I had beer class at 10am on Saturday morning so Friday night I took it kind of light, didn't go to Ray's and just hung back watching "Deadliest Catch" on TV (this show about the horrible life of Alaskan crab fishermen, many of whom die every year). I was up bright and early Saturday and decided to walk to the class, which was about a mile away. Felt great.
When I got there no one was around, but the door was open so I wandered in and pretty quick this guy wandered out to meet me. The place was decorated like a really expansive two-level frat house, and smelled like a party. As it turns out the guy was the owner and I was the only dude on the roster who showed up for the class. I guess Saturday morning is not the best time to schedule an event for the alcohol enthusiast.
The dude was super cool and we set about getting a kettle of water hot enough to steep the ground barley mixture into. I had wanted to make a Belgian white ale but he poured me a mug of their blonde ale and I was pretty amenable to that, so I decided to make that. Their beers were strong, around 6-7%. It was a pretty stiff breakfast after the granola bar I had munched on the way up.
We threw the ground barley recipe into a ladies' lingerie bag and let it steep in the hot water for like forty-five minutes or so. After that we removed it and mixed in some syrupy thick stuff, I forget what it's called 'cause we went outside for a smoke and a mug of their California ale, kind of a lighter thing, under 4%. Extract or something. We talked about his tricked-out Ford Fairlane. Apparently it can go 186.
I think immediately thereafter we dropped some Dextrose and some other substance in and mixed it up pretty well. Then it was time for the hops. We mixed in three different kinds of hops that looked like little fish food pellets. I got to grind them up in my hand. If you ever wonder, hops seem like the main thing that ales get their flavor from.
After that we did a lot of stuff but most of it was pretty scientific and not a lot of fun to read about. The basic idea is that he's gonna crash the brew soon and kill the yeast, and in two weeks after that I can pick up all five cases. I'm thinking of throwing a party when I get 'em all back -- no reason Ray can have the only parties around here. My theme is gonna be stuff I made, from the beer, to the sausages, to the salsas, to the lemonade, to the potato salad to the guacamole. I'll prep for three days and get it all planned out, from paper towels to cutting surface area to lawn games. Nice. Maybe I'll do it for my birthday.