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How do you do it?

August 3, 2011

This week I brewed my first all-grain batch of beer.  It was quite the ordeal, something I’ve worked up to over the last couple months, batch after batch, getting my head around the process of brewing beer.  But with each attempt, with every new discovery (read–mistake), I feel can’t help but feel a little connection with brewers and barely-drinkable-homebrew the world-over…

Note the fermenting bucket in the background!

In Ethiopia, it was Tej (some sort of honey mead), in Darfur, some noxious contraband made of fermented dates, brewed by some of my staff.  In Abkhazia, where drinking with foreigners is a national sport, every household not only makes wine, but distills some sort of brandy from the fruit of their kitchen garden.  In Lesotho, some enterprising bar owners brew open-fermented, sour sorghum beer, while in the tropics you can find some iteration of “Palm Wine” no matter were you visit.  Apparently here in the US, Johnny Appleseed would scatter his namesake to grow the materials necessary for hard cider, while my forebears have become so skilled at growing and malting barley, that the whiskey distillery is as iconic of scottish-ness as the kilt or a highland cow.

And so I take my place at the kettle, brewing what I can from what I’ve got–doing my best to keep the kitchen clean, tickled to be learning a process I’ve encountered throughout the world, and of course.


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