Craft beer and homebrewing thoughts

This is my Apr 2, 2015 response on a message board to the following comment by another user:

"But the last thing I want when it is 90 degrees out and I am coming in from mowing the lawn or messing with the boat is a pumpkin peach double hop carmel apple IPA. For that, I honestly would prefer a "piss water" domestic."

Homebrewing solves that problem. If you like cooking or canning, then beer brewing will be easy. Start with a one-gallon kit. A few hours of brewing, two weeks in the fermenter, two weeks in the bottle, ready to drink.

If you start with one-gallon batches, you can use some kitchen tools that you probably already possess. After the initial hardware expenses, I believe that the cost to homebrew a beer averages around $1.00 to $1.50 per 12-ounce bottle. It's a lot cheaper than most commercial craft beers.

We didn't brew much during the winter, so we'll try to catch up now. We brewed two gallon batches on Tuesday night and last night.

Now is good time to start brewing beer, so that you have a ready-supply of drinking fluids on hand for the toxic algae season. If the green wave strikes again, it will be like olden times when people brewed beer because the water was unsafe to drink.

The homebrewers that we've met like to make things. The DIY spirit continues to grow. Gardening, canning, cooking, art, knitting/crocheting, sewing, woodworking, metalworking, etc.

It's unnecessary to understand the science involved in brewing, but many homebrewers enjoy learning the chemistry and biology.

It's unnecessary to create recipes. We've been satisfied with using the recipes from the Brooklyn Brew Shop people. But most homebrewers have the imagination and creativity to build their own recipes. The BeerSmith app is helpful. My wife used the app to create the Belgian Blonde recipe that we brewed on Tuesday night.

A friend is allergic to hops, so I'm excited to try brewing gruits, which are hopless beers. The bittering comes from a wide variety of adjunct possibilities.

Trying to clone favorite craft beers is a popular activity. The first beer that we brewed a year ago, was an attempt to clone the Total Eclipse Breakfast Stout made by the Maumee Bay Brewing Company. Our version turned out excellent. We still have few bottles left for aging.

The combinations of grains, hops, yeasts, and adjuncts are endless. Most homebrewers like challenges and they like to experiment. Sometimes the outcome is great, and other times, it's terrible. I think that a personal competitiveness drives them to create crazy recipes.

And homebrewing can be competitive. Competitions of different sizes are held all over. I think that most of the county fairs around here host a homebrew competition.

A few homebrewers turn their obsession into small businesses that employ people to manufacture and sell products that others are happy to buy. The number of craft beer breweries have increased dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years.

When craft beer fans travel, they try to buy beer that's not available in their home locale. A beer-trading culture exists. Thanks to the internet, new friends are made who share a similar interest.

It seems like every town in Michigan hosts a craft beer festival.

A good-sized event in July:

A growing number of Toledo area bars continue to add craft beer options or host special events.

Founders Brewing Company exists in Grand Rapids, MI. A highly sought-after beer is the Founders KBS, described as:

... imperial stout brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for an entire year.

Apparently, the Village Idiot will tap a quarter keg of Founders KBS at 5:00 p.m. today, Thu, Apr 2.

Founders KBS clone recipe.

Some local brewing friends have pooled resources to acquire bourbon barrels to age their beer. Back in December, one group of 10 brewers brewed the same stout recipe. In January after fermentation ended, they combined all of their beer into a 50-gallon bourbon barrel where it will age for six months. Their next project will age in a barrel for a year.

This Sat, Apr 4, the Paula Brown Shop, located in downtown Toledo, will host a tap takeover, featuring beers from Dark Horse Brewing Company, also located in Michigan.

One hilariously hypocritical Budweiser commercial has no impact on craft beer fans. Maybe it's a sign that Budweiser is getting concerned.

If you like quality, creativity, making things, and science, then you might like homebrewing or at least craft beer made by others who possess those traits.

"I honestly would prefer a "piss water" domestic."

I'm unsure what "domestic" means. Anheuser-Busch is owned by a Belgium conglomerate, and Miller is owned by a United Kingdom company

You can get an American made product by homebrewing or by purchasing beer made by the small breweries that exist in OH, MI, and IN.

Some ingredients, such as Belgium pilsner malt and Czech saaz hops, are obviously not from the U.S., but you can brew beer with American malts, hops, and yeasts for a truly made-in-America beer. A few homebrewers grow their own hops for flavoring.

If you want a post-lawn mowing beer, try Buckeye Beer, produced by the Maumee Bay Brewing Company.

At the Black Cloister, their Belgian Blonde (The Marty) is available again. Their Scotch Ale will be available on Tue, Apr 7. Then next are a Belgian Wit and a Belgian Dubbel.

On Tuesday evening, I bought a growler of their Belgian Blonde, and it continues to taste good.

#clone - #brewery