Women2Women - Winter 2018 - 33

Waiting on mashing to complete, my friend and I took Brenden's
advice, and went for a dip in the 'Tully,' a beloved local creek next
to which I live.
We came back, dried off, and I pulled out the bag containing the
grains and held it over the pot, while my husband poured near-boiling
water over it. This is called sparging and it extracts the last bit of
sugar from the grains.

how [industrialized] food is made.
Your ["Millennial"] generation is
coming back to the place where my
grandmother was ...by growing and
making your own food."
I have enjoyed my own kombucha (a type of fermented beverage
often made with brewed tea, sugar and bacteria that's introduced from a
starter culture) and quick-pickled garden vegetables, but was determined
to level up by brewing my own beer. And so, we arrived at the Weak
Knee Home Brew Supplies store. Its staff made me feel comfortable
even though I knew little about brewing except for a crash-course to
prepare for the trip (and, of course, my imbibing preferences).
A staff member named Brenden S. greeted us, and my husband
handed him our grain bill - a list naming how much of what kind of
grains we wanted - that he had drafted to make a hefeweizen-style beer.
And, we chose Bavarian wheat yeast, which produces clove undertones.
To brew, simply put, you need four essential ingredients: grain, yeast,
hops, water. Hops are what flavors beer through aroma or bittering.
While Brenden scooped, weighed, and then crushed the grains, I
asked him about the growing popularity of home brewing and his
pro tips for newbies.
"Relax. Give it time. You're not going to brew today, drink tomorrow. It doesn't work like that. Let nature keep its course. And have
fun!" he told me.
When I confessed to Brenden that I felt a little intimidated about
home brewing, he echoed what Nan had told me: You don't need to
know the details of every scientific process of fermentation, or have
the best gear to start. Try one thing. See how it goes. Try a second
thing. And so on.

Then we kicked the burner into high gear and brought the liquid
to a boil. Foam came spilling over the top in a process that's called
'hot break.' After the foam died down, we started the timer and put
in our hops, which turned the foam green, and made the whole
outside smell wonderfully, like pine trees.
Then - perhaps most importantly - we poured ourselves some
home-brewed cider, sat around the burner and pot, and shot the
breeze, catching up and reminiscing on past adventures together.
With 15 minutes left in the boil, to sanitize a big copper tube
called a wort chiller, I placed the tube in the boiling water. Then,
once the boil was done, I attached it to the hose and it pumped cold
water through it to rapidly cool the wort down. Then, I opened the
valve at the bottom of the pot and poured the liquid into a large,
sanitized plastic pail, and brought it inside. We sanitized and cut
open the yeast packet and sprinkled it onto the top of the liquid in
the pail. Lastly, I fastened the lid of the plastic pail and attached an
airlock onto the plastic pail lid so that the yeast could do its thing.
Fermenting food or drink at home is not something to do in a rush.
It takes time. Nan walked me through her timeline of making kimchi:
she grew her own cabbage, carrots, onions and daikon radishes from seed
and harvested them in late October. The kimchi won't be ready to eat
until December, around the same time my beer will be ready to enjoy.
But, according to Reinert, it's worth the wait: "There's nothing
better in this world than on a cold winter day to enjoy something
that you grew in your garden, and knowing where what you're eating
comes from."
Her favorite kimchi recipe is a "Reuben sandwich": press bread
with butter, a healthy helping of the kimchi, cheese and Russian
dressing in the Panini press.

But for the newbie who still needs a guiding hand, Weak Knee
does offer beginner kits, filled with all you'll need to brew your first,
and offers beginner classes.
We came home, grains and yeast in hand, and excitedly set to
brewing in my driveway. (With a smaller pot, you can also use a
kitchen stove top.)
First, we heated the water then added grains. This activates the
enzymes from the grains and breaks down the grain starches into
sugars that the yeast can eat in a process called mashing.
berkswomen2women.com 33


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