Thursday, March 20, 2008

my home brew creeps up

A few days ago I was paroozing the shelves of Wayside and came across a novel item – root beer home brewing extract. It was a little dusty and hidden behind more popular items but I was intrigued. Home brewing has been on the radar for a while now. I was asked by my editor if I wanted to add it to the book, but told them I had no experience. But being asked about it has sparked a hell of an interest. I now have a growling desire to learn how to make hard cider and mead (I have bees coming, you know) but it seems like a long and hard to learn process. Not that that’s deterred me before, but the horror stories of people having over yeasted bottles exploding in their kitchens or poisoning themselves seemed like good enough reasons to let this practice to the experts. But Bruce and Diana brewed their own wines all the time, racking them in their basement and serving up delicious and potent drinks whenever I visited ( I still dream of their apple Riesling). Anyway, the root beer project seemed harmless. I didn’t need any complicated vats or tubing and the whole process from stovetop to cold in your hands took only 2 weeks. I could use regular kitchen yeast and ferment it in a 2-liter soda bottle. Pretty straight forward right? Also, trying something non alcoholic first seemed like a safe start.

So last night I was in my kitchen mixing a concoction of water, sugar, root beer extract and yeast on my range with a big wooden spoon. When I felt confident I followed the directions right, I poured it into an empty 2-liter and watched the foaming yeast rise to the top, which would in theory, carbonate it. After it was ready to drink, I would pour the plastic bottle into a nicer serving jug (yet to found on ebay, but you just wait) and place it in the fridge to serve cold. Technically, I should have bottled the beer right in their own bottles and let them ferment naturally by their. lonesome. Next time.

So if all goes as planned their will be Vermont Homestead Ben and Jerry’s root beer floats here when the Macks come. Hopefully sipped with a chorus of chirping chicks.

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