Friday, December 18, 2009

Reset: The homebrew revolution will be broadcast

It's been months since I bothered to dial into the old Gastronomy blog. Stories on DC Foodies have come and gone. I've traveled. I've cooked. I've met more brewers. Got food poisoning. Attended openings and plugged along with the food thing, all of which I chronicled on DC Foodies and to a much lesser extent, Facebook.
In the meantime, this blog sat. I started it to give me a space to add more information about the food columns I wrote for the Times-News. With DC Foodies, I didn't really need it. So posts became more and more forced.
Well, no more. No, now Gastronomy has a new purpose. This will be my new platform to share my efforts with you (and myself) to homebrew my very own beer. I'm psyched.
Once I got into craft beer, cooking and teaching beer classes, homebrewing was probably inevitable. Technically, I've already brewed one batch. One big, God damn batch at Shenandoah Brewing. Listen, I love beer, but five cases of mediocre hoppy brown ale is a lot of beer to go through. I brewed that beer in March and finally killed the last one in early December, and
that was after giving my buddy Tim a case for helping me brew.
Thanks to my lovely wife, I no longer need Shenandoah. She gave me my very own homebrew kit for Christmas. It's all the fun and excitement of a Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle, without the danger of shooting my eye out. Instead of
being forced to brew several cases of beer, each batch will average about 50 beers, which is still a good amount. And smaller amounts mean I can tinker with recipes much more frequently.
I think that's going to be key to learning how to do this properly: repetition. Not only will I be able to play with recipes, but I will also gain a better idea of why the ingredients react the way they do during the various stages of the brewing process.
With any luck, I'll occasionally end up with a few beers I can and want to drink. That's my first goal. Once I get there, I'll start worrying how to make that kind of beer again and again.
Instead of starting off with a weird and tart brown ale, as I did at Shenandoah, I picked up the ingredients for a traditional American pale ale (Amarillo, Sterling and Spalt hops) at myLMBS (My Local Home Brew Supply Shop) in Falls Church. And despite the urging of the guy at the homebrew supply store,
I skipped the beer kit and purchased all the individual ingredients for the beer. Although the beer kits may be quite good these days, I need to learn how to handle the indiviudal ingredients. I may end up regretting that, but I doubt it. With my copy of Charlie Papazian's Joy of Home Brewing at the ready (which I referred to no less than 13 times while talking to the homebrew guy), I think I can handle the process.
So as I go through these recipes and figure out how to be a homebrewer, I'll maintain a running log here. It'll give those of you who are interested a sneak peak into what homebrewing involves, it'll warn my friends when I plan to foist my latest creations on them, and it will help me keep track of my efforts and experiments.
As I said, I'm psyched.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Lots of luck with the brewing activities, Drew! Keep us posted.