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Revolt! Brew your own…

August 13, 2011

Calling all beer lovers.  Rise up and unite to overthrow the monarchy…  First maybe I should explain.

Much to the neglect of the “Global Food Challenge”, I have become a relatively prolific brewer in the past 6 months.  I have made about 9-10 different beers since then and I have to say that as I gained understanding of the processes of brewing, I have begun to churn out some of the tastiest beers I have ever consumed.  No seriously, fresh homemade beer is a superior product to even the most delicious craft brews available that have the disadvantage of being less fresh.  I have even started a mead recently which requires much longer than the average 1 month required to make a good brew…I should be able to sample that in about 6-12 months.  Additionally, when you make a small batch Ale, you cut no corners with ingredients and avoid adjuncts and similar discrepancies.

The part of the process which I have little love for is the act of bottling.  Yet it is a necessary part of the process, perhaps the most important.  A good sealed bottled properly primed is the key to those little tickly bubbles that dance on the tongue carrying the delicious golden beverage to it’s natural resting place.  My belly.  But it is tedious.  And sticky.  Seriously.

The point of my rambling is that I am bottling today.  I have a batch of India Pale Ale or I.P.A. finished with secondary fermentation and it is time to give it the bubbles.  It will be ready to consume in two weeks.

For those of you who enjoy good craft beers, you are probably familiar with Bell’s Brewing’s “Two Hearted Ale” .   This Michigan based brewery started as a home brewing shop and eventually evolved into a favorite regional brewery.  The 2 hearted ale is considered by many to be one of the finest examples of American Style IPA available on the market.   I would tend to agree although American craft brewing has produced many many great beers.  Today’s beer is a clone recipe I devised to mimic Two Hearted.  I have been working on the recipe for months.  In the meantime I have studied, ahem, our nations finest craft brewers.  For innovation and consistent high quality I am a fan of the Dogfish Head Brewery from Delaware.   For a dedication to the ancient Belgian arts, try Upstate New Yorks Ommegang Brewing.

Belgium is famous for their 150+ local breweries (in a tiny country) that produce everything from farmhouse ales to Trappiste Monk open air fermentation and blended sours, the list goes on and on.  Belgium is Mecca for brewers.  My favorite trip with my wife was to Brugges in Belgium where we fell in love with a simple local brew called Brugges Zot or Fool of Bruge.  Anyway, I digress…

In the past 25 years, America has experienced a glorious resurgence of craft and regional brewing.  This could be compared to the French revolution in that the giant corporate brewers (Budweiser, Coors, Miller etc.) had aggressively bought out and diluted the American breweries (1400 or so) since prohibition, until the average American beer had become a pale, watered down, adjuncted lager with little flavor and almost no character.  It would take a genuine organic grassroots revolution to break these chains.  It has begun!  In the past several decades, the number of brewers (it had shrunk to less than one hundred) has rebounded to something like 1400 breweries.  Vive La Revolucion!  But the challenges have been immense with the monarchy hurling every nasty corporate trick in the way of progress…

This is not just my opinion.  Watch this trailer…

http://beerwarsmovie.com/trailer/large/

In recent times, small local and regional beer makers have literally burst free from the chains of substandard brewing to emerge as a global force of reckoning, with establishment of companies that cater to the beer lovers of this country. In so doing they have begun the fight against the big boys and have begun to revolutionize craft brewing, putting the US back on the map and brewing some of the most delicious beers available anywhere on earth in the process.  Hooray Beer!

I cannot stress enough that, although bottling is a drag (easily avoided with a kegerator), home brewing is a simple delicious process that requires little more than some basic equipment and some motivation (easily found when drinking one’s own brew).  If you want to give it a whirl, follow this link and you will get a good lesson in the basics.  Click here to start your journey…:)

In the wise words of Charlie Papazian, “relax drink a homebrew” and be a part of the Great American Craft Beer Revolution…

Photo of Delicious American Craft Beers by David Jensen

Image source: http://beer47.com/2010/05/second-annual-craft-beer-in-can-tasting-sf-beer-week/
"Photo Copyright © 2011 by David D. Jensen. Used with permission." http://beer47.com
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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 8, 2011 8:55 pm

    Hi! I got the link to your blog from Sarah’s blog (What’s Cooking in Your World?)…I wanted to touch base because I am cooking my way around the world, too, and I wanted to meet up with people who are doing a similar project. My blog is located at http://lifeinanarv.blogspot.com and my project is called Around the World in an RV. I, initially, was only going to cook from 52 countries, but the fascination with different cultures was too strong, so I am about to embark on my second year after a 5 or so month break. I do all of this from the galley of my 21-foot fifth wheel with a $20 per week budget. Please get in touch with me because I would love to meet others who share the passion of world cuisine.
    Thanks,
    Laurrie Piland….Life in an RV

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