It’s been a very challenging and difficult time for the Green Man. Not only have their been heartless attacks in his homeland, but he also lost a dear colleague to cancer. I am only just recovering from these hammer blows, to be honest.
However, amongst the misery some relief has emerged and in keeping with the subject of this blog it is related to ale, and more specifically, the Green Man’s home crafted ale. If you have read previous blogs, you’ll know that just brewing beer has involved a long wait, a long trip and some serious persistence. I have brewed four ales and I am now drinking the third of these, an American Pale Ale (or so I had intended).
My first two brews were a very steep learning curve and though drinkable were tainted by the ‘homebrew twang’. This taste can best described as a yeasty, banana, fruity twang. Having drunk homebrew in my youth I know this taste well enough. For me, it is not satisfying to brew beers with this element. It is not the high quality beer that I am gunning for. If that is all I can do, I can save myself the effort and buy cheap beers from a shop without the hassle and disappointment.
Anyway, my third effort has required some investment to control temperatures. Due to a change in style it also used a different yeast and more hops. But, what a difference! I am now drinking something which I would be prepared to pay for in a pub, and if I did, would have no complaints about. I am not one to blow my own trumpet, but my word this is good. I am flabbergasted. I had heard that brewing high quality beer at home was possible, but was beginning to sense that there was an element of brinkmanship to it and that actually the message should really be ‘you can brew really good beer…for homebrew’. But no, I can vouch that it is actually true. You really can brew IPA (for this is the type of ale I have had success with) at home, as good as you can buy.
My first two brews I counted as minor successes, but this one I can genuinely be proud of. My only regret is that I only have nine bottles of it, such is my brew set-up. Next on the horizon is a Belgian-style blonde ale and then a stronger version of the same ale, with minor tweaks. This will be another interesting ‘learning journey’. Before that I will have another IPA (my fourth effort) to try. I can only hope that this brew is a new norm and not an exception.
Needless to say I am really enjoying the journey and it is providing very welcome relief and distraction from a lot of what is going on in the my wider world at the moment.
The Green Man as ever is reminded that he should remain focused on the mantra ‘Be open to the positive, never stop trying and you will be rewarded’. Well, something like that…