Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Beer Making Step #6: Bottoms Up!
Back in January, when we first considered launching a brewpub at the Posada del Arte, I sketched out a simple schematic of the brewing process in Jim and Marshia's guest comment book entitled "Brewing in Six Easy Steps" (see below).
Last week, we finally reached Step #6 in the process: Drink the Beer.
This happy day happened to coincide with a visit from our friends Josh and Krista, and their kids Sophie and Max. Josh is a seasoned professional brewer who just opened a new brewpub in Chicago, Revolution Brewing, so were anxious to get his feedback on our beer, as well as advice on organizing our brewery.
But before describing the first sips of our cerveza, here's a quick travelogue of our adventures with the Sahakian-Deth family.
We took a 4-hour bus ride from Banos to meet up with the Sahakian-Deths at a posh jungle resort called Casa del Suizo. It was a great place for the kidees with buffet meals around the swimming pool and guided tours everyday into the jungle in wooden motorized canoes.
My favorite jungle tour was a visit to a local village where we got to try our luck with a blow dart gun (Josh and I both hit the wooden target monkey with our first shots!). We also tasted the local homebrew-- chicha-- a primitive beer made from yucca. It was great to hob knob with our jungle brewing brethren and taste their beer, even if was a bit sour for our palates.
After having our fill of the jungle and buffet living, we all rode the bus up to our mountain hometown of Banos. There we spent a few days hiking, mountain biking, lounging in the hot baths and simply hanging out. It was great to spend time with close friends from home.
As our first two batches of beer were ready to drink, we took ample opportunities for tasting. Both batches of Throat of Fire Pale Ale were very tasty-- a medium to full bodied beer with an assertive hop edge. Aside from some capping problems with a few bottles that resulted in some flat beer, our first venture into brewing has been an unqualified success!
We'll continue to tweak our recipe and, hopefully, with the bottle capper that Josh brought us, our capping problems will soon be behind us. We are also working to double our brew day capacity from 10 gallons to twenty, which will result in batches of 100 twenty-four ounce bottles. One hundred beers may be enough to provide our brewpub with a week's worth of product, which would then put us on a weekly brewing cycle to keep the beer flowing.
By the time our friends left town, we had worked through all the beer in batches #1 and #2. We look forward to seeing them again in June, perhaps to share a pint at Revolution Brewing. Until then, batch #3 should be ready sometime next week and we need to fire up the brewery as soon as our new grain shipment comes in.
Even when you reach Step #6, a brewer's work is never really done.