Beer: a begining

Ok, so you all aren’t crazy.  This is Dave, Cindy’s husband, and I am hijacking (with permission) my lovely wife’s blog to write a test-blog of my own.  You see I am considering starting my own blog, but I want to make sure the process doesn’t completely annoy me before I register the domain.  So if you will indulge me for a moment, here we go…

As you may, or may not know, I discovered beer about 3 years ago in a BIG way.  Prior to that, I would occasionally have one with a friend, but truly didn’t like it.  As it turns out, the problem was that I kept ordering either pale and flavorless American swill-water, or VERY hoppy, and/or VERY bitter beers.  I had absolutely NO idea whatsoever what the differences in styles were, and how varied the flavors of beer are.  I just followed what the people around me were drinking…or stuck with Rum and Coke.

Then I stumbled upon a beer called Gulden Draak and I was hooked.

Gulden-Draak

Now HERE was something I could really enjoy.  Dark…malty….not too bitter…

nearly like bread in a bottle, but notes of dates, plums, and other stone fruits.  THIS was something completely different.  This led me to other beer styles; Bock, and Dopplebock, Barleywine, and finally the Belgian Trappists.

Rochefort, Chimay, Orval, Achel, Westmalle, and LaTrappe all graced my table and quickly established themselves as my ‘style of choice’

The problem:  Trappist Beer is EXPENSIVE!!!!

So I had to dig out some very old information that I had on brewing.  You see, once upon a time back in the early 90s, I was in my 20s, and had a friend for a short time who brewed his own beer.  He even let me try my own recipe for an oatmeal stout that HE said tasted pretty good.  I just liked how it smelled while it cooked and never actually drank any of it myself.  At any rate, I wasn’t ever able to dig up my notes, but eventually found John Palmer’s Book How to Brew online.  I followed that up with Brew Like a Monk and Brewing Classic Styles. The rest is, as they say, history.

How much history?  Well, its taken 3 years for me to get both the gear, and the time, to brew my own beer.  During that time, I have devoured every bit of information that I could find on the subject of beer or homebrewing.  Finally for Christmas this year, I got the White House Honey Porter and the White House Honey Ale  small batch kits from Cindy’s mom (THANKS ANNE!!!)   These kits are fantastic for beginners or someone who is just starting out.  Both are extract kits, with specialty steeping grains for the specific color and flavor profiles of these beers.  I won’t go into exactly what those terms mean here, since this is REALLY my wife’s blog, but if I start my own blog, I’ll go through it all there.  To date, I have brewed the Honey Porter kit, AND just put an Irish Ale of my own design into the fermenter.  The Honey Porter goes into bottles this weekend for final conditioning, and the Irish Ale should be out just in time for St. Patrick’s day!  I’ll let you know on MY blog how the brew-days went, and how they turn out.

Thank you for reading this, and letting me take over the blog for a short time.  I now return you to your regularly scheduled programing….