Saturday, February 8, 2014

Homebrew Ramblings

So here's the thing. Just in case you weren't aware, I like good beer. I mean, I really like it. A lot.
I travel for it. My wife travels for it. (Actually, supposedly she is traveling for work, but I get beer when she returns, so...) I seek out others who enjoy it. Places that serve it. Books about it. I like to talk about it almost as much as like to drink it. Okay, that's a little far, but you get my point.

All that interest though, had never led me to consider home brewing my own. My aforementioned wife however,  felt compelled to make sure she was a full time beer-widow, and purchased me the full on set up for our 6th anniversary. Not just beer in a box, she went and got a full component kit. And spent lots of her aforementioned hard earned beer money. What pressure! What was I to do? I mean, now I am compelled, nay required by a monetary debt to brew beer! Oh the humanity.

I haven't brewed a lot: 6 solo/lead batches where I was assisted by various people (including my father on Father's Day weekend), assisted on 2 with a local team (Bearded Duck, Matt Orcutt & Ron Drake), collaborated with a guy from our state beer group the morning of a tasting, and am now collaborating with a buddy in town on a regular schedule (Right Side Brewing, Ryan Paskiewicz, 2 batches in).  They also haven't all been winners, some have been kinda bad honestly. But they've been drinkable, and there is a rewarding feeling drinking something you've spent multiple hours brewing, multiple weeks watching, and multiple weeks waiting to try after bottling/kegging. Sometimes it's a let down. Sometimes is surprising and awesome. Sometimes you wonder where that flavor even came from. And sometimes you just don't care, and happily drink your 4-5 gallons way quicker than you should.

It's time consuming. It's not a ton cheaper, but I guess that depends on your average expenditure. It can be tedious. It is FAR more enjoyable with a partner. Also with 'some' beer shared during. Emphasis on some, because, well, quality control. It's messy. Sanitizing, set-up, break down, clean up is more than half the job. You are required to have facial hair of epic proportions. While that's not 100% true look around, it's kind of an unwritten rule. Or maybe it's directly proportional to quality. Hmm. Maybe I need to study that more.

What's the point you ask? Ummm, I forgot...I was enjoying a homebrew. Just teasing. I mean, I am having a homebrew, I just didn't forget.

It's not the glamorous life these titans of the craftbeer industry lead. Many walk around smelling like malt and grains and hops. So make sure to appreciate the beer you choose to drink. Life is too short to make poor beer choices. Whatever your choices are. Get on social media, find the brewery, thank them. Tell them how much you enjoy the fruits of their labor. Visit a brewery and see the processes.

And if you decide to brew...take pride, take care, and enjoy.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

13 Months

I love writing.
I always have.
I love reading.
I always have.
I began reading at an earlier age. I was no prodigy, but I was voracious. Reading 30+ books at 5 is pretty good; and they were books--more than 5 minutes of big type, one word a page kid stuff--and I read them, they were not read to me.
I started writing in 3rd grade thanks to a fantastic teacher who instilled both a sense of creativity and cognition in me. Creative writing assignments on Fridays, followed by sports card displays and trades for inspiration.Cognitive writing assignments on Tuesdays, with recess on the horizon, just out of reach.
I learned to love both. LOVE.
Through many ups and downs, books have been there for me to dive into, to lose the world of reality, join a brigade of dreamers. Writing was an extension of that. It took me from someone else's thoughts, to my imagination, to a world of my own. Good times? Write it out. Bad times? Write it out. Really bad times? Write it out.
I wrote through High School, on assignments, and for pleasure. I continued through college, same reasons applicable. I got good. I studied. I wrote more. I got better. I listened. I won awards. I shared. I got published.
Then...I stopped.
I can't even tell you why. Or maybe I can. Either way, there wasn't a REASON. Oh, sure, there were EXCUSES. Tons of those. Those don't count. In any case. I quit. I became what I hate. A quitter. I get a chill just being that honest with myself. With whatever random reader may be out there.
So, when we moved to England, I knew I had to start again. I did. I loved it. There was a lot to write about. But it wasn't really inspired. It was, however, cathartic, needed. It was not always easy for this dramatic dude. Dramatic dude? Whatever, no delete button, go with it.
We came home. I slacked again. But I thought. I at least did that. I knew what I wanted to do, and I formed ideas. A beer blog. I know there are many, and many better than mine. But I was merging two passions. It seemed logical. It seemed right. Furthermore? Plenty of inspiration, considering I get struck by a quality brew on a regular basis.
It started off on fire. I loved it. I was taking notes, and considering angles, pictures, environments, company. It was FUN. I was committed, I was inspired. Finally. It felt so good,
This is my first post since 2012. 13 months since I even logged in. I am ashamed to admit it, but I am a needy guy. I noticed no one was reading it. I let that get to me. I got dismayed. I got down. I let something I enjoyed be affected by outside influences. Awful. Artists--if I may be so bold--should NEVER be affected by critics. Musicians should play because they hear. Artists should paint because they see. Writers should write because they imagine. They shouldn't get critiqued out of their passion, their hunger, their need. They shouldn't be bullied into a societal norm. (Not going to get political. Yet) They should just let  it  flow.
So. I'm going to try. I'm going to try and be better. As I sit here with my vintage 2012 Sierra Nevada Narwhal--yes, the EXACT same beer I drank on my last post (yay for cellaring)--I am going to commit to TRY. To write when I FEEL. About whatever I feel.
I'd love it if you joined me. I'll try not to be disappointed if you don't. I'll try to be passionate.