I find it appropriate that on a Sunday in Indiana that I’m going to talk about beer.
First, for those who don’t know, liquor sales are illegal on Sunday. Now, they’re not 100% illegal, as you can get a growler filled at most of the local brewhouses around here, but it’s still going to come as a shock to people coming in for the Super Bowl on the 5th, if they think they can walk into a grocery store or a liquor store on Sunday for a case of Bud Light.
Now, I’m not much of a drinker. Honestly, I’m stupid sober, so I have never gotten a kick out of getting drunk. I’m a social drinker, mainly sticking with Guinness or, if available, a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout because, well, it’s a Stout with Chocolate. I do enjoy a Sam Adams Coffee or Chocolate beer on occasion, but I am by NO means an expert, or even slightly knowledgeable on the subject.
While I don’t know much about beer, I DO enjoy creating things, building things, and sharing things. With this in mind, I was gifted a Mr. Beer Homebrewing Kit for Father’s Day last year. What a Mr. Beer kit does is let someone like me be able to make a drinkable beer from the base components. It’s fairly idiot proof, and acts a lot like “Beer for Dummies.” Essentailly make sure all of your tools are sanitized, follow the directions on boiling and mixing, and don’t get in a hurry. The kit tells you that you can have beer in as little as 3 weeks, but it’s best to give it more time to ferment, carbonate, and condition, because then you get a better taste.
The kit I received contained what is known as a LBK (Little Brown Keg), sanitizer, two kits to make batches of beer, and enough plastic bottles to be filled by one LBK that should be reusable. I don’t have the kits in front of me, but I seem to recall that one was a lager and one was an ale, neither of which I’m familiar with or drink on any sort of regular basis. Also, the plastic bottles were a bit large and they honestly seem to be a bit too much beer for one sitting.
I did my first batch back in October, and it got a good reception from friends and family who are actually familiar with lagers. I tried it, and while it tasted like beer, I wasn’t familiar enough with that type of beer to know whether or not it was good. However, I was assured by people who understand how to give constructive criticism and that included one REAL homebrewer that it was a good beer, and I hadn’t, in fact, messed it up.
Now, with the girls heading out in a few days, I’m planning on pulling the kit out this coming weekend to try the other batch. This time, I know a bit more of what I’m doing, and I have some better equipment. Also, after doing online research as to which glass bottles can be re-capped (Sam Adams works well) and then supplying alcohol to friends coming over for the holidays, I have a cupboard full of cleaned beer bottles awaiting brew to fill them. All I need is a capper and caps, and I’m set there. However, I have a few weeks before I have to get that equipment, as I’m not putting it in the keg for at least a week, and then not taking out and bottling for at least two weeks after that.
I’m really finding this to be fun, and I’m thinking that when I get more room, I might look into getting the actual homebrewing kits, taking off the training wheels, and working on my own stouts and hard ciders. As it stands, at the moment I’ll be happy with what I have and work with it, knowing that they have kits to make stouts and hard ciders out of the LBK I’ve got.