I started homebrewing now I guess, about 5 years ago…….It all started with me going along with my daughter over to Europe (Paris, Rome, Florence, Munich) on a trip that she had always wanted to take and now she had the chance……As far as I was concerned, I wasn’t that interested at the time……(1997) This to her was all she dreamed of for many years and talked about it whenever the subject could be cultivated to be the top subject at the table……we both listened for sure, but it seemed to be out of the question so it just wasn’t a top priority. One day she came home and announced she was going to make it happen and would I go with her? I said” I don’t think so , I just don’t have the money for a trip like that but maybe you can get someone else to go along”……..She begged and begged me and finally Daddy-o said” Just go. When will you ever have a chance to go to Europe again and especially with our daughter? That would be so memorable and we’ll figure out the money part”. So away we went, and I can’t tell you how exciting and wonderful it was!!
Anyway, that trip introduced me to German, Asian, and Italian style beer……When I got back, I just couldn’t drink the same old Miller Lite anymore!! I needed more richness,boldness and color along with flavor to sit and dwell on while just enjoying a good beer…….. Living in the NW part of the US, there was plenty of small breweries that were springing up all over and each had their own “receipes” . As time went on, I decided to try a 5 gallon batch myself and so I went out and bought the equipment that I needed to try this out……My first receipe was an IPA (India Pale Ale)…..and it turned out very inviting with a golden copper color and a rich , creamy head on the top…..I bottled all the beer in dark brown , long neck bottles and capped them with a bottle capper and place them in some boxes where the light could not get to them and let them condition( let the flavor develop) in a closet for about 6 weeks. the first one I opened and poured in a tall, cold, frosted glass, I was hooked in homebrewing forever……..Next I planted three hop plants, all different varieties, in our yard early in the spring, about March, I think……That’s when its good and rainy here yet and on the cool order for another 6 weeks until it starts to come alive with blossoms all over the yards. The hop plants come as just a 5 or 6 ” piece of stalk with a bud . You plant it sideways, not too deep and wait…….soon a few leaves appear and you are in luck. Sprouts will push up through the ground and after the first year , most of the sprouts should be trimmed off, leaving about 4 nice , sturdy ones and have a pole about 12′ tall for it too climb…they naturally climb clockwise. Leaves appear and then flowers(cones). They are ready to pick around August, which then need to be dried and packaged. Best to freeze them until brewing day………….
It won’t be long and a new batch will be fermenting and be ready for the fall Holidays……