Brew That Brew That You Do: Benoit Casper Vienna Lager
BEER: Vienna Lager (5.25% ABV // 24 IBU)
BREWERY: Benoit Casper Brewing Company (Richmond)
HEAD BREWER: Tim Clair
IS IT TRUE THAT BENOIT-CASPER WAS THE FIRST BREWERY IN RICHMOND?
Yes we are the first Richmond brewery and we are located in the Iron Triangle neighborhood of Richmond. Our space is a warehouse where we first had a little bit of space and as we grew we eventually took over the whole space. We brew on a 3.5 BBL system and fill fifteen bbl tanks which take two batches a day and two days of brewing to fill.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH THE BREWERY?
I used to be in construction as a special inspector and I would check if the sub-contractors were following the specifications that the engineers had written for soils and concrete. I met one of the owners doing an inspection on his site and he invited me to the brewery to help out on some brew days. I always brought homebrew with me and most of the time they liked it. They were looking for a part-time brewer and offered me the job. For a while I was working both jobs as my wife was going to school for engineering and when she finished school I was able to be full-time at the brewery.
DID YOU HAVE ANY FORMAL TRAINING?
I didn’t have any formal training as a brewer besides homebrewing, books, and a podcast called The Brewing Network. As a homebrewer, once I started kegging my beer is when it made the biggest difference. Sometimes batches wouldn’t come out that well and I have dumped plenty of homebrew down the drain, but you learn from your mistakes.
WHAT'S THE BEER YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
That would have to be the Vienna Lager. We try to brew it three to four times per year as we rotate lagers in the brewery because of how long they take to lager. We took gold for it at the California State Fair in 2017. It was a beer that I made for my wedding because my dad is a big Negra Modelo drinker.
IT SEEMS LIKE YOU GET TO EXPERIMENT A LOT HERE
I do. We have a pilot system which will produce around twenty gallons. We do a lot of traditional Belgian and German, and we also do hoppy beers. We will experiment with other things like putting coffee in our stout that we source from a local Richmond roaster, Catahoula. We like to work with the local community as much as we can.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Benoit Casper Brewing
1201 Pennsylvania Ave., Richmond