As the autumn equinox passes and the nights draw in, thoughts turn to Christmas ale, spice in beer, and the spice of life.
The focus on a single ingredient - American hops - is the top of a slippery slope. It encourages an ever-narrowing focus on certain elements of that ingredient, which sends us sliding towards a place where fizzy, alcoholic fruit juice can be mistaken for beer.
With a couple of friends to lend a helping hand, brew day can be a hospitable time of aimless conversation, mutual admiration of shiny brewing equipment, and shameless indulgence in good beer, cheese and ham.
With Vintage Beer, Patrick Dawson has given us a handy, easy-to-use book on a topic that is attracting more and more attention from beer drinkers.
In my imagination, sometimes the discarded brown bottles of the city sing out to me. They want to be rescued. They want to be washed, scrubbed, cleansed, like seabirds plucked from an oil slick.
I called the beer “A1 Nut Job”. It’s got peanut butter in it. It originated in an encounter that made me think of Sigmund Freud and his musings on Doppelgӓngers and the “unheimlich”. I like to imagine Jack Nicholson saying it in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Why was Dany Prignon – the George Best of Belgian brewing, its Richard Feynman, its Doctor Who, if you will – enquiring after my drinking habits?
The most common advice that experienced homebrewers offer to first-timers is, “Try something simple.” So I set my sights on one of the most admired beers on the planet.
Had Nietzsche only thought to set up a couple of buckets he might have discovered, in brewing, the familial link between Denny Conn’s notion of fun and his own concept of “joy”, entwined with, and inextricable from, regret.