(NON) Gluten, gluten, gluten… (BEER)

8 Dec

“Gluten, gluten, gluten…

Gluten, gluten, gluten…

Gluten, gluten, gluten… GLUTEN!”

[sung to the theme of “Rawhide”].

Rawhide, Nevada, 1915

Rawhide, Nevada, 1915 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A dear, dear friend… the bestie even… has made the decision to go gluten free for a month upon the advice of a nutritionist.  Or, as she puts it… “A wackadoodle nutritionist.”  I admire her.  I applaud her efforts.  I stand by her.  I now drink (with disgust) whiskey.  Because beer… readily available beer from our pubs, bars, and local distributors all contain gluten and I feel guilty drinking the froth in front of her we adore so much — GOOD BEERReally GOOD BEER.

So, when appropriate, I drink whiskey with her.  I’m a good friend.  I love the dear gal.  But, this whiskey thing makes my face turn inside out.  I cringe with each sip.  I shiver (in a bad way) with even the anticipation of each sip.  It’s far from a pleasant experience.  She assures me that we’re just not drinking *good* whiskey (Apparently, there is such a thing, although I can’t begin to imagine it).  I will tell you this past summer at an Old Crow Medicine Show concert in Philadelphia I over-enjoyed whiskey.

(PS. The Milk Carton Kids, then The Lumineers opened for them.  I. fell. in. love.  HARD.)

I later found that it was bad whiskey.  In the moment (4 deep in the land of shots) it was GOOD whiskey.  Ah.  The hazy memories… but, I digress.  Old Crow Whiskey is, I’m told, not a top shelf brand.  Coulda fooled me that night.  This was the same night we “ALMOST” met the band…  That’s another post, and completely off topic… but now, you’re intrigued, yes?

Back to the subject at hand…

I’m now on  mission to hunt down gluten free beer, recipes… anything… I’m feeling desperate.  I can’t handle the whiskey — good or bad.  I’m shivering and cringing now just thinking about it.

Happily, I was able to unearth some gems… albeit, I have no idea if these are good or not.  We’ll have to brew them [challenge accepted].

How to…

Gluten Free Beer (on Facebook!)

Pale Ale (Gluten Free)

…and so, so much more.  Now, truly, the problem is trying to find the time to actually trying to brew one of these.

You may now commence singing the Gluten/Rawhide theme song in your head.

Dill Pickle Ale… The Apocalyptic Version.

6 Dec

The end is near, so it’s time for a beer.

Oh.  Wait.  This OTHER group says now the world will end on May 21, 2014.  Sheesh!  Wish people would get  their facts straight.

The brewing will still commence.  The Mayans… hey… you never know.

The End of the World Is Nigh

The End of the World Is Nigh (Photo credit: swanksalot)

But back to the beer…  It’s time to brew beer!

A DILL PICKLE beer, that is!

So, here is what I’m thinking… I have about 6 different ways I could go about this:

  1. Brew a nice ale, and throw pickling spices into the boil and proceed as per usual.
  2. Brew a nice ale, add in Sorachi Ace Hops on top of the other hops, throw in pickling spices into the boil and proceed as per usual.
  3. Brew a nice ale, throw in the pickling spices during the boil, then add additional pickling spices into the secondary and proceed as per usual.
  4. blah, blah blah… same as above, THEN! dry hop with the Sorachi Ace Hops and proceed as blah, blah, blah
  5. yadda, yadda, yadda… add in cucumber water… stuff a dill pickle into the bottle… realize I won’t be able to get the pickle back *out* of the bottle.  Give up and drink a dill pickle martini.
  6. Ok, this is getting old…

Suffice it to say, there are a lot of ways to go about doing this.  I’m just not exactly sure *how* might be the *best* way to go about this.  I’ve already committed to brewing a batch for our annual brewfest in the area to show with my other esteemed brewers of our local homebrew club [shameless pitch:  PA Alers].

It’s gotta be good awe. some.

A lot a naysayers out there that swear it’s the worst idea I’ve ever come up with and that they’ve ever heard.

I need to pull this off for the win Alex!

Alex Trebek at Kadena Air Base, Japan.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holy Hannah!

