On Friday night, we tapped the keg for the first time and enjoyed a dark, lightly-carbonated Bock.
For many years now, FM has produced fabulous home-brew which he willingly shares with anyone who shows a remote interest in craft beer. For any social event at our home, home-brewed beer is on the menu. Our typical hostess gift is bottles of his beer, in hopes of introducing someone to a new style or converting a macro-brewery drinker to the joys of flavour.
I believe that FM’s interest in home-brewing began, as it does for millions of others, in university. He took his keen interest in cheap beer, paired it with course work in micro-biology and found his place among beer kits and carboys. I dare say that brewing beer has been a continual hobby of his for about 30 years!
In the cramped apartments of our younger days, brewing would take up parts of each weekend. The primary fermenter would be tucked away in a hallway closet with its yeasty scent permeating every corner. The secondary carboy would bubble away in a dark corner for a number of weeks. Then the bathtub would become the washing and sanitizing station just before the task of bottling and capping. In those first years, he would use small 341 ml bottles and it would take about 66 of them for each batch of beer, making it a daunting task to properly clean all of these recycled bottles. Eventually, he collected enough 650 ml bottles for a few batches of beer, reducing the task of sanitizing by half.
Although beer kits are still the backbone of his brewing, he personalizes each batch with something unique. He has made single hop varieties with our home-grown hops. He has experimented with dry-hopping right in the bottles. He has added his own home-roasted coffee into batches of Porter. He has cultured sediment from classic Belgian beers to use as the yeast for his own Belgian-style brew.
When we moved to the Queendom last year, we both knew that the workshop would become the brewery and his home-brewing hobby would flourish. With such a big space, the possibilities for expanding his brewing repertoire are endless.
The first order of business was to construct a counter-flow wort-chiller.
The second project was to acquire all the required parts for a keg fridge and make his first batch of keg beer.
The next task will be to move the keg fridge into the crawl space and then run the keg lines up into the kitchen. (The thought of having taps of our own beer right at the kitchen counter gives me a thrill!) There are many more projects brewing in FM’s mind. Whole grain brewing and more creative styles will be coming our way in no time.
Isn’t it about time that you stopped by for a beer??