In 2007 I was surprised by my good friend Michael with a birthday present of a homebrewing kit. He had been homebrewing for a year or two at that point, and I have joined him for a couple brew days, showing interest. One day for lunch we stopped off at Northern Brewer so he could pick up some items, and lo and behold, he was picking up the basics for me to get going brewing my own beer.
That day was also memorable because of some health and anxiety issues, but what I remember today is that 10 years ago I got my start into a hobby that would in many ways define who I am. My personal tagline is “Running, beer, and geeky stuff”, which really defines the things that I love doing, and define who I am as a person. Beer is a big part of my life, as a connoisseur and as a brewer. A wonderful evening out with the wife at a taproom is pure happiness for me.
To celebrate my 10 year anniversary, this past weekend I brewed up two different batches of beer. Even though I’ve done plenty of all-grain batches, and am a big advocate of Brew In A Bag (BIAB), I decided to keep things simple. I’ve talked before about how little brewing I’ve been doing, due to all the great craft beer in our area, but I still want to get in a few batches every year. Extract brewing is perfect for someone like myself who knows what they’re doing, but just doesn’t have the time to deal with that extra mash step. It also helped in that this past weekend I pulled a muscle in my back, so my Sunday brew is going very old school and sticking with the stovetop inside, with a smaller quantity of water.
For my first brew this weekend I did a traditional Irish Red. My very first brew in 2007 was an Irish Red, and it seemed appropriate that I do one for my anniversary weekend. This one is my own recipe, and it’s one that has gotten great reviews when I’ve shared it with others. I even got an opportunity to bring a guest keg over to Michael’s annual Oktoberfest, and everyone loved the red I brought.
Brew day went well, and I managed to get everything done before 1pm. The beer is bubbling away, and smells delicious. However, I believe that it was carrying the 5.5 gallons of wort around that injured my back. I’m sure that will be a memory that will stick with me.
My second brew of the weekend is in honor of my love of black ales. I’m making a somewhat hoppy black ale, hopped with Willamette and Cascade for a nice aroma and taste. I also am using Midnight Wheat as part of the adjuncts, which is one of my favorite malts to blacken a beer without too much astringency. I’m hoping for a nice, mildly hoppy, dark ale to get me through any cold days we still have coming up.
Since I’m brewing this second batch inside, on my stove top, I feel like I’m coming back to my roots. This is where I started my beer brewing adventure, and this is where I’m celebrating a full decade of wonderful hoppy and malty goodness. Here’s to another wonderful ten years of beer adventures!