Sunday, February 07, 2010

Backyard Brewing Association: The 2010 Season

Brian's Beer

After brewing most of 2009, it is hard to believe it has been 3 months since we brewed. With 10 inches of snow on the ground, it was the joint feeling of everyone involved that nothing would screw up our day.

Hops in!

Obviously this brew session was more garage than backyard. In the end, the weather proved to more of an annoyance than a hindrance. Even though I planned ahead by thawing out all of the garden hoses, I still managed to blow an outside faucet. Whoops. I think I'll fix it when it gets warmer outside.

Cold outside, warm in

The downside of winter brewing

We were excited that Brian made the homebrew leap and chose this weekend for his maiden brew. Nothing brings a tear to my eye more than watching someone assemble their propane burner and brew supplies for the first time. Well, maybe Eric brings a tear to my eye after he eats a bunch of chicken wings all day, but that's a different story.

Drew's big beer
The only time the garage door was actually open

Today marked some pretty ambitious brews too. Drew worked on his massive barley wine, while Dave and I both brewed Double IPAs. When mine is done, it will have used about a pound of hops. I can't wait.

No need for a fridge
Eric on his iPhone

The brewing went really well. The cold temperature coupled with the hot boils provided an erie ambiance as steam rolled throughout the garage. The only thing missing were our monk robes and a cave.

Drew working his kettleSnow = Great ChillingBrian checking the boil

I had some auxiliary propane heat running and thanks to Eric, had a CO detector nearby too. I believe it was Mike who said if he showed up and found us all dead, he was going to pretend he didn't know any of us.


On the food side of things, the weather threw a small wrench into my plans. I could not afford to babysit the brisket on the kettle, so I opted for the...ahem, Summit. Yes, I know the purists will hang me for this, but I had to do it, or we would have never eaten. Fortunately, it turned out quite good. Not as good as the kettle, but still tasty after a long day of brewing.

Onion LoafFry Man MikeChicken Wings

Mike fulfilled his roll as lead fryer whipping us up an onion loaf and chicken wings. I know of no better brew day meal. Between having a successful brew, enjoying great homebrew, and gorging on brisket and wings, there is no better way to spend a cold February day. Although by the end of the night, a warm weather brew day did begin to sound appealing.

Chilling & Cleaning


Cynthia said...

Gosh, you guys really know how to have a good time. Your brews are an education to me and others I am sure.

Hey, any way, I can get more info on the onion loaf? I'd like to give it a try.

Dave said...

That's it, Andrew and I are crashing this gig sometime.

Mike said...

@Cynthia - Thanks! It seems every time we do this, we learn something new. Fortunately it's fun and learning!

You know what, I'll throw a post together on the loaf. I just realized I've talked about so much and never really went into how we do it.

@Dave - Seriously, you guys are welcome anytime...especially once things warm up!

Kyle said...

Mike - this looks like an outstanding time. Love to know how that Double IPA turned out....

For the complete newbie starting out in brewing, is there a good place to start out learning about how to do this? There's a lot of stuff online of course, but I'd love to get some advice on where you not only learn the craft, but some simple advice on the types of hardware I'll need.

Really appreciate it


Mike said...

Hey Kyle! It really is a good time. Too bad you are so far away! I'm pretty excited about this brew. In fact, I just stuck my nose by the airlock to get a whiff. Lovely!

There are two really good books to start out with. One is The Complete Joy of Homebrewing and the second is How to Brew I would go with Joy of Homebrewing first, but they are both great reference books.

I hope to see your brewing exploits soon!

Ninette said...

Aw, what manly men. I'm jealous ... and I'm not even a guy. I'm going to hide these pics from my husband whose primary hobby is working. I wish he had guy friends like you around to brew beer and eat brisket with.

Mike said...

@Ninette - We could always use another guy around to help eat, drink, and grill! Why don't you encourage him to take a weekend off!

Kyle said...

Mike - thanks for those book ideas. I'm on it.

I definitely want to see some pics of that DIPA. Soooo jealous.

Enjoy one for me