PHOENIX – There are more than 1.2 million Americans who make their own beer at home, according to the American Homebrewers Association. U-Haul has a couple of talented Team Members who are part of this fast-growing culture.
Scott and Lindsay Pobieglo have been married for 17 years. They met in 1994 while serving as swim instructors for the Project Employees Recreation Association (PERA), a private club for employees and families of the Salt River Project.
Lindsay joined U-Haul in 1998 through a temp agency and works in the Risk Management department. In 2007, an Engineering Services position became available and Scott applied. The rest, as they say, is history.
When the couple is not working at the U-Haul headquarters in Phoenix, Scott and Lindsay take part in the fun, labor intensive hobby of brewing their own beer. They have been brewing for the last four years. Scott said his interest grew after he was lent a couple books on homebrewing.
“I started out just using extract kits from my local homebrew store and quickly started to modify and make my own all-grain recipes,” Scott said. “I have gotten a little more sophisticated, using brewing software to design beers. I brew in my backyard with some equipment that I found on Craigslist and some that I have built. I have added a fermentation chamber, mash tun, water filter, beer filter, and now have a total of six kegs.”
With a simple start-up kit costing about $100 and the kegs roughly $40 each, the upfront expenses can be daunting, Scott added.
“I have well over $1,500 in equipment,” he said. “A five-gallon keg will run anywhere from $25 to $50 depending on the ingredients. Overall, this hobby does not save money on beer costs, but making the beer I drink and sharing it among family and friends is worth it.”
Scott and Lindsay said their brew days, which last six to eight hours, include open invitations to any family and friends.
“I usually have a few people over observing and helping out,” Scott said. “My daughter loves to help out with hop and adjunct additions during the boil. However, when I am cleaning and sanitizing equipment, I am the only one allowed to touch anything.”
Lindsay said that during the process, she will sometimes add the hops and stir the pot.
“I always sample the wort afterwards to get a feel of how the beer might taste in a month’s time (after fermentation),” Lindsay said. “My main job is to keep Scott company and our children at bay! Scott’s beer is amazing and not like the craft beer out there because of all the options to change up hops and grains. We can try to replicate a specific type, but the brew always comes out with its own pizzazz.”
The Pobieglos brew several times a month, always using a different style than the previous batch.
“I brew stouts, porters, IPAs, pales, reds, ambers, browns, Belgians, wheat and blondes,” Scott said. “My favorite style right now is a Cascadian dark ale, which is basically a really hopped-up stout. I really like variety and always ask Lindsay what she is in the mood for, so we generally decide a day or two before brewing.”
The most impressive feedback Scott received came from his Tropical Pale Ale, constructed with Galaxy and Mosaic hops. It was served at the 2014 Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride Gala hosted by U-Haul.
“Since it was served under my brewery name of Hoplon Brewery, I was able to ask people what they really thought of the beer since they had no idea I was the brewer,” Scott said. “They were compelled to give a more objective review and I received only positive remarks. I actually had one person tell me the he had heard the brewer was at the Gala and would like to meet him – so I introduced myself.
“My feeling is that there is no such thing as bad beer. There is good beer and there is better beer. I like to brew and drink the better beer.”
If brewing their own beer wasn’t cool enough, the Pobieglos donate their kegged beverages to the Soldier Ride Gala and plan to continue to do so for years to come.
We’re not done shining the spotlight on some of U-Haul Company’s amazing Team Members and their interesting hobbies. Stay tuned for more on U-Haul couples and their unique stories as Valentine’s Day approaches.