So far this summer has been pretty busy (I say this as we come to the end of it). Seems like I have found at least one contest a month to drop beers off for. Today I did the drop off for the Michigan Ren Fair home brew contest. Sadly, I missed it last year. I like the idea of this contest cause it gives me an excuse to go to the ren fair (instead of the simple fact that I really am just that geeky). I plan to make it to the award ceremony for this contest in the middle of September. Its a great excuse to dress up in chainmail and carry weapons and try to get samples of great beer.
Now for happy dances…
So, one of the drop off points for the Ren Fair contest is at Siciliano’s Market in Grand Rapids. Of course this is the closest drop off point for me (only an hour away). The advantage of this is, Siciliano’s does not mail out score sheets for their contest. You have to go to the store to get your sheets (if you do not make it to their awards ceremony). This would be a point of major annoyance to me if they were not a drop off point for so many other contests that happen in Michigan.
This means that it is usually a month or two (maybe a couple more) before I finally find out how my beer did in their contest. It through me off today when I scooped up my sheets today and then the guy who found them for me also pulled out a medal to go with them. It would appear that my dunkleweizen did well enough to earn itself a bronze (of course only a half point away from qualifying for silver). I will say this, picking up a medal for your beer is such an amazing feeling. Ya, I feel I have gained a brief moment to pat myself on the back.
And with all that said, its time to get back to work. The Bitters is now on tap. The heather ale will be going into conditioning in a few more days. And I believe I will be brewing up an agave wheat around the end of this week. I haven’t worked out the details just yet for the recipe of the agave. Its one I just have a bit of an idea worked out in my head. I do believe that I have a name for it already, but I won’t know for sure till its actually brewed.
Its now time for a pint.
There is a couple books that I have taken up at this time. The first is “Radical Brewing” by Randy Mosher. I love this book, this is my second time through. The brewing knowledge that Mosher brings to the table is phenominal. When you are looking to expand upon your brewing skills this is a must read book. Wow, I am almost at a loss for words when I want to talk about the different parts of the book that have had an impact on me. I will say that, his description of the birth of civilisation is one I use when I talk about the birth of brewing. Honestly, it would have to take something as great as beer to stop us from heading the call of the open road.
The next book was a lucky find. I stopped in to Barnes and Noble today and went through the booze section looking for something that might pique my interest. Usually, all I can find there are either books I already have or ones that do not have enough value for where I am skill wise (most of the books are built around beginner levels and extract recipes). What I did find though made me quite happy. They had a single copy of “Brewing with Wheat” by Stan Hieronymus. Now I could have gotten this book online quite easily before now. But really, its much more satisfying when you find it through a search and conquer quest.
Stan has an engaging writing style that I find enjoyable. Aside from his book “Brew like a Monk” I have become a semi regular reader of his blog. Already I am barely into the first chapter I am getting ideas for wheat beers that I will be brewing in the near future.
Both Mosher and Hieronymus share one thing in common. They don’t spoon feed you recipes. They give you the information you need to build your own recipes. To me this is the most important part of brewing. Whether the final beer is good or bad, I want to know that the beer I have created comes from me. This is also why I pushed myself to move from extract brewing to all grain brewing as fast as I could. I want to know that I have as much control as possible in what it is I brew. Mind you, if it was feasible for me to grow my own barley and hops I would be looking to do that too. I so need more time for the things I want to do, instead of the things I have to do.
Speaking of things I want to do… I want a pint.