6 Dec

A hiatus.  A really, really long hiatus.  Frankly, my blog slipped my mind this past summer.  If I’m going to honest, that’s really what happened.  I did zero brewing, but lots of gardening, canning, home improvement (I painted the house.  The outside.  It’s painted.), and had a nice range of beers ranging from *UGH!* (a.k.a. Busch Light) to *WHOA!* (a.k.a. too many to list).

Pickles

Pickles (Photo credit: dierken)

But… I did zero brewing.  I’m ashamed.  But, it happened.  I did, on the other hand, can enough pickles to last us the entire year.  And jams.  And peaches.  And tomato sauce.  And salsa.  And apple butter.  And dilly beans.  And.  And.  And.  There was a lotta cannin’ going on in Ye Olde Kitchen.  So much it, frankly, became annoying.  I was thrilled when the cucumber plants got hit with a fungus and died.  It was a blessing.  But, we have a nice stock pile for when the end of the world hits and Zombie-pocalypse begins in 16 or so days.

English: Mr Zombie

English: Mr Zombie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Which brings me back around to a painful subject… Dill Pickle Ale.  I’ve only been talking about it and planning for it (in my head) for a year.  It just needs to be done.  Especially if the world is going to end.  In the next few days I’m intending on posting a preliminary (albeit) inexact recipe (because I don’t quite know how to pull it off, although I do have my theories).

Long, long, time ago…

23 May

 

…I was brewin’ beer (and bloggin’ about it)… then life happened!  This post is just a mish-mosh of a variety of things so we can all be “up to speed”

 

I fell of the wagon for a while, it seems when it came to brewing beer.  Fear not, I’ve had the honor of sampling some delicious brews… and, now maybe, it’s time get rollin’ again.  As an FYI — Keller’s here in town has added a fine, fine selection of brew supplies. If you’re ever in the area, I suggest stopping in.  He also has an incredible selection of great brews.

SHAMELESS PLUG:  The Selinsgrove Hops, Wines, and Vines Brewfest is coming in up in July — hope you got your hands on some tickets (because they sold out in only a few hours this year).  Again, if you’ll be in the area, there are tickets to be “found” — most folks call The Selinsgrove Brewing Company — folks with spare tickets let the brew pub know and they help to spread the word…  Hope to see you there!  Just look for the gal with a beverage in hand.

 

How did things come out in the homebrew department?  …The Ommegang Hennepin clone?  Finally “came out.”  It’s not perfect, but it’s a big beer.  It came out at 8.4% ABV and sweet.  Likely could have hung out in the secondary a bit longer… still tasty none the less.

 

The American Ale is solid and a pretty good (near) session brew.  Perfect for the coming summer eves.  But, now, my conundrum is what to brew next?

 

Dill Pickles

Dill Pickles (Photo credit: The Messy Chef)

 

I keep toying with the idea of brewing a Dill Pickle Ale.  …toying with it, mind you… still trying to work it all out in my head.  Very soon, I’ll post some ideas (& ask for your feedback).  In the meantime, the fiance put this mad idea into my noggin’ — his rational:  “Hey, you can make a Pickle Martini, which you love… Why not a pickle beer?”  This has been gnawing at me since late January.  Think I just need to jump in and do it…

Other plans?  It’s time to go all grain.  Plans are in the early works for kicking this off in mid-late summer.

In the meantime, I’ve discovered the glory of hashing and have joined a local “kennel” and am a member (& newly named!) of our local Hash House Harriers.  What is hashing?  A fellow harrier has said it best:

“Hashing is a state of mind – a friendship of kindred spirits joined together for the sole purpose of reliving their childhood or fraternity days, releasing the tensions of everyday life, and generally, acting a fool amongst others who will not judge you or measure you by anything more than your sense of humor.” – Stray Dog (http://www.gthhh.com)

Back on track, in am in the bloggin’ and brewin’ department… Cheers!

 

Just like cookin’… Right?

14 Jan

It always happens late at night…
Just as I start to get drowsy…

Cocoa sacks

Image by Nestlé via Flickr

Lavender?
Chicory??
Black Cherry??!
Cocoa?
Raisin!?
Cinnamon??!!!

