue Clover Honey from Minnesota, and it’s by far my favorite beer. That’s what kind of got me into it, that and I was always a mixed drink kind of person. I was old school, I liked Tom Collins and whiskey sours, and then one day we were sitting around and I wanted to try a different beer. So I had Dogfish Head My Antonia, and that was my first beer that I ever had that made me think beer is good.
Tabitha: I think what it was for me that really got me hooked was just the difference in taste. Between the main beer companies; they all kind of taste the same. But craft beers, these people put their hearts and souls into these beers.
Q Why did you decide you wanted to brew together as a couple
Tabitha: It started out as Andy and he had a friend over, but as you can see it’s right in the house. So I started a little bit at a time as I realized how fun it is. It kind of reminded me of having a science kit.
Q You started out with a kit. Do you still use one?
Andrew: Yes. We’re getting to the point where we can experiment, and add our own twist to things.
Q What’s your advice to new home brewers?
Andrew: The best thing you can do is tour the local brewing companies. They will tell you so much stuff that is so helpful. Fordham and 16 Mile were great. Brett, one of the owners, is the main guy we talked to at 16 Mile. He gave us the lowdown. There’s so much work involved with it, and he started out like us, he was a home brewer.
Page 2 of 2 - For people just starting, I can’t say it enough: Sanitation, sanitation, sanitation.
Ryan: Like he said, sanitation is the biggest thing. That, and having patience is hard. The time from brewing to when you can taste it is the hardest part of all.
Q What is your goal a few years down the line?
Andrew: I don’t want to do anything big. Fordham is great, they sell a lot of beer, same with 16 Mile, but I think the thing that I want to do is have a brew pub. That’s something we don’t have around here. I’m not in this to make millions of dollars, but it’s something I really enjoy and I think it would be great to have a job you go to every day that doesn’t feel like a job. So for the next year, the next couple years, we’re going to perfect what we’re doing.
Q What’s your short-term goal?
Andrew: Last year we entered a contest, Battle of the Brews at the Delaware State Fair, and we had been brewing for like, six months, and we entered our stuff and we did good. We didn’t win anything but we didn’t get last place, but we were in the middle. Most of the guys had been brewing for five, 10, 15 years, and we were in there with him. I would like to place this year or maybe next year, and after that I don’t know. Hopefully get some money together and see what happens.