There are a lot of different brewery models out there. Some people specialize in IPAs. Some people really like barrel-aged beers. Others focus on lagers. Even in the DC area you've got brewers making beers with yeast from whale bones, brewers making beers for specific sports teams, and even brewers making beers inspired by Nine-Inch-Nails. So we're no strangers to variety in these parts. With that said, Catalog Brewing, a fledgling operation based in the Rt. 1 Farmers Market and Bazaar in the Gateway Arts District of Mount Rainier, Maryland, has a model unlike any we've seen so far.
According to their website, Catalog is "a nanobrewery concept that takes inspiration from the granddaddy of the maker movement-the Sears Modern Home. Our goal is to promote the tenets of sustainability, empowerment, hyper-localism, and community engagement through the language of grain, water, and hops." It was founded this year by homebrewers Patrick McDonough and Kenny George. The brewery is currently "in the research and development phase, working to produce a sustainable supply of hops, potable rainwater, and plant matter high in sugars." They note that their processes are "not proprietary, and we invite the homebrew community to contribute their knowledge and experience."
This Saturday, June 28, Catalog will have its first workshop, a walking tour of Sears Catalog Homes. They'll also be showing off their Beer Lab, an
experimental lab space where the artists will test and explore sustainable beer making practices. Some of the efforts they are undertaking to begin this endeavor include growing hops in container gardens made from reclaimed materials, rainwater collection, filtration, and homemade solar water heating, and the exploration of different plant matter that is high in simple sugars and will grow abundantly in a confined space.
We had a chance to interview McDonough and George via email. A lightly edited transcript of that interview follows below.