Thursday, April 14, 2005

Beer Class II

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.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Beer Class

I saw in the Underground community news bulletin thing that some local brewery is having a "brew your own beer" two-part seminar where you get hands-on experience making your own batch of brew. You get to choose from most of the major styles, and take home a case and a half, completely bottled and ready to drink. The first class is tomorrow and the next one is in about a month when the fermentation or whatever is done. I'm hoping to do a belgian white beer-type thing.

It's been a long time since I took a class of any sort, and my main worry just now was that I'd have to be paired up with some dumbass. Oh, shit—what if Ray's in the class and we wind up as partners? Nah, if Ray wanted to learn to brew beer he'd fly a dude in from the Pacific Northwest and basically ignore me. Wait, that already happened. Sorry, sore subject.

I'm sure I'll have something to tell when I get back. Going to a beer-making class at 10am on a Saturday is a blog entry just dying to come into the world kicking and screaming. Maybe I'll hang out at the 7-11 next to the brewery before class and see how many of the aspirin/MGD customers toddle over to the seminar (or teach it).

Friday, April 01, 2005

There is a baby around

So Chris and Liz finally had their baby girl, and it's been pretty topsy-turvy in the house since then. It's hard to get any solid sleep, but I'm not considering moving out or anything. Chris says the baby's schedule evens out and it starts sleeping through most of the night within a few months. I think he felt kind of bad—he actually thought to buy me a bottle of Dalwhinnie at Trader Joe's, to help me stay asleep through the constant minor disturbances in the house. He's never done anything like that before. Maybe this baby is humanizing him a little bit. In the past we didn't really get much out of him other than occasionally watching Mr. Show DVDs together or drinking a bunch of beer and shooting his pellet gun at expired eggs, but lately he's seemed more...accessible. Maybe the veil comes down with enough sleep deprivation.

Whoah. I just walked into the kitchen to get a Diet Pepsi and he stormed in, the baby screaming its head off in the other room. He reached into the silverware drawer, pulled out a chopstick, and broke it furiously over his knee before throwing it into a corner and storming back out. He didn't even notice me.

I'm going to lock my bedroom door tonight. I don't think he'd actually use me as a thing to kill, but it at least might keep him from coming in and snapping my Giant Sequoia novelty pen in two (when you lean the pen over, the car rolls through the car-size hole in the giant sequoia).