Showing posts with label beer nut. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beer nut. Show all posts

Friday, April 6, 2012

Why I Blog

I have always enjoyed writing, and I hope it is something that I am not too shabby at. I make no claims to be anywhere near the standard of my favourite authors, Umberto Eco, Nick Hornby and Andrei Makine among them. However, in addition to my regular ramblings about beer on here, I occasionally write on another couple of blogs, one about whatever pops into my head and the other about philosophy and religion. Writing has always been part of my life, when I was a practising Christian I had about 30 poems published in various magazines and anthologies, as well as writing music reviews for Cross Rhythms magazine. I have written technical documentation, articles about real estate in Prague and sales proposals, I am even trying to write a novel, though that is going through a major mental revision at the moment.

It is just shy of four years ago that I wrote the first post on this blog. In that first post, I said that my posts could consist of:

"posting pictures and stories about beer, and most importantly the people that my journey brings me into contact with".

When I started blogging there were only two other beer bloggers that I knew of in Prague, Evan Rail and Max Bahnson. At first I read them, then met them and today I feel honoured to call both of them my friends. In various constellations we have shared many a beer, and to this day they are two of the people I miss most from Prague. Many a Saturday afternoon finds me wishing I could send either of them a text message and arrange to meet for a pint at Pivovarsky klub or Zly ?asy.

In November 2008 I realised a long standard ambition to visit Ireland. Mrs Velkyal had a friend that had married an Irishman, and so as we had a long weekend and it was close to my birthday we flew over. The Irishman was to become the author of The Tale of the Ale blog, and since then we have shared several beery adventures. One trip took in the delights of Prague, Brno and Southern Moravia, while more recently me met up in Paris to wander the streets and down many pints. During our initial trip to Ireland we went to Galway and found the most perfect pub on the planet. Sheridan's on the Docks, now sadly departed, had Budvar and Galway Hooker on tap, a peat fire and the rugby on the tv, it was simply idyllic. At the end of the trip Mrs V and I met with the eponymous Beer Nut and Barry, an Irishman writing about beer life in Germany having Bitten the Bullet.

Within weeks of moving to Charlottesville, we had met with one E.S. Delia, and his lovely wife to be, whose blog Relentless Thirst gave me plenty of insight before moving over. Eric had commented on Fuggled before we moved and invited us to his rooftop tasting. Meeting and getting to know Eric has been one of the highlights of life in Virginia.

I could wax lyrical about the people I have met, and friends I have made as a result of beer, but one story stands out. As you may know I work at the Starr Hill tasting room occasionally. Last year, I was there for my one day that month and my colleague asked me to come and chat with a customer, a fellow Brit. A couple of minutes later my colleague asked me where I thought the customer was from. Given the slight London/Estuary thing going on his voice, I assumed he was from the south-east corner. The customer's response was "I'm Scottish", and through a series of questions and stunned responses it transpired that we had both grown up in the Outer Hebrides, from adjacent islands and he had been 2 years ahead of me at school. We know a lot of the same people and happened to meet in the brewery on the one day of that month I was working. He is now my regular drinking buddy here.

That's what beer means to me, and by extension blogging about it. The people I have met. Beer people are good people, and this blog has opened many doors to meet them. That then is what drives me, writing not just for myself, but for the people I have met and hope one day to meet.

This month's Session is being hosted by the guys at Brewpublic and the theme is "what drives beer bloggers?".

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bottled Gold

Yesterday was bottling day for my latest home brew, a Best Bitter which I named Ring of Gold - I used only East Kent Golding hops in the boil and fermented it with the Ringwood Ale yeast and thought "Ring of Gold" sounded better than "Golden Ring".

Since my disaster with the Copper Head Pale Ale, which I plan to make properly some time in the summer, I have gone back to using the Wyeast smack packs instead of vials from White Labs and have had consistently good fermentation as a result. I also brew quite small batches, only about 2.5 gallons a time, because I don't have much storage space in my cellar and I would rather have a broad selection of beers to choose from instead of filling the cellar with 2 batches, it also means I get to brew more regularly. I find the brewing process quite relaxing, so the more I do, the happier I am.

From a technical standpoint Ring of Gold performed exactly as I expected, going from an original gravity of 1.040 to a terminal gravity of 1.008, giving the beer an ABV of 4.3%. According to Beer Tools, the beer has an IBU rating of 28, which is on the lower end of the scale for a Best Bitter.

Next up in the brewing queue is another batch of LimeLight, a wheat beer I made last summer using lime peel instead of the more common curacao orange. The recipe for LimeLight was made available to Czech home brewers through - unless you speak Czech don't bother - and seems to have gone down well with people who have made it. Of my own version, Ireland's venerable Beer Nut described it thus:

"The carbonation is spot-on and I've got a nice, lasting layer of froth on the top. I'm tasting a sweet biscuity base, and then there's the sharp and tangy citric fruitiness. Topped with the froth, the whole thing is remarkably like drinking lemon meringue pie. A genuinely excellent beer, well done"

Taking on board some comments from The Beer Nut, I have decided to add some ginger into the mix for this version and see where that takes the beer.

As ever with my home brewing, every prospect pleases.

PS - there is only one day left to vote on the base beer style for the International Homebrew Project, and as things stand we have equal votes for three of the four beer styles. If they are still tied when the poll closes, I will pull the winner out of a hat.

Old Friends: Joseph's Brau PLZNR

I have to admit that there really are not that many things that I miss as a result of this pandemic. I am sure that comes as something of a ...