Big Brew was a challenge for me this year because it was the first batch of beer I’ve made since putting my brewing equipment in storage six months ago. I pulled it all out a few days early to take an inventory of what I needed and to make sure I was prepared for a day without mishaps. As it turns out, I only forgot a couple unessential components like my thermometer and clarifier.
The American Homebrewers Association event turned out to be a big success this year with six members of the Zymurgeeks homebrew club including myself, brewing batches of beer in the patio area of Seabright Brewery. The day was sunny and warm and we set up early to prepare our demonstrations for the amusement of the coming lunch crowd. Several of the AHA’s recommended recipes (Am. Wheat, Scottish ale and Oktoberfest) were brewed but I took a different path by brewing an organic pale ale. I decided that if I was going to make ten gallons of beer, that it ought to be something that I enjoy drinking and that would be good for the coming summer months. With an original gravity of 1.054 this should be a low alcohol easy drinking beer with bold citrus hop flavors.
While the day was enjoyable, the space was limited and I found myself feeling a little claustrophobic as I squeezed my way between brew rigs to plug into the electrical outlet and screw my water hose into the community splitter. Fortunately, plenty of homebrew was being shared to keep my sense of humor in tact. We all took up glasses of beer to make the national home brewers toast and it gave me pause to appreciate the camaraderie and shared interests of my local home brewing community.
When all was said and done, I hit my targeted gravity and my equipment performed perfectly despite the months it lay dormant in storage while I was in Mexico. The hard part was the clean up and jockeying my heavy brew sculpture out between tables which were filled with patrons enjoying their lunch.