Attention homebrewers: one of the most important elements for a successful relationship between you and your significant other is the ability to communicate that they come first over your brewing hobby.
This seems at first glance a simple and obvious statement, (or maybe just crazy talk) but how often do we ignore what is seemingly common sense? As passionate homebrewers we often move through the world with a maniacal focus on all things beer related, occasionally coming up for air now and again to see what the rest of the world is doing. Only then do we realize how we've completely ignored those that are important in our lives.
This is the moment when the questions arise 'what can I do to make this right?'
Initially you might make the authoritative declaration, 'I'm not going to talk exclusively about brewing tools, techniques, equipment, the latest hop, the next beer festival, why my beer didn't attenuate, and on and on and on' Naturally, you both know this is a non-starter. When was the last time you went a whole day without some kind of beer talk? Setting goals that are too impossibly high to achieve is setting yourself up for failure. Better to aim for something reasonable.
Well, I personally have not come up with the answer to this dilemma with the exception of one possible solution. How about putting a beer on tap with her name on it? A real private reserve so to speak, that she can call her own and claim you brewed it specifically for her because you love her! Maybe give it a cute label like, My Honey's Honey Ale, or I Only Have Ales For You. Now, I'm not suggesting that you deceive her or that this is in any way manipulative but that this gesture is done with the utmost sincerity and loving intention.
For this very reason, I found myself sitting down with fellow Zymurgeek homebrewer Mark C. to taste and evaluate Hair of the Dog's 'Ruth' pale ale. Mark is interested in brewing this beer at his wife's request. She took to liking this beer enough to make a request of ten gallons to be available on tap exclusively for her enjoyment.
Having a beer on tap that is specifically brewed for your partner, provides you with not only the opportunity to express appreciation and gratitude towards her, (proving that you do think of her and see her as more important than brewing), but also has the added benefit of paving the way towards opportunities (that is, agreements and cooperation) to expand on your brewing operations. Of course this would be a secondary consideration.
In any case we opened a bottle to enjoy and to see if we could recreate this great pale ale on a homebrewer scale.
This beer is golden copper in color and had very low carbonation and so was poured from about a foot above the glass to get a head on it. It is malt forward with some subtle fruitiness and little hop flavor. The bitterness is low but lingers long after the swallow. This is an easy drinking beer with low alcohol (4.5%), low carbonation and low bitterness, although the bitterness does well to balance the malt.
I sent off an email to the brewer asking for the recipe but haven't heard back yet and I'm not holding my breath. From what Mark and I could find on the label and through our observation and taste analysis of this beer, we're guessing it is mostly Pilsner malt with a small percentage of crystal #20 and or crystal #40. There may very well be a small amount of Victory malt too. The original gravity is approximately 1.042 with a final gravity of 1.010 and a bittering hop on the harsher end of the scale like Chinook at about 25 ibu's.
I'm sure there are many other ways of telling the ones you love that they are more important than your obsession with beer but during the writing of this post I couldn't come up with more. Please leave your suggestions in the comment section below so that all of us can benefit from the ideas.