The weather was excellent today. Spending my afternoon at the park drinking porter and enjoying good conversation with a close friend.
Sometimes I have good ideas. When I believe my idea is a good one I am quick to make it happen without delay or much thought. Rash decisions are almost never good, I know that but when I think I’ve hit upon something it’s hard to stop and think on it. I’ve been guilty of rash decisions over the years and have paid the price.
Over the past few months I’ve done that more than once. You would think I would learn.
Back in 2007 I started to homebrew beer as a hobby. The idea came from a guy I knew in the neighborhood who brewed beer and said it was fairly easy to do if I just read a couple recommended books. I took his advice, read the books and for the most part it was easy.
Brewing beer requires a lot of time and cleaning. The equipment has to be sanitized or else your beer could become infected and end up tasting like drinking sewage out of a dirty tennis shoe. If you enjoy beer it’s important to keep a batch ready for bottling or transferring to a keg. There’s about a 3-4 week process of conditioning the beer before you can drink it so I would brew a new batch every two to three months.
As business started to increase I had less time to brew beer so I started buying bottles again but being a picky beer drinker the beer I like tends to be on the expensive side. I found myself missing brewing my own but there was the time issue.
A couple of months ago I was at my favorite market looking for a new beer when I walked into the cooler and saw a stack of 5 gallon soda kegs. The light went on in my head and I thought if I purchased a keg or two I could solve the issue of spending so much on bottles and I could have my favorite beer/s on hand without all the bottles. I suck at taking bottles back and end up giving them away.
If I had taken a couple of minutes to think about the idea I would not have done it but it was too late, the idea was set and I was going to make it happen. I went to the front checkout, purchased a 5 gallon keg of Brown Ale and ordered another 5 gallon keg of Belgium Ale. Taking my treasure home thinking I have tricked the system I quickly tapped the keg and had a little glass with a smile. The carbonation lasted a little while.
The thing about keeping beer in a keg is it’s good until you introduce air. Once the air is introduced the beer will go flat in a matter days and it get’s funky too. By the time my first keg went flat I already had the second so I tapped that one. It lasted less than a week before it tasted like garbage. Just before writing this I pumped almost five gallons down the drain. A good beer really is a terrible thing to waste.
When I brew beer I connect Co2 to the keg which provides carbonation but also keeps the beer fresh because it does not require a pump system like you get when you rent a keg from a store. Using a pump system also introduces air into the keg so it gets funky in time. When kept cold and charged with Co2 it lasts as long as it takes for you to drink it.
This idea turned out to be a really bad one. The system beat me again.
Last weekend I got to visit Boston and attend a wedding. Actually the groom was a good friend and I was the best man, I’ve never been a best man before. The trip was good but I didn’t get to see much of Boston. The ocean was what I really wanted to see because I’ve never seen it up close but have always wanted to smell it and put my feet in at least, is it really that salty and are there creatures lurking under foot at each step? Well I did get to see it from a distance while flying into the airport. It was green and looked soupy. I wanted it to be blue and clear. My real mission was of course to support my friend on his big day and to hang out before hand at some pub. I hope I did a good job being there and all but I’ve never been a best man and lacking in those skills, not knowing what to do other than what I read on the internet.
The night before the wedding we stayed in his fiance’s house after going out for drinks. I really dropped the ball on making any good plans on where to go so we ended up in two dive bars with a few of his friends from up here in Michigan. The bars close early there too which wasn’t expected but I guess in the end it was for the best. I didn’t wake up with a hangover so I did indulge on the wedding night.
The wedding went really well and I did my part without a problem though I don’t know what could have gone wrong. There’s the chance of fumbling for the rings or tripping I suppose. It was a quick service without any problem and during dinner I even gave a toast. The DJ actually came up to me before the dinner started and informed me that I was in fact going to be called out to give a toast and he asked, “you do have something prepared right?” Of course I did but I also knew it was a sincere yet quickly written one. The words didn’t flow as planned but I did it and a few people told me it was a nice one too. That made me smile to think that it was well received.
During the reception people were dancing and having a great time. I was too but I’m not much of a dancer. Actually I spent a good amount of time outside on the covered porch drinking Guinness. The weather was nice with very few insects too. Once in a while someone would come out and chat for a bit but for the most part I sat, drank and thought.
It’s Funny how a wedding can make you think about life. I thought about my life, my kids and wife too. I thought to myself, “self, how did you end up here?” Hmm.. well I guess I tend to have deep thoughts when I step away for a while especially during an event like the one I was attending. All the armor or band-aids, and even good sense, get stripped off and I will think about the way things are. I admit the beer played a role in it too so I’ve learned when I feel that way it’s good to step away for a while and just be quiet.
After the wedding we went back to the hotel where there was more beer and we were loud. I wondered how the hotel could allow us to be loud like that and not say anything. Perhaps it was because they knew we were a wedding party or perhaps that’s just the way the hotel is. After a couple hours it was time to go to bed due to the fact that we had to be up at around 6:30 to turn in the car and get to the airport. I was thankful to have taken a couple aspirin or whatever before bed because I actually woke up feeling just fine.
Getting on the flight I was thinking about how good it would be to get home, see the kids and sleep in my own bed. It wasn’t until I got home that I really started to miss the trip and really started to miss my friend too. He moved to Tennessee a couple years ago so it’s not like I really get to see him more than a few times a year but after the weekend I thought about all the good times we had over the years. All the talks we had and how he struggled with a relationship in the past and we would talk about it. To see him go from that to a situation to where the person he’s with now really loves him. You can see it in her eyes when she looks at him and I even told her so. I think about how lucky he is and wonder if he thinks that too. I admit it’s hard to look at sometimes.
I like these pictures better. The shadow and dark background well what’s that all about? These images invoke happiness and contentment and that’s what I want to see when I log on here.
I need to figure out how to stop each post from jumping straight to facebook as I don’t think each one needs to be posted on my timeline, that’s annoying.
The header image was taken in Good Hart Michigan a couple years ago. The bottle, Honkers Ale and the book The Old Man and the Sea. That’s actually the first time I read that book even though it’s old and probably something many people read as a kid? I don’t know. I’m looking forward to going back in a month and I hope it’s as good a vacation as it was then.
During a recent home inspection I was exiting the attic, located in a teenagers bedroom closet, and this is what I saw on the top shelf of the closet. I laughed inside at the thought of this kid sneaking beers but not really attempting to hide them well.
This week for the first time instead of bottling my beer I started keggeng. It’s easier and the beer is ready to drink right away.
Back in December I purchased a Starter Kit from Michigan Brewing Co. along with my first recipe, an Imperial Stout. I’m a fan of stouts but having never home brewed I guess I should have started with something a little easier to make. The stouts, being high gravity, tend to take quite a while to ferment and require around four weeks in the primary and the same in the bottles.
This first try did not go as planned due to my failure to add both packs of yeast so the gravity got stuck and I bottled it high. It tastes pretty good but I think this one will need to stay in the bottles for quite a while before I can enjoy them on a regular basis. In the meantime I’ve brewed an Amber and Vanilla Porter. Porter is another one of those beers that takes forever to finish but it’s tasting pretty good so far. A couple more weeks and the porter should be a great beer. So far the Amber is my favorite probably just because it was easiest to make and did not take forever to condition.
The down side to all of this is I’m drinking more than I’ve ever drank. I’d say I average five to six beers a week which is not too much beer but still it’s got me thinking. I’ve never had an addictive personality but sometimes I picture myself being the guy who drinks a six pack a day and makes excuses as to why it’s normal. There’s times when I would like a beer early in the day but I stop myself because after all only alcoholics drink a beer before noon right? right?