Brewing beer: A look into the process with Havoc head brewer Andy Smith

By Gene Galin

Pittsboro, NC – Beer is a beloved beverage around the world, with a rich history and a wide variety of flavors to choose from. But have you ever wondered how this drink is made? I sat down with head brewer Andy Smith at the Havoc Brewery to learn about the brewing process, including the importance of yeast and how different strains can produce varying flavors.

“The brew house turns grain and hops into drinkable beer,” explains Smith. It all starts with the grain, which is put through a mill to break it down. The grain is then mixed with hot water, creating a sweet liquid that will eventually become beer. This liquid is boiled with hops, which add bitterness and flavor to the beer.

But it’s the yeast that really makes the magic happen. “Yeast converts the sweet liquid into alcohol and carbon dioxide,” says Smith. The yeast is harvested and stored for the next batch, as it can be reused for up to 40 generations, saving breweries money.

The brewing process itself can take anywhere from five days to five weeks, depending on the type of beer being made. “This English brown ale is caramely and toasty, ready in about five days,” says Smith. “A stout takes longer, up to five weeks, due to the type of yeast used.” Different yeast strains produce different flavors depending on the temperature, which is why it’s important to carefully monitor the fermentation process.

The Havoc Brewery will offer six different beers on tap, including a double IPA and a cream ale. “Market analysis was done to determine the six types of beer to be offered, including an English Brown and a stout,” says Smith. Havoc has five fermenters, including one double-sized for larger batches. This flexibility allows them to experiment and create new beers, as well as adjust their selection based on customer demand.

One thing that sets Havoc apart is their focus on custom brewing. “We have hands-on involvement in every batch,” says Smith. “Every batch is unique and changes week by week.” This allows them to create new flavors and experiment with different ingredients, keeping their customers coming back for more.

But brewing beer is not an easy task. “It’s hard work, but it’s also very rewarding,” says Smith. Over 400 kegs of different sizes will be available for purchase and return, and kegerators are popular among beer enthusiasts. Keeping them clean is important to maintain the quality of the beer.

The brewing process may seem complex, but it’s this attention to detail that creates the rich and varied flavors of beer. Whether you’re a fan of hoppy IPAs or rich stouts, understanding the brewing process can deepen your appreciation for this beloved beverage.