July 30, 2009

Reminder: Mead Day 2009!

Just a friendly reminder that the homebrew club will be celebrating Mead Day 2009 at It's All About Wine on Wabash Avenue this Saturday, August 1st, from 12-5pm. We'll be making a few batches and answering any questions about mead-making that we can.

Our event coincidently times with It's All About Wine's normal Saturday wine tastings so drop on by and taste some wine and watch some mead-making.

Dern it all I *AM* a farmer

Gardening is something I flirt with occasionally and really feel like I should just fling myself into headlong. Problem is that I am lazy at heart and I find it hard to maintain any level of reasonable human intervention. I am growing seven tomato plants for my wife and have already harvested a few this year. Tomatos are easy though and the fact that they are 10 feet from the back door helps remind me to water them.

I planted some Cascade hops from rhizomes a member of our club graciously donated to the group. I had the best intentions but time got away from me and I didn't quite plant them when I should've. They went in the ground at the end of May around the same time I planted some peas (again a new experience for me) along the back fence. I watered them all in the first weeks but when I discovered the peas were regularly being trimmed down by the rabbits I gave up on everything but the tomatoes (again so close and ever-present I could not help but feel guilty abandoning them).

I did check out my hop plants which dutifully albeit slowly rose from the ground and wound themselves up the fence. I'd aid them in winding if I saw them head astray and inconvenient to me but pretty much wrote them off for the year since they were so untended by myself. However I started to notice some flowers (cones) on one of the vines.

Pardon my poor phone camera pictures.

Now I'll tell you I am surprised at my own damn luck in the face of near absolute abandonment of my hop vines. Partial shade, only rain for water and some sort of aphid infestation may have laid my vines low, low, low but they are out there producing for me. Aiming to please with some Cascade goodness.

Now I will wait and duly create a Pale Ale to time with my cones and when the time comes I will wet hop it with everything I have. Damn you hop vines for making my day.

July 22, 2009

Mead Day 2009

August 1st is Mead Day 2009 which is an event sponsored by the American Homebrew Association designed to celebrate and encourage the making of mead.

The Prairie Schooners have decided to organize an event at It's All About Wine to encourage both local homebrewers making mead and local producers of honey.

The event will coincide with It's All About Wine's normal Saturday wine tasting so drop on by to see meadmaking, talk mead and honey and sample some fine wine at the same time.

July 15, 2009

Good Taste Trumps Good Sense!

A nice story on NPR's Marketplace about how the recession has not quite impacted craft brewers as they might have expected.

The audio and a text version can be had here:


It's a brief story but offers two alternative (but not necessarily competing) reasons:

1) If you were already able to afford premium craft beers then you are less likely to be impacted by the economy.

2) People are cutting back on larger expenses but countering with a desire or need to splurge in little ways.

Hard call. I tend to lean towards the first argument,

July 6, 2009


Oh how my beer world has been impacted. I don't even think I've been to Friar Tuck for over a month and only at Brewhaus more recently due to guests from out-of-town. I have yet to bottle my beer from Brew Day in May. Part of the problem there is that I racked into a glass carboy for the first time and beer can last quite some time in there with little adverse impact. I did manage to create a label for it whenever I get 'round to bottling. Let's hope the beer is worthy.

I have mostly subsisted on Schlafly Pale Ale and Wolaver's Pale Ale which I personally find among the best of the Pales. They aren't too hoppy so I must supplement while out with DFH 60 or Boulevard Pale or SNPA where I can.

I did pick up one interesting beer in Capital Brewing's latest Summer seasonal. It is there Wild Rice lager. Capital's website states that the addition adds a fruity/nutty flavor to which I fully agree perhaps tending more towards nutty than fruity. It is an interesting variation even if you aren't wholly thrilled with lagers in general and definitely worth a try.

The Prairie Schooners Homebrew Club is still very active if slightly distracted by the vagaries of Summer. Elections are this Thursday and I believe I am a shoe-in for Vice-President. One year to make a difference and plan for the eventual untimely accident to befall Brian.