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Brewing his way through the pandemic

Local culinary instructor has mastered the art of home brewing.

SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. — During the pandemic, many people have been forced to work from home.

That includes Jim Gurcsik, who's the culinary instructor at Schuylkill Technology Center near Minersville.

So, what's he done to kill some time at his humble abode? He's mastered the art of home brewing.

"The beer shortage was going down, people were going to beer stores and it's just kind of a pain," Gurcsik said. "I didn't want to be involved out there with other people, I didn't want to be exposed, masks or no masks, so I just made it myself."

Gurcsik has a pretty legitimate set up in his garage that he built all by himself and he's spent much of the quarantine period experimenting like a mad scientist brewing all types of beer, seltzers, and wine.

He recultures his own yeast and grows his own hops.

Even his chickens have made out pretty well too, feasting on all the leftover grain.

When he's needed some assistance, his kids have been there to help out and learn about the process. 

"They help me grind the grain, they mash in, they help with the boil process," Gurcsik added. "They help feed the chickens the spent grain, then get the eggs from the chickens. It's full circle. The kids really love it and they can understand that being home and doing it on your own isn't really that hard."

His neighbors aren't complaining either.

"I do the hobby for fun and my biggest problem is I have too much beer and I'm not selling it or anything, I'm just finding ways to give it away.

Jim has tested out a bunch of different beers and he's gotten creative with the names.

For instance, right now, he's making a New England Style IPA called WNE-IPA, named after the News Station, which will be out in a few weeks.