Chris Jensen

Chris brewed beer for the first time 15 years ago (all the way back in the last millenium!). He got serious about brewing in 2007 and it's been all downhill from there. Now he can't fit his car in his garage because it's monopolized by brewing equipment. He's a lifelong craft beer fan and got a BJCP certification in 2013 alongside Jeremy. Fortunately, he also has a wife willing to travel halfway around the world to taste beer (she took the above photo with Jean Van Roy, owner of Cantillon). You can email him at chris(a)pintwell.com.

Nothin' like a Nice Package

Chris Jensen · April 20

I love a good package.

While the BJCP judge in me knows that brand and packaging has little to do with the quality of a beer (see our surprising results in our blind Double IPA and Belgian Dark taste tests), I am a marketer at heart. That heart gets broken when I see crappy packaging, as many new and some established beer brands put on the shelf. And, unfortunately for them, as that shelf becomes more competitive and the consumer becomes more adventerous, packaging has ...

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I love Belgium

Chris Jensen · March 24

Tragedies like the one that occurred in Brussels earlier this week are never easy to process, but it always seems a little harder when they occur in a place you love. That is certainly true of Belgium for me. I've only spent a week there, but during that time I feel in love with the friendly people, the quaint countryside towns, the delectable food and the unassumingness of it all. Of course, I was already in love with the beer, which was one of ...

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I was inspired! Side Project Tap Room in STL

Chris Jensen · October 30

I haven't written about beer in a long time. I haven't brewed in almost as long, and, sad to say, I've hardly even drank much good beer in all that time. It's not that I love beer any less, it's just a whole lot of other stuff has taken priority over the past several months. For example:
 
I quit my job.
I started a new business.
I had a child.
I chased my other child, now 2, all over the ...
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Recipe: Irish Cheddar Fondue

Chris Jensen · January 14

Irish fondue? You heard it correctly. OK, it's not really Irish; fondue is still and will always be at its core a product of the Swiss, but the incorporation of Irish cheese and beer will provide a fresh and delicious take on your fondue. This fondue is a bit more bold and robust than a Swiss/wine based version and makes a great compliment to a winter meal with a heavy meat (served afterwards, of course) and a hearty beer.

Makes 4-6 servings:

  • 3 ...
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Review: Cheap Scale for Homebrewing (Epica)

Chris Jensen · December 19

I can't believe I waited as long as I did to pick up a grain scale for weighing grains and hops. For years, I'd weigh all my grains at the HBS (even for a short time after I started buying my base grains in bulk) and I'd just eyeball my hops. For what it's worth, I still don't think that latter part is a big offense as you can probably get pretty close when working with 1 oz portions of ...

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Brewing up a Holiday Beer

Chris Jensen · December 12

I love holiday beers. More specifically, I love giving holiday beers. Nothing says "I appreciate you" more than a hand-made gift into which you put your passion, expertise and time. Except perhaps a hand-made gift that is damn good to boot.

I have been making holiday beers since 2007, when I produced an Anchor holiday clone called "Matt Holiday" to commemorate the Rockies' spectacular World Series run. Sure, by the time I actually passed out the beers, everyone was heart-broken by the events that unfolded ...
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Review: Black Box Fermentation Controller

Chris Jensen · December 3

I recently used the Black Box Fermentation Controller and my experience could not have been better.

The device shipped directly from Black Box via USPS and was ready to go out of the box. For my initial test, I used a heat wrap (as described in our Small Investments for a Big Impact post) to apply heat to a Dusseldorf Altbier fermentation. I programmed a specific fermentation temp profile by following the instructional videos on the Black Box website and found it to be incredibly ...

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How to Cap Your Beer Without a Capper

Chris Jensen · November 15

Sometimes you gotta improvise.

I don't bottle frequently as, like most, I much prefer the convenience of kegging. But I do like to bottle my special beers or beers that do well with aging, which means I find myself bottling at least 2-3 batches a year.

Last weekend, I finally got around to bottling my holiday beer (a Trappist-style Belgian strong dark ale). I had a number of 29mm mouth bombers on hand that I'd been saving for a special brew such as ...

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Why I Travel for Beer

Chris Jensen · October 29

This post is part of The Session 93, hosted over at the Roaming Pint.

 
I am fond of beer. I'm also quite fond of travel. So it's  the best of both worlds when I get to travel for beer.
 
Now, candidly, I've really only taken one big trip purely for beer. Two years ago I took my adventure loving wife on a trip to Belgium, beer's holy land, where we spent a couple of weeks touring different breweries and visiting some ...
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Small Investments for a Big Impact

Chris Jensen · October 19

A lot of brewing equipment is expensive. Some of it is a necessary evil, but much of the money we spend on equipment is "nice to have," increasing the joy or convenience of our brew day, or just looking rad.

However, I've made a few upgrades over the years that had a minimal cost investment and yet which had a major benefit to my brew process. Here are my the top three cheap-yet-effective items in my brew closet:

  1. Wallpaper tray: I picked up one ...
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Session #92: Homebrewer's Appreciation

Chris Jensen · October 3

I love this topic. And frankly, I was as surprised as Jeremy to learn that there'd only been one Session topic on Homebrewing (out of 91!) before today.

Homebrewing has most certainly affected my view of beer. I first brewed about 15 years ago in the kitchen of my college apartment in Boulder. At that time, my friends and I drank craft beers, but I really had no idea what "craft" really meant in that phrase. As far as I knew, beer production was ...

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