Eric Kihl loves crafts, especially when they involve booze. He currently studies chemical engineering at the University of Oklahoma. During his free time when he's not studying or organizing The Big Event, Eric is just a dude who brews. Eric provides a great starter recipe here.

I had the pleasure of interviewing the "Martha Stewart" of the home-craft while tasting his "art." Eric would first like to state: "This is all perfectly legal ... I just cannot exceed brewing 100 gallons in one year, which I think I can manage."    

pizza, beer
Karina Arnold

Q: How did you get started? 

Eric: "I love learning and experimenting. I'm a chemical engineer student, so I love the art of chemicals and trying new recipes ... And the by-product gets me drunk so that's a plus. It truly is an art of ratios."

Q: What is your favorite brew flavor?

Eric: "I made a bourbon barrel porter (a stout beer) that was amazing. I soaked oakwood chips from an old bourbon barrel in bourbon, then added the chips to the brew at second fermentation. The oak chips gave a nice zing and smoky flavor."

Q: Is home brewing cheaper than buying your own? 

Eric: "Yes! The 1-gallon starter kit is about $70 and will last you a lifetime. After the initial investment kit with a starter recipe, I pay about $14 for flavor kits which get me 12x12 oz. bottles. After doing the math, one home-brew beer is cheaper and tastier than buying beer at a bar. The bigger the batch or kit you buy, the greater money you save."

alcohol, wine, stout, coffee, beer
Karina Arnold

Q: Do you eventually want to start a business with your home brews? 

Eric: "The market is saturated with artisan brewers, so I doubt I will pursue brewing past a hobby, especially with my college budget and time constraints. But, if someone threw money at me to open a pub on Campus Corner ... I wouldn't say no!"

Q: What is your favorite flavor you have made thus far and what future flavors do you have in mind? 

Eric: "For me, I like American wheat beer. One of my buddies grows wheat in Oklahoma. This summer, I plan on using his wheat for a beer recipe I have in mind. I am still trying different flavoring and fermenting ratios. Currently, I am experimenting with a honey wine recipe and a chocolate milk stout beer."

pizza, beer
Karina Arnold

Q: Any advice for someone who wants to start their own home brew? 

Eric: "If you can make mac and cheese from a box, then you can brew your own beer. I bought my starter kit from an online retailer called "Northern Brewer." "Learn To Brew" in Moore, Oklahoma, is another great company. When buying a starter kit, the standard yields 5 gallons, which is huge! That's 48 beers. I recommend buying a 1-gallon kit because it is easier to flavor experiment with smaller batches. Anyone can be 'just a dude who brews.' You can make brewing as simple or complicated as you like."

Q: What is your next step on your brewing agenda?

Eric: "Kegs."