Wednesday, August 17, 2005
The Brewing Experience: Inspiration
I was just checking out a discussion over at fngeeks. Jeremy is one of the people that runs the site and posted a link to this blog. Thanks Jeremy :-) Anyway, I was reading peterfn's post in the f'n bar discussion. He mentioned that he has brewed in the past, but, that he hasn't been active recently. I can identify with that. I seem to brew a few batches and not get back to it for a while. At one point I think I stopped for 4 or 5 years. The summer is especially tough due to the temperature issues. I just found that out with my Altbier. That's the thing about brewing. There are so many variable factors. Why do we do it? So we can drink beer that we made ourselves of course :-) This post will be the beginning of a series of posts about my brewing experiences. I became involved in brewing when my Dad started making his own wine. He started back in the early 90's. His inspiration has its roots in his childhood. As a kid growing up in rural Central/Western, PA he helped make beer and root beer for each Forth of July. As he tells it the finished product was a lot different. Not exactly up to par with the microbrews on the market today. They used to do some strange stuff like putting a raisin in the bottle before capping it for carbonation, but, that's a post for another day. His father also made his own wine back then. These experiences inspired my dad to try his hand at making his own wine. During weekend visits with him we would sample wine from the previous year while preparing a new batch. It was so cool to think he made the wine we were drinking and it was good. He eventually suggested that I try it out, but, I'm not much of a wine drinker. Then the conversation turned to making beer. His friend Frank had been making wine and brewing beer for a long time. Eventually he offered to show us how to make beer. I was so "into" microbrews back in 1996 that I jumped at the opportunity. I think my favorite beer back then was...um let's see...this is a hard one ;-)...anything from Sam Adams...heheh...oh except the cranberry lambic (shudder). The first beer we made was an awesome Octoberfest that Frank just knew how to brew from memory. No instructions at all! I'm still amazed at that. I split the batch with my Dad and I think it was gone in a matter of weeks. I shared it with my friends saying, "Hey we made some beer. Wanna try it?". When they said it tasted really good I was hooked. So there you go...I decided to get my own equipment and read everything under the sun about it. Next time I'll post about my first batch.