I admit it. These past few weeks have been filled with a higher beer drinking to cycling ratio. It’s inevitable. I love cycling and I love beer, but it’s hard to juggle two loves at once.
If there is any redemption to this post, it’s that I have been devoting my time to beer for a purpose: the worthy cause of the pursuit of knowledge.
While cycling by Lagunitas a couple of months ago, a few friends of mine and I decided that it would be a brilliant idea to get into home brewing. And this past weekend, we finally brewed our first batch of wort en route to an amber ale.
Here are a few highlights leading up to our first brew night:
A free Monday night home brew seminar with Griz the brewmaster.
San Francisco Brewcraft, located in the Inner Richmond in San Francisco offers a free introduction to home brewing class on Monday nights at 6 p.m. Griz covers the basics of brew technique as well as the “mojo” that makes the whole process, and your finished product, more enjoyable. He gives you “muy importante” tips and tricks that he’s gathered from his years of experience as well as an anecdotes and jokes (with an occasional disclaimer for sensitive ears). The seminar lasted about two and a half hours and I would recommend it to anyone that is looking to pick up another hobby. Griz also mentioned that most weeks he’ll serve up a home brew to his students. They ask that you call to reserver a spot before 4 p.m. at 415-751-9338.
A tour of one of our largest breweries.
(Stolen from Flickr.)
On the complete other end of the spectrum, while stuck in traffic on the way out to Vacaville, my girlfriend and I decided to stop off at the Budweiser tour in Fairfield, CA. I’ve actually done this tour once before while in college. Not being a huge fan of Budweiser, there’s not too much to praise about this tour. They run tours Monday through Saturday, although bottling is only done M-F. I did like the feeling of being in a How it’s Made t.v. show and free beer never hurts.
The big night.
A handful of friends and I brewed five gallons of amber ale this past Friday. We spend about four hours boiling, cooling, and adding ingredients at different intervals. At each step, we sampled our concoction noticing how sweet it was. According to my friend who housed the event, our batch already began “burping” a couple days later, which is a sign that the yeast is beginning to turn the sugars into alcohol and subsequently releasing carbon dioxide (they grow up so fast). The beer will go through a couple more steps before being bottled and becoming a delightful adult beverage. The final product should be done in a few weeks. Can’t wait.