Monday, March 11, 2013

Brewing: What's next?

Posted By on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 10:26 AM

With any new skill, you reach a point where you have to figure out what comes next. You can see where you'd eventually like to end up, but the intervening steps are a bit of a mystery. How many guitarists finally nail "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and start thinking about learning "Master of Puppets" next? Maybe your friends compliment your Easy Mac preparation for being the best on your dorm floor and you start thinking that the Bœuf Bourguignon recipe is looking tempting.

I've reached that point with home brewing.

I can see being a Brewmaster as a goal, and I have no idea how to get there without flying to Germany (the one in Europe) and asking everyone "Wo sind all die Braumeister bei? Meine hose machen glücklich" until someone will help me.

I've done a few of the low-hanging fruits of homebrewing; for instance: Lagering (a type of beer brewed at colder, more stabilized conditions with a different kind of yeast). Think Beck's or Budweiser, but with more flavor. Actually, don't think about Budweiser. Put it out of your mind. Whatever you do, do not say Budweiser three times while looking into a mirror.

Also, I've been kegging, and it's fantastic. If you homebrew, you entertain people and you have the means to get a keg system, DO IT. It's much nicer to just tell people to serve themselves and not have to worry about all the empty bottles or fridge space. Things with taps just make life easier. If I could rationalize it, I would also install a nacho cheese tap, a ranch tap and a tap-to-be-named-later.

Kegging 5 gallons of beer at a time not only looks awesome, it's easier to clean, and you're rather unlikely to misplace a cylinder. On the down side, you have to learn some of the equipment. You can accidentally connect the wrong similarly looking pieces and end up breaking some of your hardware. I thank the nice people at Beer & Wines Hobbies, Int'L down on South Boulevard for not laughing at me when I tell them some of the stupid things I've done by not paying attention that caused me to have to replace a part. Try getting that sort of consideration when you have to shop at Wal-Mart. (Also, general side note: @*#$ Wal-Mart, those @*#$'ing @*#$'s. I don't think they're a Creative Loafing advertiser, so I can say that.)

One of the simplest but funnest things I've done is labeling. Someone made me my own brewery logo (which is not actually a company, so please don't steal my company name). It's just fun to hand people a bottle of beer with your label on it as a gift. Also, labels let you call dibs on things. Labeling is 9/10ths of the law - just ask the Native Americans.

So, what's next? Mead? Lambic? Smoked beers? Fruit beers? The White House honey porter? I have no idea just yet.

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