So, I decided to invite readers to an adventure in my own apartment for the first time. Some days, with the heat we’ve been having lately, anyway, its just best to stay inside and laze around near the air conditioner. That doesn’t mean we can’t engage in an adventurous activity indoors, of course! This will become even more of a thing as we start heading into those frigid winter months, as well!
With the last decade’s craze for microbreweries, craft beers, and home brewing, I became compelled to try my own hand at a little brewing in own little kitchen. We have yet to see how everything will turn out, of course, but I’m hopeful we’ll have a product that’s at least interesting… (whether in the genuine, or the Minnesota, sense of the word). Fortunately, we have access to a lot of local craft brewing supply stores with helpful staff ready to assist you in whatever shenanigans you might want to go off on. I obtained aid and supplies from a couple of local shops, Northern Brewing, with a couple of compact locations in South Minneapolis on Lyndale, and in St. Paul on Grand Avenue. I also visited the vast warehouse like Midwest Supplies in St. Louis Park on Excelsior Boulevard. In each case, the stores were helpful and I quickly found what I needed.
Last fall, I attempted a cider, and it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. Very boozy and dry, made with fresh, unpasteurized juice from an orchard in Door County, Wisconsin (we’ll probably have a separate blog about that touristy peninsula in the future). This time around, I wanted to try out a few new things.
This summer, I’ve been busy with a variety of experiments; a chai-spice mead made with local Minnesota honey and TeaSource Darjeeling, a summer melon wine made with a local musk melon from the Minneapolis Farmers Market. I’ve moved them on to age in their carboys for six months or so, so we’ll check in on those next spring. I’ve also got a few beers in the works, a “farmers market gruit,” which is an ancient style of beer using herbs rather than hops for bittering. I added local rosemary, thyme, and oregano to the malt. In addition, I’m trying a “braggot” as well, which is another old style of beer described as a cross between a beer and a mead; I used some light hops along with the same local honey I used in the mead. I’ve left the beers to ferment while I’m on vacation, after which I’ll let them age in the carboys a few more weeks- hopefully they’ll be ready by Halloween! I got the recipes for these brews from a couple of very useful and easy to use brewing books by Emma Christensen, True Brews and Brew Better Beer. I’d recommend either of them for other beginners to brewing. We’ll see how this early attempts turn out!