Franconia Founder Dennis Wehrman on the Keys to Making Beer: "Have Fun"
For this new weekly series, we'll delve deep inside the minds of North Texas' craft brewers to talk shop, find out what's hiding in the back of the fridge and maybe even dig up a few skeletons in their beer closet. Who's thirsty?
Dennis Wehrman of Franconia Brewing
Franconia Brewery founder Dennis Wehrman's brewing roots go way back: His great-great grandfather, Schaubert, began brewing in Germany in 1800. His mother had a degree as a brewery lab technician and he got his first official job at a brewery when he was just 12. After graduating with his master's degree from Doemens Brewmaster School in Munich, Wehrman brought his brewing magic to a Dallas brewpub, before opening his own brewery in 2008. This week they celebrated their sixth anniversary. And, as demonstrated above, Wehrman deservedly soaked in the moment.
What's the greatest misconception about being a brewery owner?
That we drink beer all the time.
In 2010, there were just two local craft breweries. Now there are more than two dozen. What do you think about the explosive growth of craft brewing locally?
I think it is great to see the market turning and getting some different beers. Coming from the biggest beer region in the world, Franconia [northern Bavaria], it's nice to see this trend here. We just have to be careful not to over-exhilarate it in too short a period of time.
What's in your beer fridge right now?
Ever had a colossal brewing mistake? Like a situation where you wanted to laugh and cry all at once?
We have them on a daily basis, but in a good way. That's what makes a craft beer a craft beer. If we mill in and the brewer forgets to close the crist case, for example, that means a big mess and buckets full of crist needs to be shoveled out. You look like a flower man afterwards.
Do you have any advice for budding brewers?
1. Have fun.
2. Have fun.
3. Have fun.
Have you found any invaluable brewing resources, books, forums or websites that are solid guides or tools?
I think the best sources are our customers. The personal contact with them cannot be replaced with any forums or books etc.
Brewing specific, I think ProBrewer.com is a great platform. For me, I mostly go back to my books from the university and my mentor back in Germany.
What's the hardest part of your job, and, at the other end of the spectrum, the best part?
There is not a really hard part for me. I have fun every day and I appreciate the challenges as they come up
Are there any styles, ingredients, trends or brewing processes that you're really excited about right now?
We brew strict to the German puritan law and use only water, hops, malt and yeast in our process and we are proud of that. We do appreciate new and old techniques, like barrel aging and such, but we do believe in the pureness of beer, the way it was meant to be.
What's the best beer you've ever had?
The first beer of every day.
What's the most ridiculous or far-fetched thing you've ever done to get beer? Like traveled somewhere just to taste this or that?
Unfortunately I do not have a specific example or story, but I will say before you travel and spend a lot of money on beer, do your research and make sure you find a local brewery. Fresh and local is always better than far away, and it's worth spending money to find it.