Imagination on Tap
By Buckley Watson as Told to Logan Miller
I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and now I live in Warsaw. I work at Kosciusko Community Hospital. I went to culinary school at Ivy Tech, and now I’m a cook supervisor at the hospital. I’ve been kind of “cheffy” since I was I kid.
I’ve been homebrewing about five or six years. I always wanted to do it, and my wife Laura’s mom got me a kit for Christmas one year and I just started in. My very first beer was a straight-up Kolsch kit, and it turned out really good.
My favorite beer to make is Spudweiser—that’s a potato British bitters—because I like that style, like a pub British bitters. But my favorite beer I’ve ever made is probably I Yam What I Yam With Benefits, which is a sweet potato porter with bourbon and oak chips.
I make pretty unconventional beers. I did Beet Ya Wheat—it was a 13.5% wheat wine. I made a beer called Vita Vega Vegamin: I took a 5-gallon bucket into my garden at the end of the season, and I just put everything into it. It had eggplant, onions, green tomatoes and turnips, and I basically made a fairly light style beer off of vegetable broth. It turned out really nice.
Another one of my weirdest ones was Baba’s Revenge. My mother is Ukrainian, and Baba is “grandma” in Ukrainian. It was a Ukrainian imperial fruitcake stout. It had beets in it, it had prune juice and it also had fruitcake fruit. It was the first and only time that I ever blew the top off of my fermenter. I had a two-foot flume of foam and fruitcake fruit. It was beautiful.
More of Buckley’s Unusual Brews:
Smokin’ Hot Yams: Smoked sweet potato porter
Tabouli Kolsch: Bulgar wheat, cucumbers, mint, parsley and tomatoes
Ogres that like Onions: Scottish ale with caramelized Vidalia onions
Peaches and Herb: Peach cider with thyme, parsley and mint
Hophead, Come Share My Herb: Arugula-infused turnip beer