Even though beer is off my menu for another month, I brewed my first batch since October at a friends’ house yesterday. He’s the guy I walked through brewing last fall, and since then he’s made a couple more batches. He’s also the father of one of Finn’s friends, so we wrapped an entire day around the opportunity.
First, we picked up Finn’s friend and made our first visit to the neighborhood pool as new members, picking up our passes and staking out a spot under an umbrella. The girls jumped in the water immediately, while we sat back and got some sun. This pool is one of several in town and feels less clique-ish than the others, and we know a bunch of families who already belong, so there should be some built-in opportunities for Finn to find people to play with. The weather was just right and the sun felt wonderful on my skin.
From there we headed home to rinse off, I loaded the truck up with brewing gear, and we headed over to brew beer and hang out. I had an IPA kit I’ve never tried before and my friend had brewed five gallons of butter toffee-flavored coffee for a stout recipe. We set up and got our boils started while the ladies sat under the umbrella on the patio, and we killed the afternoon talking and laughing while the girls had fun together. It was hard to stay away from actually drinking beer, given that we were brewing it and there were two taps open in the kitchen.
I think that beer will taste better at the end of this diet than it has in a long time.
My batch went together really easily; I used one of my Dad’s aluminum pots to boil in, and I found that a good temperature was difficult to dial in at first. (Aluminum heats up faster than stainless steel). Once I sorted that out it was smooth sailing, and I was able to chill it to 70˚ perfectly. I may try the other pot (a shorter, wider one) next time but I’m happy to have a dedicated brew kettle now, and I’m glad it was my Dad’s.
We stayed out on the patio and talked until 10PM, which was lovely.
Sunday I fired up the chainsaw in anger for the first time and started working my way through the rounds next to the woodpile. Most of the smaller pieces are now split by saw and by maul. I’m working my way up to the biggest ones which will take some time to work through, but once they are slivered into shorter pieces they should split with the maul quickly. I also did some maintenance in the greenhouse, sprayed the roof of the garage with moss killer (just in time for an overnight thunderstorm).
What alarmed me was how tired I was at the end of the day, up until I got some dinner in my stomach. For someone who carb-loads as a standard method of operation, I found myself grabbing fistfuls of nuts—we got cashews back on Sunday—but I guess I was burning through those pretty quick. I’m trying to tell myself it’s due to diet and not to low blood count (I’d only had some hash browns, a smoothie, some nuts, and a minimal lunch) but I’m not feeling able to do my normal amount of labor, and that bothers me.