I’ve learned a new language. Here’s a sample:
add strike water to grain bill in tun.
or, allow for conversion by leaving mash covered for an hour
or, lauter until wort exiting tun is no longer cloudy
or, boil wort, cool, siphon into carboy and pitch yeast
This is the language of brewing. I was examining my life a bit, when I realized; I know someone who smokes their own fish and meat, I know someone who makes their own tonic (like tonic for gin & tonics!), and I know someone who pickles everything imaginable from their own garden… how incredible is it to be self-sustaining in the 21st century? It’s a novel concept, and yet it was common practice 3 or 4 generations ago.
I have noticed the trend, and hopefully I am not the only one so excited about it, that singular good producers and service suppliers are reentering the markets, battling with the sometimes terrifying monster that is globalization, but emerging from the past nonetheless. So while I can pick up some fresh milled rye flour and handmade soap from my farmer’s market, a pound of fresh pasta from Dave’s, and any fresh baked loaf from Iggy’s, I can also crack open a bottle of my own home-brewed beer.
It’s so brilliant and so ordinary all at the same time. Now do not read this as a cry for complete self reliance. There is no way I can willingly give up my Piedmont-ese wine, South American 70% dark chocolate, and Ugandan coffee beans. My claims are more of a cry for awareness, for balance. I figured, sure, I can brew beer. And so I did! It was as simple as such. If there’s a farmer’s market near by, go to it. It’s just like a grocery store, but all of the produce is infinitely of better quality because it’s fresh and it’s local.
Regardless of the significance, let me say, these brews are coming out damn good.
The process, essentially:
The first go around was a basic brown ale. It had bright hop flavors co-mingling with caramel roast-y notes. Though über low on carbonation, soda-like carbonation is something we have been tricked into accepting more of from the commercial producers, it’s a result that I am very pleased with and would absolutely enjoy if I had picked it up as a 6-pack from any of my favorite breweries.
The second round brewed at home was a English pale ale, classified as an Extra Special Bitter *Extra special…oooh, aaah*. Sipping it right now, for the first time after bottling on Saturday, another success. Imagine you’ve taken a seat at the bar of a pub, maybe not in London, but in some town representative of authentic England, maybe a sort of rural location. The interior’s dark, with weathered leather seating, and an older gentleman polishing glasses behind the counter. This is what’s on draft. You can’t taste the hops, but the bitterness is there as an after taste, the carbonation of fine bubbles imparts a silky sort of feel, and there are notes of biscuity malt and even some of those banana esters. It’s real nice.
This is probably the most shocking aspect of the whole production. This brown liquid, strained off of a pile of milled malt, bubbling away in the hallway upstairs, morphed into some good, honestly delicious, beer. I can’t say exactly what I was expecting, perhaps this reveals my pessimistic tendencies!
This is nice: Craft Beer – A Hopumentary
p.s. I highly suggest clicking the links I provide while writing all these posts, otherwise it’s likely that you can’t understand a fu**ing thing I am trying to communicate. Listen here, I spent the time learning about it all, you could at least take a look 😉
p.p.s definitely watch this > How Beer Saved the World. It’s hilarious and it’s true. Deal with it, beer allowed for human civilization to evolve.