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Greetings Life of Dad community!

Well, I just couldn’t get enough of the successful “30 Dads, 30 Days” features over the past month.  These great pieces were provided by Life of Dad founder, Tom Riles.  Most were pretty good.  Those that did not reveal beer as a favorite daddy cocktail got my thumbs down, however.  I’m sure they’re still good Dads, though.

Mike Osborne

Anyways, I thought I would try to keep the spirit of  “30 Dads, 30 Days” alive, in The Beer Guy kind of way.  In some ways, too, it’s a way to not totally forget about TWAACBW and all the fun we had meeting new breweries and brewers.  With that in mind, today we meet a new member of Life of Dad…Mike Osborne.

A native of the South Side of Chicago, Mike recently got into the homebrewing scene last year.  By day, Mike is a proud IUOE Local 399 Engineer for the Windy City’s “poop plant,” the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.  By nights and weekends, Mike has been building a name for himself and his brewery, Mount Greenwood Brewing, by concocting over 31 different beers since the beginning of 2011.

Not all of them have been fantastic (some were self-proclaimed as being “awful” and to be brewed “never again.”), but most of the 131 gallons brewed have turned out good.  With beers like Choco Puff Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, how could you go wrong, right?

What’s noteworthy about Mike and Mount Greenwood Brewing is that he currently has an entry in the 2012 National Homebrew Competition, sponsored by the American Homebrewers Association, or AHA NHC for short.  With the first rounds having been recently completed, Mike’s “Banana’s Eve Bavarian Wheat Ale” earned a Silver Certificate and took 3rd place in the Chicago Judging Center, for the German Wheat and Rye Beer category.  This means that he’ll face off again in the Final Round this Thursday at the National Homebrewers Conference, in Seattle.  It’s a clean slate again, as his Banana’s Eve becomes one of 33 beers vying for the gold in the category (one of 28 categories being judged).  Go Mike!  By the way, Mike’s other four entries earned certificates as well.  Not too bad for his first time in the AHA NHC.

Mike got into brewing at the suggestion of friend and work colleague, Steve Rowe.  They also attended the same high school, Brother Rice High School, on the South Side of Chicago in (surprise, surprise) the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood.  Steve and Mike’s brother, Dan, got him interested in beers other than Miller Lite and Guinness.  It was Steve that convinced Mike to give brewing a try.  So what did Mike do?  He went right ahead and made his own version of a light beer and stout, the heavy hopped light lager beer Mt. Greenwood Ale and “awesome” Choco Puff Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, respectively. All of Mike’s brews are original recipes and made from scratch via partial mash or all-grain recipes.

Homebrewing doesn’t come without its challenges, rewards, fun & funny moments and things you just grow to love, though.  For Osborne, they are as follows:

  • Most challenging: Waiting, and having patience.
  • Most rewarding: The comradery built with fellow homebrewers, a group Mike classifies as “stereotypically intelligent, caring, social and proud.”
  • Most fun: DRINKING!
  • Funny moment: Mike brewed a cherry ale last year.  After opening the bottle, it erupted like a cherry volcano splashing several people.
  • Things you grow to love: “The story, journey and taste of every beer I make, buy and drink,” says Osborne.

And the role of family through all of this? Mike and his wife have four very active wonderful children: Sean (12), Colin (10), Jack (6) and Abigail (5).  After having three boys, of course Abigail is the Princess of the family.  But she is a Princess in more ways than one.  To Mike, Abigail is the “Hop Princess.”  “She loves to smell each hop addition and add them to the kettle.  She also loves helping Daddy bottle.”    Kudos to you, Abigail.  In The Beer Guy’s opinion, it’s the hops that make the beer.  As far as the three boys?  “They help with the cleanup quite often,” says Mike.  Hmmm, I wonder…by choice, or by demand?

On behalf of the Life of Dad community, we hope the entire Osborne family is cleaning up this Thursday…cleaning up the hardware at the AHA NHC Finals.  Bring home the gold!  Either way, you’ve represented your family, the South Side (and alma mater) and Life of Dad community well, and have made us proud.  Keep up the good work, Mike.

Be sure to check back here at Life of Dad to find out the results of the AHA NHC.  In the meantime, you can find Mike on Facebook and Twitter

And from Mike himself, “Life of Dad is a unique and special place for Dads.  I am really glad that there is this place where Dads like me can visit to laugh, smile or share a thought…Thanks and Cheers to my fellow LOD Dads!”  Thanks for the kind words, Mike!

About The Beer Guy – A dad, husband, friend and drinker of beer. I review & blog about it all on LifeOfDad.com, the premiere social networking website for Dads.  The Beer Guy enjoys IPA’s and Pilsner’s, but will really try any kind of beer.  You may disagree on some of his opinions.  Let The Beer Guy know.  Reviews are published on Thursdays.  Blogging is done on Tuesdays.  Read more here to learn about The Beer Guy, who he is and his beer rating methodology.