I don’t hide the fact that I am not a fan of pouring beer at public beer festivals.
Brewing day is here and typically my life’s in chaos. My sister-in-law is visiting. My wife is working. In addition to entertaining her sister, I’m juggling my kids and trying to get my boil going during the (fingers crossed) two hour morning nap my two-year old usually takes. It’s a short window but it’s all I’ve got.
On the docket for today is the creation of a witbier seasoned with coriander and kumquats, rather than the traditional (not to mention proven) bitter orange peel.
Up early, get the kids fed, get the little one back down for a nap and get cracking. Got my ingredients, got my equipment sanitized, and I’m off.
The boil went almost perfectly smoothly. I’ve never had a boil-over, yet I came awfully close this time. Could that have been due to the flaked oats? I was helping my daughter with her latest craft idea (or otherwise being the perfect Dad that I am) when I realized that a column of foam had formed above the rim of my 5-gallon (19-L) bucket. Leaping into action, I turned off the stove and was able to stave off a kitchen disaster. This time....
I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking, but somehow I had this idea in my head that I’d take all my risk up front in getting Heretic off the ground and once it was past a certain point, there would be a lot less risk. Ah, poor, simple fool.
When, in response to the super-fantastic brewing idea you’ve just floated, the homebrew store owner Joe, a seasoned brewer in his own right says, “You sure you want to do that?” It tends to deflate your can-do spirit; especially if, like me, you’re a
nervous novice brewer.
So what’s my big idea? We’ll get to that.
It’s been hot lately, and soon it’s going to get hotter. I wanted to brew something to keep me cool and not overwhelm me with alcohol. I’d brewed a saison this time last year (and was for once quite happy with one of my creations) but wanted to try something different.
Witbier was the answer. I love its ability to refresh. And the coriander and orange peel spicing typical to the style add to the complexity and the overall joy of the drinking experience. So I nosed around the web and ended up right back here. That is, here....
When I moved to Boston, for graduate school in 1991, I remember seeing Sam Adams T-shirts saying, “I am a revolting beer drinker.” I thought the shirts were clever and was intrigued by the idea of trying a locally-made beer. The only other locally-made beer I’d had to that point was drinking Schell’s while visiting a friend in New Ulm, Minnesota in the late 80’s (before Schell’s started making craft beers).
When I first tried it, I didn’t know what to think. It was very different from any beer that I had ever had, but different in a way I liked. A couple of weeks later I knew all about craft beer. (There was much less to know at that point.) Beer came in many styles and flavors, and many small American brewers were brewing beer rivaling the best imports, which I was also discovering at the time....