Every couple of months, my kitchen (yes, I call it “mine” and I don’t my husband would even bat an eye at that) turns into the best kind of science lab. Huge pots line the stove, precisely measured bags, vials, and containers line the counter, a tangled pile of copper pipe sits connected to the faucet and waiting to be used, a 5 gallon bucket with a spigot waits to be filled, and meticulous timers are set to make sure the experiment is a success.
The disaster that is created is overwhelming but the eventual product is worth it: beer.
A few years ago, I gifted my husband with a beer making kit for Christmas. We aren’t talking about the little, 1 gallon “Mr. Beer” kit here, but rather, an enormous 5 gallon, at home kit complete with mysterious, unheard of items like Carboys, wort chillers, secondary fermentors, and a hydrometer. I also threw in a book to provide a little explanation of my gift and a kit full of the necessary beer making ingredients for his first batch.
I wasn’t sure if it would be a hit or not but, one thing I do know, men like beer and men enjoy the pride surrounded making something all their own so, the husband was a happy camper.
We set to work, spending an entire day readying ourselves for the first batch. Everything was sterilized, distilled water was purchased, the brewing chapters of the book were read and re-read, the kit and its ingredients were studied over and over. In the end, the beer was brewed, the beer was bottled, the beer was good.
A trend had started.
Now, it is not an uncommon thing to find a 5 gallon bucket in our office, wrapped in a towel, blanket, or other warmth promoting item, thermometer sticking out, bubbling and fermenting away. Currently, we have a bucket of Bourbon Barrel Old Ale bubbling a way, as it will be for the next 6 months! (This is the first one that we have made that takes so long from start to finish, that kind of patience is a tough thing to muster!)
It’s amazing, I never truly understood everything that went into the beer making process and still struggle to imagine it on a large scale. It has lent a whole new appreciation to the craft brewers of the world, it makes you appreciate the notes and flavors developed in beer, and the complexity of the recipes. It also made me more of a beer drinker than I ever thought I would be!