I started brewing in 2008 after a friend introduced me to the concept and showed me the kegs of homebrew he and his roommates had. Honestly, I don't remember much of what I tried at his apartment, but the seed was planted. When a technical writing class assignment required me to create a brochure on a process, I chose brewing. Down the rabbit hole I went. It seemed easy enough, and if my friend could do it, why couldn't I? I found some old, unused brewing equipment in my parents' basement, ordered the missing parts and a stout kit, and began. My first brew was a half decent oatmeal stout, although I learned the hard way that plastic miller lite bottles do not make for a great way to age beer.
Fast forward a few years later: I bring a couple of my homebrews to a housewarming party. My friends hosting the party introduce me to a girl who also brews and who brought a few of her homebrews to the party. I have her try my 50 shades of Greyskull IPA, continuously hopped with a pound of Sorachi Ace in a 5 gallon batch. (See recipe below. She hasn't let me live it down yet). She has me try an amber ale that was made with the wrong yeast. (She wasn't very happy with it.) We hit it off that night, and 3 years later we are still brewing together. During the past three years, our brewing process and beer knowledge has evolved. We've gone from extract batches to all grain, as well as coast to coast and abroad to learn more about beer. I feel we have come leaps and bounds from when we first started brewing together, and even farther from where I started alone.
That brings us to today: the first of February. We live together now and recently built out our keezer to run 3 taps. The beer garden in our dining room is now open. This month I've decided to challenge myself to only drink alcohol we have made. This shouldn't be a particularly difficult challenge, as we have five kegs partially full of beer and the other half of the keezer filled with various bottles and cans.
The larger challenge is preparing for the DC Homebrewers Cherry Blossom competition. I am currently fermenting a small batch of a cherry blossom lager, brewed last weekend. Stay tuned: more on the lager and brewing to come soon.
50 Shades of Greyskull IPA (2012)
For using up a remaining pound of hops as well as meeting new people
5 Gallon Batch
13 oz sorachi ace hops leaf, 1 oz every 6 min, 3 oz dry hop
10 lbs 2-row or other base malt (extract: 6 lbs light dry extract)
1 lb cara munich
1 lb carapils
San Diego Super Yeast WLP090
ABV: 6.7 - 7%