I’ve been trying out twitter for a couple weeks. I didn’t think I had anything to say using short frequent text-based messages (not “text messages” because I still get charged for those, but messaged consisting only of text). I think I was missing the point of twitter; I think saying some very simple things is pretty useful. I’m also finding that I *do* have things to say. Compare reading just one newspaper article to reading no articles but all the headlines.
I had a great time at the American Craft Brew Fest today. The fest took place in the World Trade Center Boston, which is the same location of the Massachusetts bar exam. The carpet was the same bright blue color, but by all other measures, the beer fest was better than the bar exam.
The fest had a great selection of beers, and the crowd seemed focused on certain craft brew leaders (or perhaps the bar tenders at certain booths were just slow to serve). Among the greats: Lagunitas, Dogfish Head (probably the most popular), Brooklyn Brewery, and Stone. Check out my blurry picture of Sam Calagione serving up Dogfish Head and Garrett Oliver serving up Brooklyn (note the cowboy shirt with hop vines and flowers).
There were a lot of quality lesser known beers too. Interestingly, Michelob had a large booth. Someone told me one of their beers was really good, but it looked like most were avoiding it.
The highlight of the fest for me was a presentation by Garrett Oliver, who is clearly an advocate for drinking better beer. Garrett had one point that I found particularly inspiring (paraphrased): Some of your best experiences in life with be sharing a meal with family and with friends; shouldn’t you be eating real food and the drink equivalent? His basic argument is that mainstream american beer is like wonderbread. It’s meant to synthesize the real thing, but it’s not made of real ingredients using a real process. (Maybe the word “honest” would convey this point better. Hopefully, you get the idea.)
I started brewing my own beer over the last couple months. It’s quite an enjoyable process involving simple ingredients, a reasonable amount of effort, and positive results. Much like baking bread, there are very few ingredients but infinite variety in the finished product. It’s also a hobby that requires cool equipment like giant stainless steel pots, tubes, siphons, bottle cap crimpers, etc. Brewing has great colors too: lots of copper, brown, and shiny silver (the stainless steel).
My first brew was a bock, which did not turn out that great (something about lack of cold-aging, “lagering”, that I didn’t do). The second brew (pictured) is a Belgian Dubbel that turned out great. I’m still a beginning brewer so I’m using malt extract as one of my ingredients. In the picture here I’m pouring the syrupy goodness that is malt extract into my beer. Over time, I plan to amass an arsenal of brewing gear, which I’ll use to expand into “all grain” brewing.