I wonder what THAT would taste like in a beer…

Maybe it’s when my brain becomes relaxed enough and my mind can start to wander a little bit? Just a little day… Well, night dreaming, I suppose.

Oh! What about a Vanilla Raisin Stoudt? If I could create the raisin bread pudding with the vanilla syrup from my favorite gluttonous buffet-bar restaurant… Heavenly.

This is how my mind wanders.

What I need to master, though, I’d really understanding the science behind brewing.

What are your beer-flavored dreams?

Rackin’…

10 Jan

 

This past Saturday I finally racked the American Ale.

I was technically supposed to do this the Friday prior, but, it appeared, I was a slacker.

Life happened.

Between going on my first official Hash House run, re-tagging & stocking the antiques in my booth, attempting to be a goalie for an indoor hockey team (& discovering muscles I had forgotten I had all the while getting by butt kicked by 19-year-olds), running all over the green earth on a CraigsList adventure for the fiance (which involved a stop at Stoudt’s Brewing in Adamstown, PA), purging the house, cleaning, watching countless movies, and enjoying a few very good beverages…

Yep, life happened.  I’ve been a busy gal in the past few months… it all started with brewing, then, like the flood gates opening… I started all of these other fun things, too!  Seems homebrewing was the kick I needed to the inertia of my behind in forward moving motion and off the livingroom chair away from the good ‘ol XBox.  I still love shooting cowboys in Red Dead Redemption. (I’m still that complex gal — [see previous postings]).

I’ll say it again… LIFE HAPPENED.

and…

IT (RACKING) JUST DIDN’T HAPPEN.  …until Saturday.

I was feeling guilty for about 2-seconds, then I got over it.

The beer was still fine.

I re-checked the gravity & it came in at 1.012.  If this holds we’ll be having an ABV of roughly 4.8% give or take.  I’m pretty pleased.  Hopefully, the fiance will be appreciative & enjoy it …while also seeing that brewing one’s own beer if fun (and it also tastes better than the commercial garbage he swears by…)

At the end of the month, I’ll be ready to bottle this as well as the the Hennepin Clone from Ommegang.  Still trying to come up with another case of bottles.  I absolutely refuse to buy them.  I’ve been having my local watering hole save them for me… local & recycling at it’s best.  Yes, I am green… well… as green as I can be.  Stay tuned for adventures in bottling!

Brewing into 2012…

2 Jan
upon arrival. Geotagged.

Image via Wikipedia

Several partners in crime have posted about the New Year and reflecting back on 2011.

Not to be left out of the cool kids club, I thought maybe I could do the same.

2011 was an interesting & exciting year personally, professionally, emotionally, and physically.  With any year, there are high points and low points.  What we need to do is understand is that those “low” points are the times when we have to step back and understand that life as we know it in that moment will not continue forever and that change is inevitable.  Our challenge is to reflect back, grow, and learn.

Much like life… when we brew the brew is in a constant state of flux… of change.   A bit of a silly parallel to draw, but this is true.  From the moment we begin to heat the water on a burner, we are forever changing the make up of the water, of the composition of the pot, of the air in which we breath and of the environment (seen and unseen) around us.

We affect all which we come in contact with.  We affect our beer.

In the past couple of years, I’ve started to read the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto which really drove home the point of our interconnections with every single thing around us.

As we move on into 2012, I hold this close to my heart as well as my mind.  With this, I will keep making better brews and am excited about the future.  Because, one thing which can be said with any certainty is that everything changes.  As we move through these changes, we, too, change (and always for the better).  Including our beers!

I make the following resolutions (I swore long ago I’ll never resolve a tangible again such as losing weight or getting into better shape):

  • Breathing and slowing myself down
  • Accepting change and embracing change
  • Waking each day with wonder and amazement of what the day will hold
  • Looking (and finding) blessings each and everyday and expressing gratitude of all of these blessings
  • Smiling more
  • Talking to perfect strangers
  • Having a steadfast resolve to not get frustrated, but instead look at the situation as an opportunity
  • Brewing better beer!

These, my friends, are my resolutions — what are yours?

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