Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mad brew

My kids don't like when I talk about my home brewing hobby. I can see their side of it, (through the rolling teenager eyes of course.) When I bought tickets to go to a local mead fest, my daughter pointed out; 'People go there to get drunk.'
Well... yes and no. The same could be said for any popular dance club on a Saturday night.
The wife and I are going to see what other home brewers are doing. We're going to have a few tastes and network with people who are doing what we are considering going into.
Let me start with a preface: We are not quitting our day jobs. I like eating and having a roof over my head. That said, our jobs are not enough. They've kept the lights on, and we're not going hungry for the most part, but we can't go on living like this. A long time ago we both realized that we are one accident away from ruin. There's a mad scramble when a car breaks down, but if I were to be hospitalized for a hernia, things would get pretty dire.
This is for my family. 
Wouldn't it be nice to say, 'Put it on the credit card.' rather than count out pennies and dimes at the supermarket? Wouldn't it be nice to have a credit card?
I'm at the point where I need to enter a contest or county fair with what I'm making. Now that I've gotten the hang of it, I can unequivocally say what I make doesn't suck.

This is the dangerous one
 When I made this, I thought three Serrano peppers might not be enough. Oh, how wrong I was.
You smell the capsaicin oil as you tip the glass back, but your taste buds tell you this is a sweet drink. Then a tiny scorpion will proceed to dance on your tongue for twenty or thirty seconds.
Nailed it.

So many friends asked about this next one I think I'll be making this regularly. My prickly pear mead, Lady Jane's time out.
A new flavor of awesome
Yes, I named this with a nod to my stepmom, whom I think the world of. It started off as a joke, but the more popular it got, the more the name made perfect sense.
As of this writing I have a handful of friends who are waiting in line for me to declare this batch is ready. The first time brewing this I gave away over sixteen to eighteen bottles. The others became wedding gifts, white elephant presents at Christmas parties and so forth.

The next one caught my eye when I read about it in an online forum. There were no recipes or they varied so much I had to use my best judgement and I think I came fairly close to what I wanted.
Not a typo
This is a pineapple ginger mead. After a lot of thinking, this might be best described as a dessert beverage. I'm tempted to describe it as candy sweet.
My daughter who does the teen eye roll over her dad's weird hobbies actually came up with the name for this one.

But there is a bigger purpose. I want to do more for my family. 
A long time ago I thought I could use my natural physical abilities to earn a living. What I learned was everyone has a number. No matter how good you are, no matter how often you perform a feat/trick/routine, there will be a time where it all goes wrong. If we're lucky, we live through it.
So now I have the ability to make things people like and it's not nearly so death defying.
After perfecting the recipes, my next step will be to enter a contest or two, get some exposure. In mingling with the home brew crowd, I learned they are all about sharing ideas and promoting the hobby. No trade secrets, no copyrights per se. It's more of an artistic endeavor. Fortunately it's one that can translate to a capitalistic venture as well. 
The wife came up with the name B&C meadery. Easy enough to change in the computer when a batch of beer comes out to B&C brewery. Beer is easy, mead presents it's own challenges. Right now the operation is very small. Looking over to the corner I have approximately forty bottles corked and aging on the rack. The rack is overflowing and I'll be building another winerack in the near future. I sense a weekend project coming up.
Saturday I invited a few friends over for an informal tasting of my latest creations. This is not simply an opportunity to show off. I'm recruiting. That sounds bad when I put it out like that. There is a meme that pops up online every so often and it goes like this:

'If you want to sail the ocean, do not hire woodworkers to build your craft. Instead, teach them the love and longing of the sea.'

A few of these friends have abilities. A few of these friends have contacts. Every one of them knows things I don't.
While doing this out of my garage has convenient access to the tools I need, I require a more structured work area. I'm going to rebuild my porch while letting my brother-in-law know if he can locate a shed for my backyard. Temperature control is critical for this to work and I'll have to run a water line out to said insulated, bee proof building. Making mead attracts bees, go figure.

I'm imagining a building in the future. It looks like a country barn from the outside, but inside there is a gift shop and more than a few tables both inside and on the enclosed porch. A small delicatessen/tea room style restaurant with snack foods to compliment the honey wine I produce on the premises. Who knows? I might have to hire a beekeeper. Right now I get the honey from a local beekeeper. I want to keep things local. The standing offer with my friends is bring me your empty wine bottles and receive a bottle of mead in return. We've made a deal recently for a healthy supply of bottles. Barter makes the world go round.
This is where it starts and things will begin slow, but progress will be made.

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