Rewind about six months ago: my boyfriend, Shaun, came to me and said he didn’t want to be an accountant anymore, he wanted to own and operate his own brewery. “Fair enough,” I thought, “I could get on board with this adventure.”
New Life Goals: 0 to brewery in 4 years.
So, where do we start?
Step 1: Learn how to brew.
Over the next few weeks, research was done, equipment was purchased, supplies were gathered, and plans were made for extract brewing. The beer was delicious for a first attempt, but being an impatient person on a mission, Shaun quickly moved on to all-grain designing his own recipes. This led to the IPA’s: Floof 1 and Floof 2 (more on those in another post).
Research, Research, Research, Research.
In these next few weeks, if I talked to Shaun, it was only to be able to get a few words in between his research for the next all grain, originally designed beer.
Note: Before brewing, one of my favorite parts of the craft community was seeing all the unique beer names and artwork that different breweries come up with. I nominated myself as official beer namer for the beers and soon-to-be brewery. Shaun offered a “compromise” of naming one of the first beers after me. I settled on this (but don’t worry, I’m making a list of all my creative names and I’m sure he’ll see the genius in them at some point).
Alisaison is a 100% Nelson Sauvin hopped Saison featuring Deer Creek Malts
Rewind one more time for upcoming story context: August of 2016, my roommate and I decided to host a GrillBQ end of summer bash. Of course it was the ONLY day that summer that a monsoon hit Bethlehem. I’m talking pouring down buckets of rain the entire day. We did what any sane people would do: stocked up on ponchos at the dollar store, drank heavily in the beginning of the day, and had a great time with our friends playing giant Jenga in the giant mud pit of our backyard under the tent.
So now, flash forward to August of 2017.
Since it was Labor Day Weekend, Shaun and I decided to host a Saturday Saison Brewing BBQ Picnic (try saying that ten times fast!) to kick off the start of Alisaison. The ONE time I decide to have a summer party this year. Naturally, it poured all day. A SLIGHT improvement from the monsoon of 2016, but not much better. Our friends and family were good sports, and came and huddled under the tents we had. Mostly just the one, since the brew supplies took up 80% of Tent 2.
It was a simple, laid back rainy day. I was Grill Master, since Shaun was busy being Brew Master, and grilled up some cheeseburgers and hotdogs. Our guests brought the picnic essentials: beer, sangria, pasta salad, and desserts. The only downside was that I could not act as Assistant Brew Master that day, but I know there will be plenty of more opportunities! Plus, since I was hostessing, our family and friends got to see the live action of Alisaison brewing.
Even with the wet conditions, the brewing process went great, but it was long day! We finally finished brewing and entertaining just after dark. We had enough energy to snap about five pictures, clean up most of the garbage, and pass out by 11pm.
A few days later, Weyerbacher Brewing (Easton) released details on their Home Brewer’s Competition. The new goal was to enter Alisaison into it, but only one small glitch: the original batch would not meet the minimum requirements for the competition. Weyerbacher will be holding a tasting event, so the entrants need enough to give samples to 200 people ::yikes!::
The solution? Brew again!
This is where I was out of luck again, not enough vacation days to take off of work to brew Alisaison with Shun! Note to self: keep trying to hit that lottery.
So while I was busy slaving away at work, Shaun got to enjoy a clear beautiful summer day outside brewing beer. I was only slightly stewing in jealousy all day.
However! I finally got to participate in bottling day for the first batch of Alisaison (from picnic day). I had missed bottling day for Floof IPA, since, again, not enough vacation days, so this was my first ever bottling day. It was pretty straight forward: sanitize, sanitize some more, fill bottle with beer, hand to Shaun, Shaun caps, repeat many times.
In less than an hour we had (12) 22oz bottles and (29) 12oz bottles – for a grand total of 612 ounces bottled! The tiny bit of beer that didn’t make it into bottles, we thoroughly enjoyed and were impressed with. I cannot wait to try it once it’s carbonated and cold!
So we currently have bottles of Alisaison that will be ready for us to drink when we get back from our vacation(!), and one competition version safely fermenting away in my kitchen.
Only 43 days left until the competition, and you will definitely be hearing all the updates along the way!