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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beer Making 101

For Christmas 2006, my sister-in-law gave John a gift certificate to brew his own beer at a brewery in St. Paul. Said gift certificate sat in the junk drawer for almost 2 years. After cleaning out the drawer and finding it, I encouraged John to give them a call and see if he could still use it, you never know, right?

Lucky for him, the guys that own the brewery said, 'no problem, c'mon in.'

My brother was coming to town that weekend, so we scheduled it for when he was here and could go check it out too.

We had no idea what to expect, but it was really cool. The guy walks you through the process. You pick out what beer you want to brew from an incredibly long list. Next to the selections they had comparisons to beers you've probably had before so you had some idea what the hell you were making.

Horny Toad. This is the beer John chose. Let's just say we all agreed that was pretty appropriate.

The process is all about the timing. The hops go in at a certain time, you wait, the yeast goes in at a certain time, you wait, the stuff that makes it ferment, can't remember the name, goes in at a certain time, you wait. There is a bar next door where you do your waiting, so convenient.

After your brew gets a brewin', you leave it to do its thing for two weeks. After that two weeks you come back and bottle it up and take it home to enjoy.

Since my brother couldn't hang around for two weeks for the bottling, John and I handled that detail by ourselves. Again, the process was slick and idiot-proof. About an hour and a half later, we were loading up the van with 6-12 packs of Horny Toad Pale Ale. The bottles are 22 ouncers - they are huge - two regular beers in one of these babies - so really you are getting about 6 cases of beer. That might even be hard for John to drink in the short 4 months that they say it stays good and fresh, but probably not.

If you ever get the chance to do this, and you are a real beer lover, you should. It was a great experience, a lot of fun and awesome beer. I've got my eyes on their wine making class. You come home with 30 bottles of wine!!

Here are a few pics of the fun:

My brother and his incredibly cute girlfriend.

Me and John.

John and Aaron getting all the details.

Pouring something into the pitcher to add to the beer - sorry, I didn't take notes:)

Aaron looking very serious about his beer additives.

Adding something to the mix in the brew kettle.

Waiting.

More adding of stuff. Can you tell I wasn't big into science?

More waiting.....and looking at how damn cute Jennifer is:)

John tasting already instead of holding up his end of the bottling bargain. Surprise. We were like Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory.

Filling the bottles from our keg.

Clamping the caps on the bottles.

The finished stash.

Isn't that pretty? Man, does it taste good too.

12 comments:

so NOT cool said...

That looks like a lot of fun. I think that I'll get my husband something like this for Mother's, I mean ... Father's Day next year. ;)

Madeline said...

I'll drink a good beer to you being out and about and not in a bed! You are even cuter than the brother's girlfriend. I have to find this around her. We love good beer.

Pokey said...

Looks awesome!

Hope your back feels better soon and you are back out running!!! ;)

denise said...

Oh, cool. We have made beer and cider at home, but it looks like it would be more "fun" doing it at a big brewery on their equipment and everything! :)

*~*Cece*~* said...

OMG that sounds like the PERFECT gift for Mister! I'm going to look into it today!

And I've got to say, you & John are the cutest couple!

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

That looks like so much fun. I think I'll check with one of the local breweries to see if we can do something like that here.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

What a cool gift! I'm so glad they honored it and you were able to go along and enjoy the fun. Yes, the GF is unspeakably cute--but you're no slouch either!

Cheers!

Cherry said...

Very fun! I'll have to look into something like this for my brother.

Cherry said...

I found a place just like this by my brother and an email has been sent to see if they do gift certificates!

Thanks for the great idea! (oh and thanks to your SIL!)

Kat said...

That's awesome! What a cool present.

Country Girl said...

Yum beer, what a great present!
Good looking couples!

sozzled said...

vinepark! we have a pile of bottles we need to return (and refill!) I enjoyed a bit of "horny toad" myself on Saturday night with a friend who works at the brewery v part time....i could never work there since it'd be a bit like having a fox guard the hen house ;-)