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Beerology will sell home-brewing supplies in Northampton

  • Jordana Starr and Michael Schilling, who are the owners of Beerology, at 342 Pleasant Street in Northampton, talk about their business, Tuesday. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Michael Schilling and Jordana Starr, who are the owners of Beerology, at 342 Pleasant Street in Northampton, talk about their business, Tuesday. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Michael Schilling and Jordana Starr, the owners of Beerology, at 342 Pleasant St. in Northampton, talk about their business which is expected to open in early October. A mill used for grinding grain sits beside them. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Empty bottles from home brews made by Michael Schilling and Jordana Starr are displayed on a shelf at Beerology, their business at 342 Pleasant St. in Northampton, which is expected to open in early October. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Beerology is expected to open in early October at 342 Pleasant St. in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS



@cmlindahl
Sunday, September 25, 2016

NORTHAMPTON — Michael Schilling and Jordana Starr know their tannins from their partial mashes and dimethyl sulfides. But their knowledge about beer didn’t always run so deep. 

Take for instance, Starr’s previous aversion to beer thanks to the skunky smell left behind after a frat party during the days she and Schilling attended Tufts University. “I now know that’s oxidized lager,” she said.

Since the couple graduated from the school in Medford, Schilling and Starr, both 32, have fostered a complete and pervasive love of beer. They’ve been making their own for the past seven years (their first brewing kit was a wedding gift) and Schilling is a proud graduate of a joint brewing science program of Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago and Doemens Academy in Munich.

Now they’re ready to share that love and expert knowledge with the world at Beerology, a home-brewing supply and educational store that’s set to open in early October.

Frustrated by the warehouse-like vibe of many homebrew stores, the couple say they’re taking a gourmet approach to the hobby. Despite that, they say their establishment at 342 Pleasant St. is going to be welcoming to newcomers and looky-loos.

“Everybody is welcome, no matter your level of experience,” Starr said. “We want people to ask tons of questions.”

The couple declined to disclose the financial details of the business. They’re in it together, though Schilling will serve as manager. Beerology is hiring four part-time employees.

Beerology will have all the supplies needed to make beer, wine, cider and kombucha – anything that ferments – ranging from basic brew bag kits to high-end appliances.

That includes beer and wine kits, fermenters, kettles, kegs and casks, caps and cappers and corks and corkers. And they’ll have a full selection of the fresh stuff needed to make beer, including, some 40 varieties of malts including local ones from Valley Malt in Hadley and Four Star Farms in Northfield and others from around the world.

And the same way coffee is best freshly ground, Beerology shoppers will be able to have their malts ground to order at the shop.

Then, of course, there’s the hops: those will be refrigerated, just as they should be, Starr said.

“We want them to be perfect,” she said. “When you open them up, they should be so fresh.”

Beer-lovers paradise

It’s no secret that the Valley loves beer. With breweries popping up in every corner and local bars offering those and other craft brews on tap, Schilling and Starr want to continue helping make the area a beer-lovers paradise.

“We want to foster a really strong beer scene,” Schilling said.

Schilling is the “beer guy” at Provisions at 30 Crafts Ave. in downtown Northampton, where he regularly gives seminars on the beverage.

And Starr’s true love is cider. She’s a judge for the 22nd annual Franklin County CiderDays amateur cider competition Nov. 4 to 6.

With so much love for all things fermented in the Valley, Schilling and Staff say they want Beerology to serve locals and visitors alike.

The owners of Beerology say they hope their focus on education sets them apart from other stores.

Classes will range in type, length and price. There will be everything from brewing 101 courses to advanced ones, such as a class that focuses on particular hopping techniques. They will also offer flavor training, which aims to train one’s palate in the particulars of “bad” flavors sometimes present in beer.

They also plan to bring in beer historians, people who will be able to share tidbits such as the reason why southern Vermont and western Massachusetts is prime cider country (it has to do with the preservation of apple varieties during Prohibition) and guest lectures by brewers from near and far.

Schilling says the classes will benefit not just those interested in brewing, but everyone who enjoys beer.

“Knowing about how beer, wine and such are made, it will help you enjoy it more,” he said.

Beerology will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Chris Lindahl can be reached at clindahl@gazettenet.com.