I love to try various micro brews and have my favorite flavors I am looking for. I prefer stouts or slightly sweet with a rich chocolatty flavor and not a heavy hops taste. That is what I prefer but, in trying new ones, I also come across beers I really enjoy. I rarely buy a ‘six pack’ of beer any more since I would rather pay the price for a bottle of GOOD beer and enjoy the flavor of that beer.
There is a micro brewer near by who has a few tables and chairs where one can stop on their way to wherever and have a nice choice of his beers to try. It is called ‘Hood Canal Brewery’ and is close to Hood Canal in the Northwestern part of Washington State where I live. He has interesting lables on his beer that refer to areas in the area such as Dosewallips and Dabob Bay.
He is very eager to give you a mini tour of his brewery and is quick to let you know that nothing goes really to waste. He has pig farmers who come to get the solids from the wort. This means he is making use of everything so even the pigs are enjoying their share of his product. I am big on recycling, clean environment, etc so this really impressed me that he lets others use his waste products.
The best way to have a micro brew is to make your own. We have been doing this for about 10 years and find it very enjoyable. We first go to a local store that sells beer making supplies. We decide which recipe we want to make and purchase the grains, yeast, hops, and other products needed for the recipe. We then, go home and cook up the wort according to the recipe, add the various hops at the appropriate time, cool it down, add the yeast and let it ferment until the yeast stops working. Along the way we keep taking specific gravity readings and mark it on our recipe sheet.
After we notice the yeast has quit working, we transfer the beer to the secondary fermenter and let it work a bit longer. Then, it is time to bottle. Once those bottles have aged appropriately, we chill one and enjoy our own product. Nothing tastes better than beer you have made yourself-even if it is not the preferred stout with a choclatty flavor.
There is a bit of work involved in making your own beer since everything needs to be sanitary when the beer is being made. Each time you use a wine theif to pull beer out for specific gravity reading, that has to be clean. The containers you transfer the beer to need to be clean, The chiller needs to be clean and, of course, the bottles need to be clean. This is done by washing them in water with bleach then rinsing.
Also, the tools needed to make the beer are a bit costly but once they are purchased, they are easily cleaned and resused. You need a pot to cook the wort, a thermometer, a specific gravity reader, bottles, bags for hops, and grains, a primary and a secondary fermenter-preferably a carboy for this as well as other items.
A few items are especially handy to have on hand such as a copper tubing chiller. This connects to your faucet and fits down in the primary fermenter with a tube running out. You can get your beer chilled very fast to the point you can add yeast by running cold water through it and out the tubing until the beer reaches the stage where you can add yeast. A bottle washer which attaches to your faucet and gives a vigerous wash is also very handy as is a long handled spoon which fits in the carboy for vigerous stirring when needed.