By: Brooklyn Di Raffaele
A change of career and a passion for homebrewing led to the opening of a craft brewery.
Patrick Clancy was an engineer in information technology for years until he lost passion for the work late in his career.
With encouragement from his wife, Patrick recognized that his love of homebrewing could provide a more fulfilling career path and Great Life Brewing was started.
Great Life Brewing is located in industrial Kingston, New York in the Hudson Valley and is the second brewery to call this city home. Patrick is the only employee and he cleaned out the building, which used to be an ice storage facility, and put in brewery drainage, electrical, extensive plumbing and equipment.
Brewing isn’t a new concept for Patrick; he started homebrewing in the 1970’s and has been perfecting recipes for his brews since. Opening Great Life is his first exposure to commercial brewing and he is excited to be a pat of the craft beer community and to brew for more people.
He launched Great Life Brewing with his four flagship beers that have been reinvented and perfected for years: the 1875 Milk Stout, 1855 Cream Ale, 1829 IPA and the 1758 Witbier. These recipes have won at regional homebrewing competitions and Patrick thought these brews would be great inaugural beers for Great Life.
Patrick and his wife are passionate about beer and brewing history, especially in the Hudson Valley. “My wife and I are amateur historians with an interest in beer.” Patrick took his passion for homebrewing to open a brewery and then Patrick and his wife added an historical component to Great Life to create beers that reflect the character of the area.
Each beer has a tidbit on its bottle that points to some aspect of beer history and the label tells the story. The 1829 IPA reflects the earliest printed reference to an IPA and the 1758 Witbier commemorates the fact that in 1758 the Belgian town of Hoegaarden boasted 35 witbier breweries- one for every 50 of its residents.
Historical references and award-wining recipes have given Patrick a great start in making Great Life Brewing a success, what has helped him to make great beer at a commercial scale is his brewery equipment.
Patrick brews on a Portland Kettle Works 3.5bbl steam Hopmaster system, manufactured and fabricated in Portland, Oregon from American steel.
“I was looking for well-constructed equipment. PKW did all the planning and designing and that interested me since I don’t have experience in brewing professionally. I saw the quality in a friend’s brewery who purchased a PKW system and was impressed by the equipment and placed my order.”
A love of beer lead to a new career change that is proving to be a great move; Patrick is brewing beer for others to enjoy on a larger scale and creating community with his brews.
“It’s fun to be part of something bigger than yourself. Even if you don’t like craft beer, you like the idea of having craft breweries around.”
For more about Great Life Brewing, follow them on Facebook