Ghost River is a staple in the Memphis beer community and has been since it first opened seven years ago. The number of craft breweries nationwide grew from more than 1,500 breweries to almost 5,000 and Memphis alone added three of its own. A growing local craft beer community also brought a greater interest in the art of homebrewing, especially for a some of the brewers at Ghost River.
Ghost River has a number of employees that not only brew at work but also find the time to brew at home.
Mike Clements is a 60-year-old homebrewer who has competed in several local and national homebrewing competitions for twenty years. He is also a brewer at Ghost River and has been since it opened in 2009. In his seven years at the brewery, Clements has noticed that the local homebrewing community has gotten much bigger.
“It’s definitely grown. When I started with the Bluff City Brewers and connoisseurs, we had about a dozen active members.” Clements said,”And like I say these days, last time I talked to the guys they were in excess of 70 active members.”
And that number doesn’t account for the homebrewers in Memphis that aren’t members of any local association like 32-year-old Tyler Nelson. Nelson is also a brewer for Ghost River and homebrewing is an outlet for him to show his creativity.
“So beer kind of entered me into the world of craft and creativity really. Because, I mean I consider myself a creative person.” Nelson said,” But like I don’t do art in the sense that’s like, I don’t paint and make songs or do poetry or anything but like my creativity comes out like a chef ya know.”
Homebrewing is more than just a job to both Clements and Nelson, it’s a big passion. For Clements especially, the craft of brewing beer at home allows him to come up with something original unique while hanging with friends. But he also takes pride in teaching people interested in learning how to brew for themselves.
“You know we’d have once a year a ‘teach a friend to homebrew day’ and you know we’d have a dozen guys homebrewing and another dozen guys that have never brewed before thinkning they want to learn how to brew and they’d show up and we’d train ‘em to brew.”