Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Major Award

Well, I feel like the old man on A Christmas Story. Here's what happened. Back in December, I saw an ad in one of my beer magazines for online voting for LD Carlson's next beer ingredient kit. There was a chance to win a prize. So I went to their website and voted. With my vote, I also submitted my email address and then forgot about it.

In February, I received an email from the LD Carlson company informing that I had won the prize from their drawing relating to that online vote. I knew it was legit when I read it because I remembered submitting my name into the contest. I don't know about you but I've never really won anything of significant value before. All that their email stated was that I won a new S/S Brew Pot. All I had to do was reply to their email with the name of my favorite homebrew supply store and a number where I could be contacted. That was the last I heard from them until last Thursday. In my inbox was a shipping notification from my homebrew store of choice and that it was due to arrive yesterday.

So I felt like the old man from that holiday classic and couldn't wait to get home yesterday. And there she was on my porch as I pulled up: my major award. I quickly opened it when I got inside, although I was a bit neater with the packaging than Ralphie's Old Man, but I was excited nonetheless. To my surprise there was a 14 gallon Italian Stainless Steel brew kettle inside, complete with a chrome spigot. No more 5 gallon batches for me (the exception probably being my next batch since I already have the ingredients and there are some other things I'll need to procure before I can use this new beauty). So let the savings begin for the kegerator. Brewing larger volumes requires a draft system because I'm not keen on the idea of bottling over 4 cases of brew at a time.

Time to make my birthday list. Cheers!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Career Change?

Yes it has been a while, over a month to be exact, since I've felt inspired to write anything. Call it blogger's block if you will, but nothing has come to mind worth noting. I'm an empty-headed lummox! Ha! Sure there have been things I could have written about, such as politics, but that only incites minor riots among people I know so I'll avoid those discussions.

So, I'll tell you about my ESB. Again. The longer it ages in the bottle, the more I like it. In fact, I was courageous enough to take a few into work and share with some of my fellow home brew enthusiasts. Two of them have tried it and reported back that they "loved it!" One guy, whose opinion I especially respect due to his experience with brewing (he brews almost every weekend with some other guys and has been doing so for more than 15 years now), told me that he would buy the stuff if it were on the shelf. His lone criticism, would have been the lack of malt character that you might find in a more balanced beer, but that wasn't my goal so in the end it was fine. Now that is high praise and was good for my ego. I was anxious about opening myself up for critique especially this time because it was the first recipe that I concocted myself. Up until this point, I have always used a recipe devised by another brewer so I was merely replicating their style and could always blame the recipe if I didn't like it. But this time, it was all on me. Now, only two reviews aren't much to go by, but since they were both positive, it allows me to dream of brewing as a career. I'm too conservative to throw caution to the wind and leave my job to become a beer brewer full time, but it is fun to have a pipe dream. Now, if I do win millions of dollars in some lottery, I know what I can do with my time.

For now though, I'll stick to brewing my 5 gallons at a time in my kitchen and sharing the fruits of my labor with those near and dear to me. Next up is a Honey Brown Ale. It is a recipe/kit from Northern Brewer. It should be fun and is a contrast to the ESB in that it will be more malty and much less hoppy. A break from the norm for me as I tend to brew the higher hopped ales.

My next formulated beer shall be a Blueberry Amber Ale that my wife requested. The goal there is for it to be ready in August when she is allowed to imbibe again.