The Devil’s Brew


It’s like a pesky fly that just won’t stop buzzing around your head. Or a mosquito that insists on playing it’s tune in your ear. Or, as the old saying goes, “like a bad penny that just keeps turning up.” I’m talking about those nagging thoughts that you push out of your head that always seem to find a way of returning. Just when you think you’ve escaped them, they start whispering in your ear again, kind of like the angel on your right shoulder, the devil on your left. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Lucky you. Le me explain.


Since the weather wasn’t cooperating with our plans for Saturday (visiting our daughter’s clothing truck in Northern Indiana), we decided to go to Cincinnati to shop for a piece of furniture. I was all in for several reason: 1. I actually like shopping for furniture. Weird, right? 2. One of my favorite craft breweries at the moment is located there: Rhinegeist. 3. And, in case you didn’t know, Cincinnati hosts the 2nd largest Octoberfest celebration in the world, with only Germany putting on a bigger shindig! Who would have thought?

We never got to Octoberfest, but we did visit Rhinegeist. It was loud, busy and fantastic. People, live music, great beer…if I lived there, this would be my place. Just so happens they have one of my favorite Octoberfest beers, as well as a very solid IPA and dangerous Double IPA so I didn’t feel like I was missing out by not making Octoberfest.img_4025 img_4028

Before we stopped at Rhinegeist, we walked up the street to Findlay Market looking for some food. If you’ve never been, it is pretty interesting. It is basically one big indoor/outdoor market filled with food vendors, both prepared and the kind you take home to cook: seafood, meats, bakeries, tacos, pizza…oh, and a coffee roaster. Yeah, my Kryptonite.

This is Daniel of Urbana Coffee. He is doing some things with this business that got my attention. If you are in the area, you should check it out.

Coffee roasting is one of those things that I just can’t seem to shake. I’ve been doing it for pleasure, profit…or loss, for about 14 years now. I’ve owned 3 commercial roasters and played on a few others. As much as I try to tell myself that coffee roasting is a losing proposition, especially when you attempt it part time, I cannot get it out of my head. Something always brings me back. Like this guy and his Diedrich roaster set up at the market.

You see, I have a roaster just about that size sitting in my garage; a 1 kilo gas-fired unit. In fact, as I write this, I just finished running about 4 experimental batches through it. But most of the time it just sits there, looking cool and whispering in my ear like a little devil,”Hey Jamie, don’t you want to fire me up? Roast a little coffee? Maybe slap a new Black Sheep Roasting label on a bag and see if you can sell it? How about we look for a step van while you are out riding; maybe we can build a mobile roastery.” black-sheep-roasting-logo_hi-res-jpg-1

And it never stops. I can’t get away from it no matter how much I reason with myself. The Devil’s Brew just won’t leave me alone. I might go crazy. I might go hide…I might go roast more coffee!




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