The homebrew gods have been busy dropping hints this week. Firstly, things are coming together nicely for The Challenge. Someone I know knows someone who will be sowing barely in the next week or so, and he’s agreed to get a kilo of barley for me. The Co-op we’re helpful, as usual, but they didn’t know if the varieties that they had in stock were 2- or six-row barley. Two-row is traditionally used in proper beer, and the lighter beer from America uses 6-row, as it lends itself better to additional (cheaper) ingredients, like rice etc. Six-row is also used in malt whiskies, but that’s a bit out of my league just yet. Anyway, I’m left with two varieties, Quench and Snakebite (both sound like words thrown around a pub, so I must be on the right path). I’ve also been allocated a small plot at the allotments, and a couple of friends have offered me some space in their gardens, one in a veg patch, and the other in a lawn. I’m thrilled at the idea of having somewhere to grow my barley, but less so about returning a lawn to its original state after I’ve turned it into a barley patch!
I’ve also found a massive stock pot in which to boil the beer. It’s at the local GAA club (God knows what they use it for), and I’m sure they won’t mind lending it to me once in a while if it’s for a good cause. I was ‘looking for the bin’, and rummaging through their cupboards after a meeting the other night, and ‘happened’ across it. Nothing quite like thrift to keep the price of a pint down.
But, whilst being both gracious and generous, the homebrew gods have also been encouraging me to ‘get my finger out’, as it were. There’s competition! I hear there’s a fella in the next town over who wants to set up a microbrewery. Now, I’m not saying that I do (yet), but if I did, I don’t need this upstart who’s been brewing for years getting in before me!
And finally, I’ve also been sort-of asked to present a homebrew demonstration at the local gardening club meet. Quite how I’m going to condense a 4-week process into a 90-minute talk is yet to be worked out, but I suspect it’ll involve something Blue Peter has been doing for years… cheating.