During the day, and on many nights, Hank Puls is a pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
In his hours at home, Puls often becomes brewmaster Hank Puls.
Puls is a home brewer. But, not just any home brewer. He is an award-winning home brewer, winner of 75th Street Brewery’s 2014 Home Brew Competition.
Puls out-brewed 49 other homespun suds enthusiasts with his “Battle of the Frontiers” French Saison.
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“75th Street gave all of us free wort, so I thought it was a chance to experiment,” Puls said. “I knew I wanted to do something Belgium, so I used a Belgium yeast and a French yeast for the main portion of the beer. I then added a German yeast to play on the theme of the World War I series of battles called ‘Battle of the Frontiers.’
“In those battles, Germany invaded Belgium and France Here, a German yeast invaded a French and Belgium yeast,” Puls shared.
After winning the competition, Puls brought his recipe down to 75th Street, had a beer with Brewmaster Pat Sandman, and shared his thoughts on his winning brew.
They altered the recipe just a bit to make a more traditional Saison beer, then brewed up a batch of “Battle of the Frontiers,” part deux, which would be featured at the brewery.
There were 15 kegs in all, the first one was tapped at the end of March. The folks at 75th Street Brewery are hoping they last through the month, because when they’re gone, they’re gone.
“It’s surreal having my beer on tap at 75th Street Brewery,” he said. “It’s one thing to brew beer and share it with friends and family. It’s quite another to have it available to the general public It’s been more nerve wracking than I thought it would be, but it’s been a very fun experience.”
This was the second annual Home Brew Competition at 75th Street. The contest is capped at 50 entrants, and it fills up quickly. So quickly, in fact, the folks at KC Hopps, the parent company of 75th Street Brewery, have announced a brand new home brew contest to kick off in May.
Puls said he likely will not be entering that contest, but his competition days are not over.
“I will probably enter competitions again, but it’s not my main motivation,” Puls said.
So what is his main motivation? Pleasure, it seems, and a sense of community.
“There’s a creative aspect to it, but what I really like is making something that I can share with family and friends,” he said. “Home brewing is great because it’s a blend of chemistry, microbiology, engineering and art. Plus it’s fun, and you get to drink it when you’re done.”
There’s a common slogan among homebrewers that Puls shared with me. It’s “relax and have a home brew.”
Sounds good to me. Think I’ll have one from Dr. Hank Puls at 75th Street Brewery this weekend.
Dave Eckert is the producer and host of “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” which aired on PBS-TV and Wealth TV for 12 seasons.