Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Q: Getting the Goods

I've wanted to smoke some pork shoulder ever since I saw the "Q" episode of Good Eats. Alton Brown's mix of culinary skills and mad scientist wackiness makes me want to try just about everything that involves some sort of DIY cooking contraption.

The Wood, Smoker and Hot Plate. Oh, and Alton's Books.
Why some crazy DIY contraption? Because using something in a way it was never originally intended, especially to create some crazy DIY cooking contraption is just cool. Do you need more of a reason than that? I didn't think so! Plus, why use a $50 pizza stone when a $3 terracotta planter bottom works just as good?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Well, I bottled "The Monster". It was a chore, but it's in bottles.

A few weeks back I brewed up my first home brew beer creation, what I've been calling "The Monster", because I really didn't have a good idea what it was going to taste like. After a long weekend of Father's Day festivities, I came home from work with the plan of running and then bottling the beer. Unfortunately Morgan took an unexpected slip and injured her knee. With some luck she'll be just fine, but it put the kobash on running today.

Okay, so it's time to bottle then. I was already behind the curve because I had forgotten to sanitize my bottles overnight, so that took a hour in the dishwasher. Time to prep the bottling bucket, bottling wander, etc. Except I had no sanitizer. Frak. As much as I hated to do it, I used bleach. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.

Forty-Eight Glorious Bottles of "The Monster"
Politics and home brew ethics aside, it truly was a horrible experience. I got high on the fumes in the bathroom and then burned myself a dozen times trying to rise the bleach off with boiling hot water. Not to mention the twenty plus minutes lost to the sanitizing process. At least we got a jump on cleaning the apartment.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Italian Jobs

I'm finally going to finish another movie remake comparison blog. Why? Because I've been stacking our Netflix account with movie remakes, I haven't even been watching them and I really want to see some of the movies in our queue. So after much delay, I finally watched The Italian Job's, the original 1969 film staring Michael Cain and the 2003 remake staring Mark Wahlberg.

Michael Caine as Charlie Croker; The Italian Job (1969).
I saw the remake shortly after it made it to DVD and liked it a lot. Hey, it's nothing special, but it's escapist cinema at it's best - completely implausible, but fun to watch. I made a mental note to watch the original and it only took seven or so years to accomplish.

Despite the high regard I had always heard about the film, it was really hard to watch. I actually stopped watching it midway through and it took several weeks before I worked up the courage to finishing it. Quincy Jones' soundtrack was annoying and the story and characters were, frankly, boring.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My First Creation... An American Strong, Dark, Rye, IPA Type-Thing.

Yesterday we bottled a Citrus Weiss beer, a heavily modified Midwest Supplies kit beer that I brewed a few weeks back. It is likely the finest beer I've brewed so far and I'm really not sure why I haven't written about it yet. The summery aroma filled the apartment and lifted up my spirits.

After bottling, we went to Tremont Tap House, had some tasty burgers and I enjoyed a delicious Rooster Fish Hop Warrior Imperial IPA. Words cannot describe how quickly I fell in love with the Hop Warrior - it's everything I could want in an IPA. The perfect balance of bitter hops, sweet malts; flavorful and aromatic. It's exactly the type of beer I was planning to brew next. As far as beer goes, yesterday was a glorious day!

Drinking a home made American Strong Ale while I write this blog.
Coming off that high, I was excited to brew this morning. I woke up without an alarm ready to steep grains only to realize I didn't have any bottled water. Our tap water is pretty junky and I don't want to ruin good, or even mediocre, beer with it. So, I end up at the Eagle to grab some. It was already hot out, I was under caffeinated and before you know it, I was mega-grumpy, rushing to cook up some breakfast and generally being a pain in my wife's ass.

Somehow I always forget that brewing requires a fair amount of planning and is hard work. I needed to take a step back before I brewed up five gallons of old, wet yak back. I drank some coffee and laid out my game plan - a really good thing because I would have started tossing hops into the kettle at random and rushed intervals, forgotten to sanitize something, like my air lock, and ultimately wasted time and ingredients.