Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Late One Night and the Joys of Homebrewing

Here I am, sitting awake in the wee hours of the morning. I imagine that it's only partially due to the coughing and hacking and intermittent throbs of a ninja headache that slips in and out of the shadows at will.

The other reason I'm awake?

Unexplainable restlessness? No, I'm sure there's a reason. I just can't put my finger on it quite yet. Who knows, maybe in the grand scheme of things all threads of this evening's unwoven tapestry have been engineered to lead me here, to post this for you.

Yeah, probably BS, but it sure sounded poetic -- didn't it?

I believe I caught this bug at my nephew's birthday party, though it does seem a bit strange that I'm the only one showing symptoms so far. I feel a bit better though, so at least I can hope to get feeling normal again soon.

It sure has hurt to talk, then again, maybe that's an improvement for some. Ha ha! I know my wife must be enjoying the break since I haven't been going on and on about the batch of beer I've been brewing.

The funny thing is that I've never been a big beer drinker. But I love the science of the process and I'm simultaneously taking on the goal of making a perfectly drinkable soda that the entire family can enjoy. That's the end game for me. So far the first batch of Ginger Ale turned out too bitter. I've got the next batch in the fridge now and it'll be ready in two days for testing. Here's hoping for something drinkable!

Oh, I'll keep brewing beer for a while... I've enlisted a buddy to join in the process with me and I think I've chosen well. Whereas I am not an avid beer drinker, he is. I figure this is smart for a few different reasons. First, we need the bottles back after each batch before we can reach the bottling phase of the next. Second, there's no way I'm drinking two and a half cases of beer in a week - especially if it doesn't taste very good (as is the case with some learning processes). Third, with a partner I don't have to worry about footing the entire cost of it just to enjoy the experience of doing it.

What I've found most interesting though, hasn't necessarily been the beer-making process, but more the history of the process. It used to be that all brews were home-brews. The same goes for sodas, which were often used as a sort of herbal tonic and treated in some ways like medicine by many homesteading families. A big difference, though, was that these beverages lacked the sheer amount of sugar or sugar substitutes that we've seen with modern-day sodas and they were most often made with ingredients that were readily foraged.

It was also very interesting to me to find out just how many people have taken these beverages back from the hands of large businesses and have started making their own sodas at home. Sure, it's more effort, but by making your own soda you can limit the amount of sweeteners and even the type of sweeteners used. Otherwise, if you want a coke made with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup in the States, you've got to look in the specialty aisle and pick up a glass bottle made in Mexico. Of course, it comes with that specialty food price tag as well.

I've got this Friday off. So far the weather looks pretty dismal this week but we've got plans to take the kids to the pool sometime this weekend. I'm also looking forward to climbing out of this mental fog by then so I can get some good writing time in. With any luck, I'll be able to enjoy a nice homemade Ginger Ale while I'm at it!


Jim Murdoch said...

Interesting. I've never really thought about making my own soft drinks. In the seventies and eighties it seemed that every house bar ours for some reason had a device called a SodaStream where you could add concentrate to carbonated water. My wife says the product didn't take off in the States. It wasn't brewing your own but if you fancied mixing up Irn Bru (Scotland's other national drink) and orangeade you could go for it.

Check out the favourite ads on the Irn Bru website - they'll cheer you up no end. Especially 'The Snowman' video.

Dave King said...

Have a great weekend, whatever you do!

zorlone said...

That is an idea! If we can make our own sodas, then the market would have gone crazy and advertisements would be seen everywhere! There would also be brand a to z, then a-1 to z-infinity. hehehe

I'm sorry about your condition, I hope you are drinking a lot of water.


Jena Isle said...

During the early days, we also made wine from rice. We call it "tapey" - (rice wine). The rice was fermented making use of non pathogenic bacteria.

I had a cough, sore throat and hoarse voice too, for almost 3 weeks. I could not sleep flat on my back. I could only sleep when I sat down.

I took in lots of meds, only to find out later that I had GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) , that could not be cured by mere cough preparations. I had to take in antacids or anti-hyperacidity like kremils s and zantac before I got well.

I hope you'll get well soon.

Sofia- Free ads said...

It's my first time here and my impression.You have what it takes to be a writer so keep on writing because I'm sure you'll go far:-)

Brady said...

I've got a batch of mead brewing too. It's basically a honey wine for those not familiar. I tasted it the other night and boy does it have some kick to it!

Uh oh, that reminds me that I was going to bottle it up tonight!