Huddle Up is a weekly Q&A with a Cardinals player on a topic outside of football. In this week's installment, left tackle Jared Veldheer talks about his passion for home brewing.
Question: How did you get into brewing your own beer?
Answer: I'd go back to Michigan during the offseason for my first couple of years, and I was trying to figure out something to do, some kind of hobby besides just working out. I liked craft beer and I was a biology guy in college so I wanted to try my hand at home brewing.
It was getting kind of popular and you could go online and just buy a kit. I did that and really liked it. In your first batch you can actually make beer right away. Maybe it's not exactly perfectly on style, but it's drinkable and tastes pretty good. Ever since then it kind of hooked me because there's so much you can do with it.
Q: So the first batch wasn't the greatest? How did it taste?
A: It was not (laughter). It still tasted good. It was an Irish red ale, which is such a random first beer to do because I like to brew stuff with more hops in it. But it turned out pretty good. Actually, the fridge was in my garage, and it got to minus-whatever outside – it was in the middle of the winter in Michigan – and it froze the keg. When it thaws out, you get a water layer on top. You can dump that off and it's like iced beer.
Q: So how do you brew it?
A: You just use a six gallon bucket and it's sealed tight. It has a little vent to where the CO2 can release and everything else stays out of it. There's an airlock and you let it ferment, and that's after you boil it and all that stuff. Then you let it sit, ferment for two to three weeks, keg it and serve it. I skip the bottling process because it's way easier to just keg it. You can have beer ready in a few days. If you bottle it you have to wait another three weeks.
Q: And you recently went over to Arizona Wilderness (Brewing Co. in Gilbert) and talked to them about creating a flavor?
A: Yeah. We were going to enter it into the Pro-Am (a home-brewer and brewery combining to create a beer) at the Great American Beer Festival, but there was a catch to where I had to have qualified in a previous contest with the beer we were going to do together. We didn't think of that beforehand, so we'll have to wait until next year. So we still did the brew together, one of the recipes I had that I liked the most. They really liked it. Since then, they've re-brewed it and 60 barrels have been brewed of it over there.
Q: Really? So it's an option for people at the brewery? Is it popular?
A: Yeah, that's like 120 big half-barrel kegs. They said it's doing very well, that people like it. So that's good to hear, especially because last weekend was the beer festival. We missed out. I was over it and then I saw all the results. I was like, 'Man, I wish we could have gotten it in there.' So I've just got to enter it in a contest in the offseason. There's no doubt it will place and I'll get it in there.
Q: Last thing: Can you settle the debate from training camp, when Bruce Arians was saying he wasn't getting any of your beer and Carson Palmer said you were a great sharer. Was that just a miscommunication with B.A.?
A: First of all, I need to brew again. I haven't brewed since we had our baby at the end of May. Once I do that, I'll bring some in for everybody to try.