Today, I brewed a beer. Man, it sounds so sparse when I say it like that. Today, I strengthened existing friendships, forged new friendships, met neighbors I didn’t know I had, and all while consuming fantastic craft beer. Oh, I also brewed a beer. That’s better. It really was a fantastic day, my good readers. What happened, you ask?
To begin, I was able to welcome a co-worker into my home. I enjoy friendships with co-workers, as they make the workplace a much more…home-y place to work. This co-worker actually didn’t drink, but was interested in the process, and interested in seeing something that made up the ball of fun that is the Ale Evangelist. (Do I flatter myself? No. If I wanted to do that, I would have said, “the chiseled ball of fun that is the Ale Evangelist.”)
Also, I consumed some FANTASTIC craft beer. I was able to sample the following commercial brews: Bison Organic Chocolate Stout, Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale, Stone/Alchemist/Ninkasi’s More Brown Than Black IPA, and Bruery/Elysian/Stone’s La Citruelle Celeste de Citracado, Alesmith’s Wee Heavy. In addition to these fantastic beers, a friend brought over some homebrewed Stout, and we cracked open a bottle of the AMAZING IAIN-BRU. What is IAIN-BRU?
A month before my son was born, my friends got together to purchase the ingredients for what would become an epic Russian Imperial Stout. The point was to brew a beer for Iain (my son) which could be aged so that he could enjoy a bottle of it when he was old enough to do so. We put together the makings of a fantastic stout, and ended up with a 14-16% abv MONSTER of a beer, which has held up for 3 years VERY well. It is called IAIN-BRU both because my son’s name is Iain, and because of a soda which I enjoyed in Scotland called IRN-BRU. (Pronounced Iron-Brew.) We are cracking open a bottle each year or so to see how it is coming along. He’ll still have some when we’re done…maybe.
I had a neighbor stop by as he was walking. From the other side of the street, he said, “Are you brewing?” Boom, instant friend. He shared the IAIN-BRU we were enjoying, and we talked about brewing for awhile. He mentioned a friend of his with a stellar brewing setup, and we parted ways, happy to have shot the breeze over such an amazing beer. Later, he brought over his friend with the stellar setup, and that was such an awesome meeting, my friends.
You see, this guy was an official beer judge from the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program). What’s more, I recognized him. In 2007, I brewed a Scotch Ale which I called Crazy Hamish Scotch Ale. I entered it into a homebrew competition, and it won second place. Dano, the BJCP dude, had nothing but awesome things to say about my beer, and he remembered me when he saw me. We talked about beer for awhile, I shared some homebrewed stout with him and Paul, his friend. And then I gave him a ride home where we enjoyed some more conversation and a 90/- Oaked Scotch Ale. The conversation was awesome, the beer more so, and I left his house with another 5-gallon Corny Keg for my brewing adventures, along with a half gallon of Barleywine, which he also happened to have on tap. I will review this bad boy later. Brewing brought me a friend, and I look forward to the beers we will share together.
Finally, I ended the day with a bucket of fermenting goodness, which is how all good days should end. There was much laughter, enjoyment of fine craft beer, and fun. Beer brings people together, my Congregants. Good beer can end feuds, draw friends closer, and strengthen the bonds that hold humanity together. When you brew, brew in your front yard, local ordinances permitting. Wave to neighbors. Invite people over to smell what’s cooking. Talk about beer. Talk about life. Share what is in your glass. Laugh, love, drink fine beer. That, my friends, is what life is all about.