Computing Consulting

Beer/Brewing Consulting

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Steve Hamburg

Consulting Services, Chicago, Illinois USA

4735 N Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60640-4405
Phone:    (773) 878-0177
Mobile:   (312) 401-0513
E-Mail:    shamburg @

Welcome. From my base in Chicago, I provide consulting services in two seemingly different fields: computing and beer. Strange enough, but I've also had a longtime gig as a High Holiday cantor. For information on the latter, you'll have to speak with me personally.

Otherwise, this site should provide all the background information you'll need if you're interested in employing me on an upcoming software project or beer venture. Cheers!

[Computing ] [Beer & Brewing ] [Chicago Beer Society]

Consulting Services -- Computing

Since 1994 I have performed contract work for businesses and individuals in the areas of:

  • Software Testing and Quality Assurance
  • Software Metrics and Measurement
  • Survey Data Analysis and Design
  • Hardware acquisition, set-up, and configuration
  • Software acquisition and configuration
  • Web site design, setup, and management
  • General computing and Internet training

The bulk of my professional career has been spent in the software industry. From 1979 through August, 1994, I held a variety of positions at SPSS Inc., a major developer of statistical software (now part of IBM). For most of my tenure, my specialty was software quality assurance. I was the company's first full-time tester and was instrumental in the creation of their Quality Assurance Department (1984). Although best-known as that department's senior technical analyst, I also served for 3 years as the company's Manager of Quality Assurance. In 1991-92, I directed the SQA effort on the initial releases of SPSS for Windows (now IBM SPSS Statistics), which is still the leading statistical software for business, government, research and academic organizations.

After over 15 years, the time had come for different professional and personal challenges. Self-employment offered the chance to continue in the computing field while expanding opportunities in others (see below). Since then, I have worked on many projects for multiple companies. Please consult my resume for more detail about my professional and educational background.

Consulting Services -- Beer and Brewing

Beer has been my favorite beverage since college, but the old tastebuds have changed a lot since that first glass of National Bohemian. Now, the only time you'll usually catch me with "beer ordinaire" is at the ballpark, and only rarely. I've enjoyed every step of America's beer renaissance, while also extending my horizons well beyond our shores. My beer travels have included frequent stops in Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, and Japan. I started homebrewing in 1984, beer judging in 1990, and writing, speaking, and teaching about beer around the same time.

Today I work as a free-lance beer writer, speaker, and consultant. From 1992-2012 I was on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Beer Society, one of the country's oldest (founded 1977) and most respected beer organizations. In 1994, I served a term as its President. As of August 2012, I became an Emeritus member of the board.

My articles have appeared in Zymurgy®, All About Beer Magazine, The New Brewer, the first incarnation of Michael Jackson's Beer Hunter Online, Chicagoland Brew News, Beer & Tavern Chronicle, and various publications of the Chicago Beer Society. From December 1997 through December 2000, I authored the regular Illinois News column in Great Lakes Brewing News. I was a member (and past Chairman) of the original North American Guild of Beer Writers and currently serve as Treasurer of the revived Guild. My feature on Marston's Brewery won a Silver Tankard in the Guild's 1997 Quill & Tankard awards (Brewery Profile), while my Illinois News column earned a Silver in 1999.

As a self-described "bitter man," I have a particular interest and expertise in British beer styles. Frequent travel to the UK has led me to many breweries, countless pubs, and regular visits to the Great British Beer Festival (almost every one since 1992). A brief apprenticeship in the craft of cellarmanship (at the White Horse Parsons Green, London) led to consulting opportunities in the States, now that interest in cask-conditioning is on the rise. I have conducted presentations on British Bitter/Pale Ale and cask conditioning/cellarmanship for groups in Chicago, Rockford, Madison, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Baltimore, Washington, DC, Denver, Orlando, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and even London. In 1996, I worked with Ray Daniels to help organize the Real Ale Festival in Chicago. This was the first-ever beer festival devoted to cask-conditioned ales to be held in the United States, and eventually the largest festival of its kind held outside Great Britain. For every festival through the last RAF in 2003, I also served as Cellarmaster. I've continued in this role for the Chicago Beer Society's Day of the Living Ales, a successor event that has operated annually since 2005.

If you are interested in training in cask ale cellarmanship and serving techniques, please contact me.

Between August 1995 and September 1997, I traveled to Japan twice a year to teach beer evaluation, tasting, and judging for the Japan Craft Beer Association. I was able to return to Japan in 2004 to attend the 2nd Tokyo Real Ale Festival and speak on cellaring techniques at the brewers session.

Osaka Class
Osaka Evaluator Class, December 1995, with JCBA Chairman Ryouji Oda, fellow instructors Karen Barela and Ray Daniels, and translators Mika Nakagaichi and Naomi Ito.
Photo: Doug Render


In 2003-2005, I taught a mini course on beer and brewing at the Norris University Center at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.

Here are some notable points about my beer background: