MASKERON is a craft beer brewing project and my favorite hobby. Actually, I always liked beer, but it wasn’t until five years ago my wife took me for a surprise birthday trip to Bruges that my true beer adventure begun. There, in Belgium, I discovered that beer could be absolutely great. That was it. I was official a beer convert. I began voraciously reading on craft beers, brewing technology and quickly feel in love with every aspect of the beer lore. This may sound a bit funny, but about that time in saw a NatGeo show about those guys who were building a craft brewery on a tree. It was great! I thought – well, if they can build one on the tree, I can build one at my own home. It was some three years ago. From there on everything was a blast. I become a craft beer apprentice.
I began acquiring brewing equipment, buying barley, hops and yeast, studying chemistry and recipes, mail ordering beers from all over the worlds, discovering new styles and tastes. And I began brewing my own beers, with usual up and downs every hop head experiences along the way.
Since I live in Dubrovnik, Croatia, I wanted my project to have a name that will the locality but also to evade the usual touristy references. So I came up with MASKERON. It wasn’t that hard, really. MASKERON is a local term for wonderfully designed renaissance gargoyle stone heads that spit out water and can be found on all the fountains and lots of houses in Dubrovnik. I even have one at the entrance to my own house. And water being one of the four main ingredients of the beer… the choice was made.
Another thing I love about craft beer is the community: the networking, the culture of sharing, the innovativeness and sheer camaraderie. Compared to USA and other European countries, craft beer community in Croatia is rather new, but is growing by the day. I soon got to know the beer folk. Naturally, we all gather at various craft beer festivals, exchange recipes, discuss brewing and then some more. We can talk for hours and hours on color or taste or the latest IPA brewing hits and stuff.
I suppose am just like all these other beer craft guys, checking my beers first thing in the morning and last thing before going to sleep, and loving every part of it. And then of course, being a designer, I enjoy creating special labels and names for each beer. By the time I finally bring the keg out and share it with my friends and family, I’m already deep into making another beer. And so my brewing apprenticeship goes on and on.
Rock is also my thing. I’m not a musician myself, but I’ve attended countless rock concerts and festivals and have been an active Pearl Jam fan since day one. I firmly believe music and craft beer share some important features. You can be equally creating in making music and beer brewing. There are countless trends and kinds of music and there are countless sorts of beers and combination of recipes. You can make good beer of good song, whatever the category. Or you can fail and start all over again, learning and improving. Also, beer and song both need time to ferment, to grow to their fullness. Until you finally get to the point where you play your song or serve your beer to the audience. And their enjoyment is your ultimate reward.
Beer Brewing Apprentice