A fledgling brewing group formed Sunday night. OK, it was more like one guy who knew what he was doing and a bunch of other people who showed up for the beer and pizza. Either way, The Thirsty Beagle and his band of beer-drinking adults of similar interests united over the weekend to create our first batch of beer. The process was enlightening and exciting. In the span of just a few weeks, we will have taken what appeared to be a random assortment of ingredients and contraptions and turned them into a liquid that we can actually consume for our benefit. I’m mean, pretty cool, right?
First off, let me just say what great appreciation I have for skilled home brewers. We brewed from a kit — very little measuring, calculating or guesswork was involved. Would I know how many hops to put in? No. Would I know how much malt to put in? No. Would I have any idea what relative gravity was all about? Heck no. Would I know what types of spices to add to attain the Spiced Winter Ale we’re going to end up with? No. So props to those guys and gals who start from scratch in their kitchen or garage and churn out beer — and good beer at that. I can tell you from my pseudo-judging experience at last year’s Brew at Choc’s Home contest that there are a lot of talented home brewers in this state. A tip o’ the cap to you.
Meanwhile, the fact that we used a kit has not dampened the excitement of the beer production process. A running Facebook commentary from our “brewmaster” has kept us all in the loop. The first notable announcement, a day before brewing: “The ‘smack pack’ has been smacked.” That was followed by a cautionary note the day after brewing: “No bubbles yet… hopefully soon.” And then, like a cold beer on a hot day: “We have bubbles! It’s officially fermenting!” Since then, we’ve had a lot of ”gurgling activity in the airlock.” Sounds like a winner to me!
The Spiced Winter Ale is set to debut officially at The Thirsty Beagle’s third annual, invitation-only gingerALE party in December. A full review will follow.