Building a strong brewing community is paramount for all of us here at PicoBrew. We work with hundreds of brewers and breweries to build a network of exceptional beer recipes to bring to our thirsty patrons.

One avenue by which we go about this is our recruitment of talented homebrewers to create PicoPaks based on their own personal favorite recipes – people like Tony Ochsner, owner of Micro Homebrew in Kenmore, WA. Ochsner will soon be releasing his first personalized PicoPak, Talli the Timid, a dark English Mild.

Ochsner, who started his shop in 2014, says he’s been making this “easy drinking beer” recipe for years. With a traditional English Maris Otter malt backbone, which gives the brew a hearty bread crust character, combined with American crystal and dark roasted Midnight Wheat malts, which offers notes of toffee and a roasted character, Talli the Timid has won multiple awards and a couple years ago earned acceptance into the National Homebrew Competition. The concoction finishes with some oats to give it a smooth and well-rounded mouth feel, clocking in at 3.6 ABV and 20 IBU’s.

“When the PicoPak project came out, it was the first beer I thought of,” he says. “I didn’t want to do an IPA – I thought everyone would do that!” Ochsner worked with PicoBrew Master Brewer, Annie Johnson, fine-tuning the recipe and brewing process on our Zymatic appliance. “I knew Annie from the homebrew world,” he says. “I’d met her a couple times at the National Home Brew Conference. So when I opened my homebrew supply shop in 2014, right away I was introduced to the Zymatic. Annie came to some of our big brew days at the shop and showed me the machine.”

Ochsner’s homebrew shop is growing in popularity – but he may be in the minority of folks enjoying success. A reported 100 homebrew shops closed last year nationwide while major players like Amazon and Budweiser are throwing their hats into the homebrew ring.

“I’m growing a lot,” he says, happily. “But the homebrew industry is going down. They’ve seen it time and time again. When the economy gets good, people have money and no time so they don’t make their own beer. When the economy gets bad, people make their own beer.”

But, says Ochsner, despite the dip there will always be hard-core brewers (like him) pushing the industry forward.

“The newest beers and newest crazes always come out of homebrewing,” he explains. “And with the Pico, people can make beer at home – tech people who aren’t necessarily all about the art can still make beer at home and get beers that aren’t distributed in their neighborhoods. That’s pretty cool.”

Ochsner calls his homebrewing operation, “Rescue Dog Brewing,” in honor of his own rescue dog. Talli the Timid is named after his mother’s “little tiny skittish” black pup.

“I’d love to make more PicoPaks,” admits Ochsner, who worked with Johnson on three or four variations of Talli the Timid to perfect it. “The Zymatic and Pico are in many ways the future of homebrewing. It’s healthy for us, and for the whole industry, to have so many different ways to brew and be able to reach so many different people that we wouldn’t normally.”