Beer done right
Published: 12:00 AM, Sun April, 7 2019
Establishment: The PumpHouse Homebrew Shop
Address: 336 Elm St., Struthers
Hours: Tues.-Fri.: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (closed daily from 1:30-2:30 p.m.); Sat.: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Available: Beer-making supplies, homebrew kits, wine-making supplies, classes
By Jim Cyphert,
Mahoning Valley Flight Crew
From homebrewers to professionals, Gregg Wormley has impacted many in the Mahoning Valley struck by the fever to brew their own beer.
Owner of The PumpHouse Homebrew Shop, 336 Elm St., Struthers, Wormley has inspired hundreds of homebrewers and dozens of professionals over the years.
The Pumphouse offers everything homebrewers need to master their hobby – grains, hops, malt extract, yeast, equipment, kits, parts and more. It also features an eclectic collection of beer cans and bottles Wormley began collecting as a child.
The shop is the go-to location for Valley homebrewers – and pros – needing supplies to feed their pastime or profession. Wormley is a wealth of homebrewing knowledge.
Wormley studied photography in college, and a friend was from Anaheim, Calif.
“My friend needed a roommate, so I moved to Anaheim,” Wormley said. “I was in California for the first real craft-beer boom, which hit in the late ’80s and early ’90s.”
Wormley was inspired by California’s burgeoning craft-beer scene and was encouraged by a neighbor to begin homebrewing.
In 1995, he moved back to the Valley to be closer to family.
In 1997, the Wormleys took over operation of two PumpHouse locations, one in Struthers managed by Gregg and one in Brookfield, managed by his mother, Dee. The Brookfield shop has since closed.
Wormley has earned multiple awards for his beers at various festivals. He once brewed a Chocolate Stout with Nick Rosich, now head brewer at Penn Brewing in Pittsburgh. That homebrew was the inspiration and foundation for Penn’s Chocolate Stout that won gold at the Great American Beer Fest.
Wormley gets much support from his wife, Tammie, daughter, Hannah, and friends and family.
“It’s less expensive to homebrew,” Wormley said. “But it’s dropped off a bit because there are so many great craft breweries around.”
Wormley, the National Homebrewers Association and the Youngstown Area Homebrewers of Ohio are preparing for Big Brew, the local celebration of National Homebrewers Day. It takes place from noon to 4 p.m. May 4 at Purple Cat’s Farmer Casey’s Ranch at 4738 McCartney Road in Coitsville.
The Flight Crew hit the PumpHouse on a mission to brew a beer for Big Brew. In fact, we’ll have two beers there – a Mexican-inspired IPA and a Cilantro Lime Pale Ale.
Here’s our take on homebrews brewed by Wormley, a Pumphouse customer and Flight Crew member Jason Jugenheimer. We sipped while we brewed.
Dave Shively: “I’ve come to discover that homebrewers are, by and large, a generous fraternity. Gregg told us it’s not uncommon for customers, once they’ve concocted their brew, to stop back to his shop with samples in hand. I was the beneficiary of sampling an Orange IPA, from an anonymous donor. Most IPAs I’ve sampled have been Blood Orange IPAs. This beer was different. Blood Orange IPAs are darker in color and typically pack a citrus punch. This one, by contrast, was light in color, and only had a hint of orange zest in aroma and taste. It would be the perfect beer after a summer evening cutting the grass.”
Roger Gillespie: “Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think it’s ever too early for a great Coffee Stout on a Saturday morning. That’s how we began our brew day in Gregg’s laboratory. He was able to locate the ever-evasive “Moon Pie” coffee, the original marshmallow- sandwich ground coffee that inspired this awesome brew. A deep, dark, bready stout with notes of graham, marshmallow and chocolate, this was a tasting that could not be a one and done. A true classic.”
Jason Jugenheimer: “As tax season winds down, we met with this CPA to finalize some beer returns. Filed under the Pale Ale style, this homebrew is golden in color and hopped with Northern Brewer, Columbus, Centennial and Cascade, creating a nice hop-forward flavor. The real experience here is in the Steer-Buxx Coffee beans added both to the boil and in the secondary fermentation process. This is a dark-roasted coffee lover’s dream, as that bitter bite of coffee plays well with the flavor of the hops. A perfect hoppy and bitter beer to celebrate –or cope with – the tax man.”
Joe Sanfilippo: “This Brown Porter is one you wouldn’t want Lucy to pull away. Good Grief is full of flavor. A nice blend of chocolate malt, caramel and peanut butter, it pours a dark brown with a light-brown head. Using the Bloodhound Test, you definitely get a ton of peanut-butter aroma. This is, for sure, a brew you need to try as a homebrewer.”
Brian Long: “During our brewing experience, Gregg introduced us to the brewer’s version of a boilermaker. Just after the grains were finished in the 170-degree bath, the first couple of ounces of wort were drawn and added to a few ounces of a friendly Scot named Johnny Walker. The warm, sugary wort and the spicy, smoky flavors of the Scotch made for quite a warm and tasty treat. It was a first for the Flight Crew, and it makes me want to learn some more secret concoctions out here. A great experience from Gregg. Cheers!”
Jim Cyphert: “This homebrew is a traditional Brown Porter. But, whole Steer-Buxx coffee beans are added during secondary fermentation, resulting in a deep, rich coffee flavor. Steer-Buxx, located in Randolph, Ohio, has the slogan, “We Got Kick.” And this homebrewed Coffee Porter definitely had kick.”
Recommended Flight Pattern: Head to The PumpHouse to concoct your own homebrew with your unique twist. And be sure to hit Big Brew on May 4.