Monday, January 28, 2008

Brewing your own beer

In an effort to economize, we decided to try to make our own beer.

Our neighbors, penniless graduate students, taught us how to get started. This involved buying hops, yeast, and malted barley--yes, they sold this in the supermarket--, a bottle capper, bottles--we washed out used ones--and bottle caps. Mr Charm handled the technical aspects of the process.

I don't remember all the ins and outs of it, but I do remember the five-gallon crock that sat in the corner of the kitchen, where the beer was fermenting. An occasional but somewhat sinister glug came out once in a while, as though a monster were trapped in the crock and trying to get out. After fermenting, we bottled it, using a funnel.

It actually looked and tasted like beer, but with two inches of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. You had to pour carefully. I don't know the octane, but this stuff, while drinkable, had the kick of a mule. Two of these and you were out for the night. As he had classes to prepare for the next day, my husband couldn't drink the stuff. Since one regular beer makes me giddy, I couldn't either.

As it happened, we were living in an old mansion that was broken up into apartments. The other apartments housed old ladies with loud excitable dogs.

Anything that was being discarded had to be hauled up a steep driveway in the trunk of a car. Of course, the old ladies couldn't do it. So we did, not being old ladies.

But there was plenty of room in the attic. So when we regretfully decided we couldn't drink the beer, we put the full bottles up there, rather than hauling them to the street. Every once in a while a loud pop would come from the attic, but we ignored it. Once in a while, we cleaned up the shattered glass.

We left it there when we moved out, and I like to think of the occasional loud pop spooking the old ladies and causing the excitable little dogs to bark wildly. It's a nice thought.

(Recycled post)


SnoopyTheGoon said...

By now the stuff may have matured into a vintage champagne. Or cognac. Could be worth checking...

miriam sawyer said...

It's in Troy, NY--I can give you directions if you want to look for it.