Saturday, February 26, 2011

Recalled to Life

It was the best of times (we celebrated my nephew Eliot's second birthday today)

It was the worst of times (my beloved Tiger basketball team suffered their worst lost since, well, heck, I don't know)

It was the age of wisdom (Eliot loved our gift to him--an Elmo Ball Zone)

It was the age of foolishness (Cindy and I completely overate at El Porton--darn those chips)

And it was a day in which I recalled to life forty-something "dead soldiers" (ie, used, empty beer bottles); well, at least I removed their labels...I'll still need to sanitize them before bottling my first batch of beer in a couple of weeks.  Some labels were easier to remove (those of Sierra Nevada and New Belgium products) than others (Saranac was difficult, McSorleys was impossible), and some bottles with the "labeling" applied by paint are just going to have to stay that way. But I did feel a sense of accomplishment after removing that last label, knowing that I was one step closer to having my own beer ready to drink and share.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Baby Steps, part II

They gave me the boot. No more casts!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

I Haven't Been There

Tomorrow, I'm planning to redeem my Groupon coupon for a beginner beer brewing kit from Mid-South Malts. I've promised my wife that I'll refrain from actually trying out the kit until I'm out of the cast and able to walk sans crutches. After nearly a year of talking the talk, I'll finally be walking the walk. 

I think at least part of my procrastination stems from the fact that it's quite humbling to walk into an environment knowing you'll know less about the goings on than pretty much anyone else there. "Act like you've been there," I often tell myself in such situations, even though I know in my gut that feigning expertise or knowledge is the surest defense against actually learning something new. When I was a Confirmation candidate in the Episcopal Church many years ago, I spent more time trying to show others in my class how much I already knew (not much, actually) than sitting quietly or asking questions about things I really didn't know (a whole lot). Running stores, music stores, bookstores--all of these have been the scene of my putting on the airs of being an expert of some sort only to walk out with less than I came for (and with my ego either puffed or deflated, depending on how the interaction went).

But here's the thing: I really, really don't know how to brew beer, and I want to learn how. I need instruction in even the most basic information about equipment, ingredients, and processes. I'm guessing that my chronic know-it-all-ism will attempt to shift my focus from simply brewing beer to Being Someone Who Brews Beer, even though I've not brewed a drop. 

I'm hoping I can ignore it this time.

Friday, February 04, 2011


I finally picked up my Joe's Beer Nutz beers for January: Alpha Dog Imperial IPA and The Dogfather Imperial Stout, both from Laughing Dog Brewery in Ponderay, Idaho. As I usually do when retrieving my beer club haul, I browsed the big beer section before picking up my pre-purchased brews; continuing the canine theme, I ended up deciding on a bottle of Flying Dog's Double Dog Double IPA.

Having not tried any of these three beers before (and, being dog-tired, not planning to try them tonight), I can't comment yet on the beers themselves. I can't help, though, think that each of these three bottles represents a member of my household:

Alpha Dog

The Dogfather

Double Dog

(I suppose, though, that the names and images could be juxtaposed here or there.)