I keep repeating myself in this blog, talking about how much I love beer people. And this post is about one of them. I met Jennifer Hermann during the home brew judging at Son of Brewzilla over the course of Cleveland Beer Week. Jennifer was paired with me to taste the beers, and help guide me as an amateur judge. She has her BJCP certification, and has been a home brewer herself for over 11 years. She won a couple of medals herself at Son of Brewzilla!
Over the course of several hours that day we tasted three types of American ales, and chatted about the beer and our own journeys to craft brew. Jennifer encouraged me in my tasting palate, and really helped me gain my confidence as a judge.
Each of us also had very special stories to share about our fathers. Jennifer had lost hers, Kenn Hermann, a year before to brain cancer. Kenn was a historian who taught at both Kent State and The University of Akron. He was diagnosed with Stage IV brain cancer (the same kind that had attacked Sen. Ted Kennedy) in June of 2008, and passed away 16 months later.
After the diagnosis, Jennifer’s niece, Shaelynn, then age 10, came to her with an idea to raise money for brain cancer research to help her beloved grandfather. And the pair is now proudly presenting the “Hopsichord Concert for Cancer Research” on Wednesday, November 24th, the night before Thanksgiving. This special night of music and rare beer (which I’ll tell you about in just a minute) is a fundraiser to support cancer research. It will take place on the Kent Stage at 7 p.m., and is only $10 per person. Ages 15 and under are free with an adult. Tickets are available at Woodsy’s, Spin-More, the Kent Stage and at www.kentstage.org. Doors open at 6 p.m. Performers include the Kent African Drum Community, The TwistOffs, Root Doctor’s Revenge, and Xtra Crispy.
Now about that beer. “Hopsichord” is an extremely limited Imperial IPA brewed at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Beer Camp. Jennifer was one of the 10 lucky ones chosen to go last September. She received what she calls “rock star treatment” and the opportunity to develop a recipe which was brewed on their 10 bbl pilot system in Chico, California. Sierra Nevada shipped an allocation of the brew to Ohio, and Hermann decided to tap it at this special event. The name, Hopsichord, is a play on words describing the plethora of hops in the recipe, and the number of music lovers who attended the camp. It has a 9.7% ABV and is described as a “symphony of hops balanced by a robust malt body.”
“I thought I could hoard the beer for myself,” Jennifer explained, “but I kept thinking about my niece and her idea to do a fundraiser.” And so this very special event was born.
Jennifer is one example of why I think beer people are great people. I wish the event great success and hope it continues for many years to come.