“You were outed early,” says a fellow beer brewing classmate. “You’re here for the hobby aspect…not the beer aspect,” He laughs. I laugh along. He’s right. I am not a drinker. In fact, my friends often wave alcohol in my face in hopes that I’ll take even a sip. For the most part, I can’t stand the taste of alcohol, and I can have a pretty good time without it. So why would I ever want to do beer brewing?
Because it’s a craft, and who knows maybe it would be a craft I would want to continue. I never enjoyed science class, but maybe if fermenting and beer brewing were part of it–I’d have a different take.
I also think it’s good to know exactly how the food and drinks are processed that we are willing to put into our body on a regular basis–or in my case–a non-regular basis.
And of course, it’s always wonderful to meet new people with passions and knowledge that you may have never met otherwise.
And that was one of the best parts of my 6 hour day, spent in Brooklyn Heights.
I came across Fritz Fernow on SideTour, a site one of my bosses had introduced me to. On the site, he offered a one day home-brewing workshop for just $35 dollars. I couldn’t pass it up–and I am glad I didn’t. The moment I got to the door, Fritz smiled at me and kindly let me in. Immediately, I was met by his playful siamese cat Oscar.
One by one my six other classmates shuffled through the front door, and not before long we were on our six-hour adventure. Fritz took us through the ingredients, and offered a brief summary of what the day would look like, and then we began.
Passionately, Fritz spoke about his encounters with beer throughout the day and how he got into it. This was his 105th batch, but we could all tell it was not his last. With a smile on his face, he told us much of what he knew about beer, but I can guarantee not all. He is an encyclopedia of brewing. The perfect teacher.
During a rest period, he led us down to his bedroom, where his closet holds a kegerator–yes a kegerator. Most people have laundry baskets in their bedroom closets–but not him. He and his wife have a kegerator. Talk about a brew-fast in bed!
As the day continued, the 7 students bonded over casual conversation, lunch, beers brewed by his previous Sidetour class, and the anxiousness of the final steps of beer brewing which in a short were:
*Add the Hops
*listen to Fritz talk about his experiences brilliantly (Really!)
*Add the yeast*Declare you have beer — well at least you’ve got beer processing.
In four weeks the seven of us can return to try our beer. Cheers! I wonder if it will just keep the name 105? I wonder what I would name my beer if I brewed it myself on a consistent basis?
Libbrewery; Libation (The comedian Randy Tongue suggested that one); Libs Hops (Hops are female flower clusters of a hop species that you add for flavoring and such). Or maybe I’d open my own brewery called: Hip HOPS and play really loud hip hop music while serving really delicious beer. Oh the life.
Fritz hasn’t come up with an official name yet, but from what I tasted of the previous brew (Yes the non-drinker gave it a taste–YOU HAVE TO IN THIS CASE), I think he could easily call it “Fritz Fantastic Fix,” because even as a girl who can’t normally stand the taste of alcohol, I was able to taste this brew with a smile on my face.
Here’s our recipe taken directly from the blog Fritz wrote after our class!
12 lb 2 Row
8 oz Carapils
8 oz Bairds Light Carastan 13-17
8 oz Bairds Carastan 30-40
4 oz Red Wheat
FWH .5oz Cascade
70 minute boil
60 min. 1.5oz Centennial
15 min. .5 oz Simcoe
10 min 1oz Columbus + Wirlfloc and Nutrient
1 min 2 oz Amarillo
Wyeast 1056 on a stir plate 18 hours in advance
Mash grains at 152 degrees for 60 minutes
post boil: OG 1.063