For this special National Learn to Homebrew Day post, Tony gave Marshall Schott, the founder of Brülosophy, a ring to philosophize about how Marshall’s background made him into the homebrewer he is today, along with how he approaches the brewing process. Check out Marshall’s PicoPak, Brülosopher’s Brown Ale on sale now on BrewMarketplace.
Like any craft, there are novices, hobbyists, professionals and masters. And, according to Marshall Schott of Brülosophy, the craft of homebrewing puts them all in the same room as equals. “All Homebrewers are created equal,” he says. Unlike other special crafts, the homebrewing community is one of inclusion and togetherness. “If it weren’t for the homebrewing community, Brülosophy wouldn’t exist. It’s my passion. And being able to go out and interact with our readers and listeners is ineffable. I never would have imagined being this lucky. It’s the only reason I’m doing this. It’s such a beautiful community.”
If you haven’t visited Marshall’s site or listened to his Podcast, be sure to check it out. The Brülosophy team focuses on writing and talking about brewing experiments, brewing methods and product reviews. Now with eight contributors, Marshall has created an internet hub for all things homebrewing. He’s gained a large following of people who look up to him, and he couldn’t be more thrilled. “I’ve always had an issue with ‘celebrity-ism,’ Marshall says, “I’m actively trying to be down to earth and just hang out. If I meet people who are star struck by me, I like to hug them and invite them to hang out with us if we’re doing something that night. I want everyone to feel like they’re included because that’s how I felt when I first started homebrewing.”
Growing up in a religious family during his teenage years taught Marshall a certain kind of community—and even though he doesn’t subscribe to that religion anymore, that kind of community mentality is still there and is what he thrives on. “We survive because of our community. I like to think that Brülosophy encourages that mentality. We’re not out here to sell books—we’re here to include you. The first thing most people feel when they meet other homebrewers is a sense of belonging… of sameness.”
Throughout his childhood, Marshall watched his parents struggle with substance abuse and the world that comes with it. As he grew older, he decided not to be like his parents, and he and his wife have approached family life in a much healthier way. Including his kids in the brewing process responsibly has been one of Marshall’s goals: “I think it’s really neat to introduce my kids to the softer side of alcohol, and not the abuse like my family taught me. It’s the love of the community and the fun of the Craft. So I bring them out and they brew with me. It’s incredibly fulfilling. It’s the antithesis of my childhood.”
“In the beginning, my wife sort of rolled her eyes at the homebrewing hobby. She thought it was great, but also like, ’Okay let’s see how far this goes,’” Marshall says. “I remember when I decided to start calling my thing ‘Brülosophy,’ taking my hobby to a new, public level. I wanted to see how I could give back to the hobby that’s given me so much. I got the supportive eye roll from her again. The funniest thing is, now that we’ve grown and built a following, when we sell merch we launch the products on the site and they sell out so fast. She manages the merch now, and she doesn’t roll her eyes anymore.”
Marshall takes a very scientific approach to homebrewing, documenting his processes carefully to show the precision of each brew and experiment. At the same time, he is a proponent for risk and trying new things on a whim. Failing is not a sign of weakness—it’s a sign of learning. Marshall and his team provide the resources and experience to help new homebrewers learn through mistakes with science-based approach documentation, and they teach in layman’s terms. “I honestly think that you shouldn’t put all your eggs in the ‘authority’ basket. No one homebrewing book is intended to be a Bible. Don’t take one as Gospel. Have fun with it. We don’t progress if we don’t test. We don’t have fun if we don’t take risks. And I say that because I remember feeling so married to convention. And the point of Brülosophy is to provide proof to the people who obviously ‘didn’t know what they were doing’ to why that’s okay.”