Monday, May 4, 2009

I brew beer

Yeah I do.
At long last, I've gotten around to brewing. Thanks to a new house and the space that comes with it, I have room to brew. However, my first batch wasn't done in the house. I did it at Shenandoah Brewing in Alexandria, Va.
The idea was to get a batch under my belt before heading to the brewery supply store. That way, hopefully, I'll have a better idea of what I need and what I don't. Now that the first batch is behind me, is that the case? Probably not due to the professional equipment I used at Shenandoah, but I do have first-hand knowledge of the process.

For the inaugural brew, I followed Shenandoah's recipe for Hoppy Brown Ale. Brown ales are pretty straightforward beers, so I thought it would be a good place to begin. The beer used typical brewer's yeast, dark malted barley and two types of hops: Chinook and East Kent Golding.

Once the brewing is done, Shenandoah holds onto the vat of beer until it's ready to bottle. In my case, that's May 30. My buddy Tim, who pitched in on the brewing, will make a return appearance to help me bottle five cases of beer. That works out to 120 beers. That works out to a lot of beer.

As you might expect with a 2,000 year old process, brewing beer is fairly simple. The trick is in the combination of hops, malt, yeast and water. Each of these ingredients has many, many varieties, which can be combined in various ways and amounts. Throw in the fact that yeast is a living organism that sometimes does what it wants, and you have the potential for quite a few outcomes, i.e. beers.
Anyway, for as nice as Shenandoah's facility is, this batch will probably be the only one I'll brew there. The next step is to move the brewing from the brewery to my basement.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Drew, congratulations with your first brew! Looking forward to here how this beer will taste?

cheers from Copenhagen!