Beer is just one of many products that are "alive" and influenced by yeast and bacteria. Beer, wine, pickled foods, breads, cured meats and cheeses are just a few examples. I've made bread for years, in traditional ways and using a bread maker, and have started to do so with more frequency. Bread making is a craft that provides almost undelayed satisfaction. You can bake a loaf of bread and eat it within a few hours or a day. This makes it easy to experiment and easy to enjoy. It also makes mistakes much more bearable. But, there's something exciting about products that have to ripen and change over time. It forces the producer to let go and have faith in the process and requires the embrace of uncontrollable variables. It's one reason why I tend to gravitate toward beers that need aging and blending and other processes that require the influence of time to be effective. It's also the reason why I started making cheese.
|Partially pressed Jack cheese|
Lewy's Blackout IPA
I also found time to make a beer. In the course of close to 10 years and nearly 120 batches of beer, I've never reproduced a beer made by another homebrewer without altering it in some way to suit my tastes. I decided to recreate an outstanding Cascadian Dark Ale made by my friend Lewy, following the recipe he provided as strictly as possible. Blackout IPA is dark and hoppy, but different than most other similar beers I have experience with. Lewy uses Glacier hops as the primary aroma component, making the beer unique and enjoyable. He was nice enough to give me hops for the beer from his immense cache. Read Lewy's original post here. I hope my version can do it justice.