Friday Beer Blogging: Make It Yourownself (Plus BONUS Cat Blogging with FLAIR)

By popular demand, this week we raise a chipped stein to the folks who get their beer the old-fashioned way: by making it theirownselves.

Homebrew 3

A short story; bear with me. Picture a freshman dorm in Colorado. Two friends have to run out to the homebrew supplier so it’s up to me to watch ten gallons of boiling, stinking pumpkin beer mash. For those of you who aren’t brewers, that’s roughly what it would smell like if Halloween died in a hot, sealed room and stayed there for a week. Rachel, a feared RA who loved nothing more than to bust students doing outlawed things like brewing beer, wanders in holding her nose.

“Whad are you doing?”
“Uh, ”
“Cooking dinner.”
“Seembs like a lod…”
“Guests.”
“Whad is dat?”
“…Gazpacho. Ukranian pumpkin stew. It’s a family specialty. Want to try some?”
“Gick.”
“Your loss. Sorry about the smell.”

I like to think that some day in the future she grabbed a waiter at a fine restaurant and declared, “I’ve seen gazpacho, and THAT’S NOT GAZPACHO.” Or something to that effect. The beer was worth the wait.

Have a secret recipe? A yeast/malt/hops combination that shames Rochefort #10? Have at it in the comments.

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In the spirit of making it yourownself, this week’s non-beer alternative is glogg, a Swedish holiday drink that’s served like tea. Goes to your head faster than warm sake if you’re not careful.

glogg 2

You can find a classic recipe here, but you can do just as well with a neutral alcohol like vodka, some sugar and whole ripe fruit of your choice. Mix the alcohol, sugar and fruit in a large mason jar, leave in a closet and forget about it for a year or so. Then add spices and serve warm. Alternatively, a friend with a pear tree simply pulls pears off his tree, steeps them in vodka for a year and serves it cold in a shotglass. Delicious. His favorite trick is to tie a narrow-mouthed jar to the pear bud and let the pear grow inside it.

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Bonus links:

* Beer and microscopes with polarizing condensers. Cool.
* Find about more about homebrewing from the American Homebrewers Association.
* Image sources: here, and here.

*** Update ***

[from John] A Friday twofer: Beerblog, plus Cat Blogging (with flair!)


Tunch on the printer posing.


Posing is hard work.








Friday beer blogging: Act Globally, Drink Locally

Picture this scenario. On friday nights you could stop at the local brewpub, but instead you shave a few bucks and stop at the chain sports bar down the street. Now imagine that the brewpub owner, a decent guy who lives with his family a few blocks down the street, sold one too few beers this month and has to take a second mortgage to keep up the pub’s credit rating. This means that instead of spending the summer at a NASA summer camp, the brewmaster’s snotty 10-year-old kid will instead spend the summer huffing glue and looking for trouble. Now imagine that you sometimes forget to lock your car. And you live near a poorly-marked cliff. See where I’m going with this? Even when it seems like you’re spending a bit more, when you add it all up you’re actually saving money.

Let’s kick off friday beer blogging with our favorite local brew joints.

laughing lab

You find Bristol Brewing Company by biking ten minutes south from Colorado College in Colorado Springs. The ride back takes longer because it’s uphill, and because if you’re not stone drunk you’re riding one-handed with a growler full of Winter Warlock in the other. In a city that hardly lacks for brewpubs you can do much, much worse.

In the interest of full disclosure I should point out that my friend Jason is their head brewer, my old Cell Biology professor does something scientifical on their payroll and Mike Bristol is one of my favorite people anywhere. But that should hardly cloud my judgment, when their beer does that just fine.

church brew works

For a while my fiancee and I spent weekends touring the old stone churches that you see practically everywhere in Pittsburgh. Even the major cathedrals took us weeks, a few standouts being a Serbian Orthodox cathedral perched on a cliff on the North Side and the grand cathedral on Polish hill, whose enthusiastic caretaker practically adopted us into her family. God help anybody who tries to see everything in a city this old and faith-dense. However, one pilgrimage we made on a regular basis was the Church Brew Works, on Liberty Ave. in Lawrenceville. The food is freakishly good, and you pay for it, but the sermon that gets served up every day is what they make in the gleaming fermenting tanks behind glass where the altar used to be.

Who are the brewers in your neighborhood? Discuss.

***Update***

By popular demand, here is your non-beer friday night alternative:

Highland Park

One of the best single malts that I’ve tried. And yes, I’ve tried Laphroaig.