Wednesday, January 04, 2012

New Year's Day IPA

I spent New Year’s Day brewing beer. 

The equipment
I hadn’t planned to spend New Year’s Day brewing beer. It all came about when a long-standing wish of mine met up with an early birthday present from my Mom, a generous gift certificate to the Austin Homebrew Supply store. Wifearrific and I ran down there, picked out our equipment and the ingredients for our first batch, then came home and were all “OKAY! WHEN ARE WE DOING THIS THING?!” To which the calendar responded, “Uh, well, looks like you’re free on New Year’s Day, assuming you’re not too hungover.”

Amazingly enough, some of our brewing friends (that’s right, I’m lucky enough to have brewing friends - plural) agreed to spend their New Year’s Day brewing beer with us. I thought for sure the requisite hangover would have everyone down for the count, but such was not the case. 

Not hungover, as far as I can tell
Which is great, because frankly, the process involves a lot of standing around, waiting on things to happen, waiting on the timer to tell you it’s time to do the next step. And what a better way to stand around waiting on stuff than with your friends, all of whom brought beer along with them, because really? You’re going to not drink beer while you brew? Pshaw. 

At one point, the kids called us inside the house to show us a play they’d created and had been rehearsing. I doubt that happens at most breweries. That's a whole 'nother rabbit hole I'll have to jump down later.

After an afternoon of rich smells and thick concoctions, we closed up the whole works and shoved it into the pantry where it’ll ferment for the next couple of weeks or so, after which, it gets to age in its bottles for a while, and only then do we get to find out if we did it right...or right enough anyway. 

And now it just sits, in the closet, next to the dogfood
It’s odd, you know? Doing all this work to create the perfect environment just to let nature take its course, then sitting back and taking a mostly passive role, like some sort of non-interventionist God that just pokes his head in every now and then, “Everything going okay in here?” then pops back out. Sure, there’s more work to come, but our part in the actual making of the liquid is all but done.

I was talking to one of my oldest friends about our plans to brew on New Year’s Day, and he said it sounded like the start of a great tradition, an idea that I liked right away. I like traditions. Or no, scratch that. I actually kind of hate traditions, but that’s because when I think “tradition,” I think of some tired old ritual whose inconvenience has come to vastly outweigh its purpose, whose original meaning is long forgotten, and that only gets repeated because that’s the way it’s been done since before anybody can remember. No, I don’t need that. I like traditions I can be part of. And as is the case here, I like traditions that I can be in on at the start.

Mark your calendars now, because January 1, 2013 will be the second annual New Year’s Day Holmes-brew.

Wifearrific with beerarriffic


Brandon said...

Calendar marked. I shall be there.

sybil law said...

That is a FANTASTIC tradition!! What's the name of this beer? Holmes Brew is a great name. Now you need artwork!
Woohoo! Obviously, I love it. Send me a bottle. :)

Megan said...

I, for one, absolutely love traditions and that sounds like a truly freaking awesome one.

Always Home and Uncool said...

You did save some for my return to town in March, yes? Right? C'mon, man!