Why don’t you home brew? Haven’t you always wanted to?

3 February 2008

Though I may never make wine as good as the neighbor who first taught me, there is still something unsparingly pleasant about sipping even the simplest of homemade wine.  Though I drink Pinot Noir from concentrate brewed in gallon jugs from early this fall that could not hold a candle to his temperature controlled three demic fermentation system, I will enjoy every sip and the moments in between, pausing in my back yard looking toward the northern sky and listening to the sounds of the bay.  If there is any DIY worth doing it is home brewing of any kind.  Whatever it is you brew, its so simple that you just have to do it.  I first brewed a clone of a local IPA.  My next choice would be a real wheat beer, or even a really dark ale.  I’ve met people who have brewed the overabundance of plums from their yard’s fruit bearing tree.  I’ve met more people with excuses who want to home brew than I have those who actually do.

flickr:  geoffeg

Related Links:

I should never spend less than three nines again

The Home Brew Digest

A Good Beer Blog

William’s Brewing 

Beer History

What Ales You

Real Beer

Home Distiller

Fresh Hops

Beer Advocate

Fish Brewing Company


I should never spend less than three nines again.

24 December 2007

Almost eight years ago my neighbor George invited me over to try his newest batch of wine. For years he had been brewing his own wine his back yard shed and has determined that I was now old enough to indulge in his creation. From then on if he saw me coming home at a decent hour he would invite me into the garage and we would share a carafe of his wine. My dad later helped him put in an elaborate automated cooling unit to keep his wine at an ideal temperature. He and George don’t talk any more, the reason involving a night of heavy drinking, Canadian accusations, and a slew of twenty dollars being thrown about the yard; if only all of my dad’s relations ships could go supernova so poetically.

flickr: Gino Ginelli

My mother-in-law a few years later helped further my wine journey with a bottle of Shiraz. It was recommended to her at a Trenton wine shop before a dinner at our house. It was a refreshing change to her normal repituar of ultra dry Turning Leaf. By the time we were living in San Diego almost three years ago I felt lucky that we already had a favorite grape and a new favorite brand once we had found Yellow Tail Shiraz, lucky because we had only been actively drinking wine for a few years. That year Martha recommended that we try Pinot Noir for thanksgiving, explaining that it would compliment turkey very well. We took her advice and found a bottle from an Oregon winery from ninety eight. These similar bottles I have seen going for fifty bucks or more just two years later. It was unfortunate that I didn’t have the money to stock up on a box the way I wanted to, but isn’t the hardest part of collecting wine not immediately drinking it all?

I made the mistake of picking up a bottle the other day based on its contemporary label and the fact that is said Pinot Noir. I was only a little skeptical that it was a 200 vintage and from Chile, I have yet to find a South American wine that I really enjoy. There was once almost in Columbia when I had a reserve from a Chilean winery, but back home outside of the romance of the cartel, it could not hold its own. Last nights bottle of Pepperwood Grove 2005 Pinot Noir from Chile was very disappointing. It’s not that the wine was bad, but we might as well have been drinking two buck chuck. I don’t even think that I would serve this as a table wine. The biggest disappointment was the lack of any predominant taste, smell, or distinct flavors. You almost couldn’t distinguish the variety of grape.

I don’t drink cheap beer so I suppose I’m long over due to stop drinking cheap wine. The snobs have told me the difference between a seven dollar bottle of wine and a seventeen dollar of wine is phenomenal, and the difference between a twenty dollar bottle and a two hundred dollar is “…”
I don’t know about all of that but our experiences have led us to more disappointing wines than not, so in our newest step forward I will keep you posted.