There’s a certain amount of anxiety and trepidation built into any process wherein one is forced to give something time. Imagine how nerve-wracking it must be to have a kid and have to wait for 20 years before finding out whether or not they’re a total fuck-up that you’ll have to keep supporting forever (sorry Mom)? Or imagine how on-the-edge-of-their-seat a musician must be when they start their career and have to wait at least a couple of months before they find out whether or not they’re the voice of a generation?
My own experiences with brewing beer have been akin to these examples in no small measure. Having to wait for two weeks while my beer farted in the basement was challenging enough. Having to wait for an additional two weeks while my beer farted in some bottles? Unbearable.
I’m nothing if not resilient, though, and we now find ourselves here:
In a land where I have waited the requisite number of days to drink the fruits of my labour.
Here at Fraudster’s Almanac, we’ve developed a bit of methodology around our beer reviews, and I don’t feel that it would be fair or appropriate to deviate from this methodology when reviewing this beer that contains my figurative blood, sweat and tears, and possibly my literal saliva from the siphoning/bottling process. So, I will attempt to tackle this as objectively as possible.
The Bottle: I bottled my beer in some nifty 750ml swing-tops that Chantal bought for me along with the beer making kit. I designed a label, but didn’t print any out. I’m lazy and it would have been a silly waste of paper. So… it’s a plain brown bottle…
Pretty bold statement! Whoever brewed this must be a real paradigm-shifting daredevil! Full marks!
The Colour: This beer, an IPA, wound up with a very pleasing golden colour. There’s some cloudiness to it, which is unsurprising given how little filtration is involved in the process. I have to admit, I’m pretty proud that my efforts produced a beverage that is the colour of one of the gifts brought to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on the night of his birth by some great king. Honestly, I’m not saying that this beer is the second coming of Christ, but… I’m not saying that it isn’t.
The Flavour: This is a very easy-drinking and crisp IPA! While there are notes of hoppy bitterness, they are tempered by a gentle sweetness. This sweetness, which must have been produced as a result of the honey used in the bottling process in order to give the yeasts something to much on in-bottle, brings with it a pleasant earthiness. In my estimation, the earthy flavour at play here is owed to the fact that the honey that I used (by accident, fuck you) was an all-natural buckwheat honey – not your standard Billy Bee squeeze bottle honey. This happy accident lends the beer some distinctiveness, and I’m going to take it as a sign that I actually meant to do it all along and that I was born to brew beer.
In the interest of even-handed coverage, I must report that the first bottle that I opened seemed to be a tad under-carbonated. As you can see in the above picture, pouring the beer did not result in much of a head, and the beer’s mouthfeel was noticeably less carbonated than I had been expecting. However, this appears to have been an issue with an individual bottle, as two additional bottles have been opened and the levels of carbonation seems about average.
The Verdict: I’m a responsible human being and I don’t just throw around terms like “game-changer” lightly. But I would be doing myself and my readers a disservice if I didn’t announce that this beer may change the face of beer forever. You’d better act fast. There are like three bottles left.
It wouldn’t be reasonable or balanced to leave this review entirely up to myself. I’m confident that I have presented an accurate take on this beer’s many virtues, but we need to be aware that perhaps personal bias might come into play when one finds oneself in these situations. I needed to seek out more opinions.
As luck would have it, we decided to have some people over for drinks. They were already here in my house, drinking other things. A captive audience. A writhing bucket full of guinea pigs.
I brought out a bottle of the good stuff, made a brief announcement and poured some samples.
The tasting went well! Feedback was rather positive, and I’m hoping that it wasn’t just people trying to be nice to me because they were in my house and they know how easy it is to make me cry. Folks thought the beer was “really nice”, commented on the sweetness and earthiness of it, and were generally impressed by my first stab at home-brewing. I took pains to point out that it was from a kit and that I shouldn’t get all of the credit.
“Don’t be silly”, one of them said, as they hoisted me onto their shoulders and began the semi-embarrassing but overall very sweet impromptu celebration parade down Ossington Avenue. “No pre-made kit beer person would think to put that weird honey in here. You’ve really changed the way that we think about beer.”
Hours later, when the cheers died down and we had arrived back at the house, I thanked everyone for their support and promised them that I would remember their names when I was sailing the world in my brew-yacht. As a token of gratitude, I threw them a golden Hostess Twinkie cake, which they furiously fought over. Then this happened, and it was weird:
I think that I’ll keep brewing beer. But I’m thinking about being a little bit more selective about who I hang out with.