Tyler Buehler is the owner and head brewer at Endless Pint Brewing in Versailles in western Ohio. The brewery, which opened last year, says it's available "for your endless journey."
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: So for a while, I thought I didn't like beer. I had only ever had macro. In college, I had Warsteiner Premium Dunkel and that was eye-opening. I realized beer could be at least OK (to my palate at the time). So, being how I am, I decided to go out and try some other beers.
First one I tried was Arrogant Bastard (bought purely because of the name). When I took my first sip of that, it was like the heavens opened up and light shown down. I knew that I loved beer at that point. Fast forward about a year and a teaching assistant in my biochem lab had a part-time job at Listermann (the homebrew shop, before the brewery opened). He had mentioned something and that piqued my interest. I started looking into it and it seemed like it could be fun.
Once I looked into it, it seemed like something I was going to enjoy, so I started looking for information anywhere I could. Looking on the internet, looking for books, etc. I spent hours upon hours listening to shows from The Brewing Network. I hate saying this because I feel like I'm pretending to be the old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn, but the late aughts was a very different time as far as what information was available. After spending way too long prepping, I brewed my first batch. It was horrible. I dumped the whole thing. But at that point, the bug had already bitten. Brewing became an obsession. I started working on getting better at it, learning my ingredients, understanding the processes, etc.
As I learned more and was able to make better and better beer, brewing became a perfect blend of art and science. The art is the final beer in the glass. What it looks like, what it tastes like, how the flavors play off of each other. A fruited beer that makes you think it's sweet when it's not. A bitter beer that doesn't seem bitter because of residual sweetness. There's an art to coming up with the profile of any food product. The science comes in with determining the best process for getting that into the glass.
When I'm designing a beer recipe, I start with an image of what I want in the glass. Then I basically reverse engineer it. What ingredients do I use to contribute different flavors? How do the different flavors play off of each other? How does the alcohol level affect things? What water chemistry profile would help with the final flavor profile? All of that, to me is a perfect blend of art and science. It's a lot to keep in mind, but to me, that is what makes it so fun and rewarding. And at the end of it all, you get beer!
Q: What's the story behind the name Endless Pint?
A: So there are several reasons we decided on the name that sound super romantic. We always enjoyed how craft breweries are, in a modern way, bringing old school pub culture back to the United States. They are a gathering point and a part of the community. So Endless Pint can tie into so many other "Endless" things: community, family, friends, (journey through) life, support, etc.
But where did the name originally come from? It's not a great story. A friend (shout out to Kyle) suggested it when I complained to him that all the names on our list were already used. It's hard to name a brewery. At the end of 2018, there was over 7,000 breweries in the U.S. All the names we came up with were already in use, or close enough to something in use that we didn't want to use it. When we heard "Endless Pint," our first response was, "That has to already be taken." When we looked, it wasn't. You have that reaction to a name, and it's not taken; you use it. There are plenty of breweries that have great stories behind their name. We could spin some of the reasons we went with the name as the origin, but I wouldn't feel comfortable with that.
Q: What are your favorite and least favorite craft beer trends now?
A: Sorry, this is going to be a little long, but I would say the one that bothers me the most right now is a lot of the culture around New England IPAs. I want to make clear that I did not answer New England IPAs themselves, but a lot of the culture around them. Well, the most vocal part of it at least. First, they are overtaking tap lists almost everywhere. After that, the consumer culture around them often seems so excessive. It has a huge Instagram culture. People get so worked up (on both sides) about the style. I've seen more people getting more worked up about defending bad New England IPAs from their favorite, usually local, brewery, than I have ever seen before. Not that all are bad, but there are a lot that are.
There is a lot of information about the style that just came out or is just coming out. I've never brewed one but the science behind them is fascinating. Especially since so much of it has literally come out in the last year, and there's still a lot more to figure out. I will say one thing about New England IPAs that I refuse to budge on. While yeast choice matters, the haze is not yeast in suspension! Any of the actual research done on the style supports this.
As a side note, if there are any brewers out there interested in the science behind the style, I'd recommend reading the article "Hidden Secrets of the New England IPA" in the Master Brewers Association of the Americas Technical Quarterly for the 4th quarter of 2018. There's a lot of new data in that article about the style.
Favorite? I'm going to cheat and combine a few by saying that, while IPA is grabbing a larger and larger share of the market, there are trends I wouldn't have expected becoming popular. I'd say the three trends I'm most happy about would be session beers, sour beers, and alternative fermentation beers (novel yeast species, blends containing new/different yeast and bacteria, etc). I like drinking beer. Session beers allow me to do that for a longer period of time. I also love sour beers. So I'm glad to be seeing those more and more.
Q: What's your best-selling beer and why do you think it's so popular?
A: Being in the middle of what is thought of as Busch Light country, you'd think it would be our blonde ale, but it's not. Our blonde is very popular, but it keeps swapping places with our pale ale for the second and third spot. Our best-seller is our ESB, Extra Sexy Beer. It's our best-seller for a few reasons, that follow one after the other. For the same reason one would assume that our blonde would be our best-seller by far, is the same reason we can get people to try styles that traditionally do not sell that well. The name is actually a reference to that. I would comment how the lack of an established craft beer culture lets us sell those older styles that normally don't sell well "because they aren't new, don't have any hype, aren't sexy." One time when we were discussing what to brew next, an ESB came up. Justin, another owner, added that it would sell well because it is an "extra sexy beer." How do you say no to a name like that? So the name gets people to try it; it's a very approachable and drinkable style; it's a different type of beer than what they're used to, but something they like; then they keep drinking it.
We're very lucky where we are. Yes, people have been drinking macro for years. For many of them, we are their first foray in to craft beer. Most of our customers are willing to try about anything once though.
Q: Which beer — any beer in the world — do you wish that you created/brewed and why?
A: I'd say Russian River Pliny the Elder. I know California Common is commonly credited with being the first American beer style, but it was a product of necessity and chance. Double IPAs were really the first distinctly American style developed by choice. I realize Vinnie Cilurzo brewed a DIPA at Blind Pig called Inaugural Ale, but that one was aged on oak. Pliny the Elder at Russian River was the first DIPA as we think of them now. It's made such a lasting impression on the beer world.
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