None of us here at CBW work for the brewery full, or even part, time. We all must continue with our day jobs (for now, at least!). Mine is a grant-based project at UB, and after we found out that we were refunded (and that I would, in fact, still have employment come next month) I thought it would be a good time to take a week off. What better thing to do with a week off than to brew a hell of a lot of beer? Five days, five batches for me.
We’re currently on day four, and while the weather certainly could be nicer, it’s nothing sitting in the garage and wearing a hoodie can’t fix. This week has reinforced how great of a hobby brewing is, and so while I can’t wait to do this and be able to sell it I also need to encourage everyone reading this to try it. I’m also incidentally becoming president of one of the local homebrew clubs tomorrow, so, y’know, drop me a line at my first name at this domain if you’re interested.
So, what have I made? I started with a pumpkin ale, which was initially supposed to be fermented inside of a pumpkin until I ran out of time and could have either spent $40 for the privilege of probably infecting the beer or just put it in a bucket like a normal person. So, my apologies for overhyping things.
The rest of the week has been spent on American Pale Ales. They aren’t test batches for the brewery in the sense that we’ll be using any of them ingredient for ingredient, but hopefully we’ll be able to sit around and pick out things we do and don’t like and go from there. I have a thing for naming conventions with my beer: I don’t make labels, but I do like to name them all, and as these were four related beers I needed a quartet of names to go along with it (the pumpkin beer, incidentally, is How Did You Fit A Whole Pumpkin Into That Tiny Cup, a reference to the heyday of How I Met Your Mother). I eventually landed on the four part title track of The Decemberists’ latest album, The Hazards of Love.
Ready for nerd talk? If you don’t brew yourself then this will probably be unintelligible, and I apologize, but let me point out that next Saturday (!) you can come see the handsome men of CBW conjure beer live at the Bidwell market! Others who are better able to avoid unnecessary jargon will be there to demystify the process.
Hazards I: The Prettiest Whistles is fairly heavy on sorachi ace, as far as hops go, because that’s what I had on hand. I also used up most of the Canadian 2 row I had sitting around, with a good dose of victory and a touch of bisquit malt as well. Hazards II: Wager All is essentially the same beer because I was too tired and lazy to go to Rudy’s house to beg for more hops. This time the base malt is pilsner: let’s see if we can taste the difference! There are even amounts of victory and bisquit this time, because I ran out of the former.
Today is Hazards III: Revenge! (the exclamation point is my favorite part). Armed with Rudy’s generous donation of hops, this will probably be the most standard APA of the lot, sporting a blend of 2 row, UK Golden Promise and German pilsner as I wanted to use up the scraps I had left over. Okay, so that part isn’t really ‘standard APA.’ Then there’s some Munich malt, a bit of wheat and a small touch of bisquit (I like biscuity flavors: sue me!). The hops are Cascade, Centennial and Columbus, and following the recommendations in Brewing Classic Styles I may not dry hop at all.
Tomorrow’s finale, Hazards IV: The Drowned, will not be much of an APA at all. Personally, I certainly don’t mind having our flagship beer not fit into any specific style guidelines, and so I’ll use CBW Expat Matt’s suggestion of adding some special b and aromatic malts, as well as possibly some amber, and probably produce something close to the emerging Cascadian Dark Ale category. We’ll see!
Though it’s a vacation, I’m finding myself more exhausted than usual: brewing is tiring work. It’s a tough job, but hey: someone has to do it. More excitement awaits you next week.