Beer is definitely an office favourite, on a Friday afternoon it’s a given that members of the office will be heading off for that well deserved end of week beer. And sometimes, when there’s cause for celebration, one of the functional managers will put on a few beers and the whole office gets together in the staff kitchen to regale each other with the week’s stresses and unwind. We’re quite a tight knit bunch down here at the Dunedin branch and Friday beers has forged many a friendship.
Personally I’ve always been fascinated by the process of brewing and fermentation, it contains two things I love, food and chemistry. I decided that here was a golden opportunity to have a go at it. When I mentioned this in passing to Kurt, a customer interface engineer, he immediately volunteered the services of his brother-in-law Jun who has brewed many home brews and happens to be very talented at it and doing his PhD in food science, who could argue with that? Naturally I was rapt, it turned the whole process into an awesome experience and of course turned out a magnificent brew. I think both Kurt and I walked away from the experience feeling very inspired to get into home brewing on a regular basis.
The buying experience was probably my favourite bit of the whole thing, I think generally small scale home brew stores are staffed by really enthused people who are willing to teach and help. The guy was so friendly, before Jun and Kurt even arrived he had out all these incredible hops for me to smell, one of which flavours one of my favourite beers which has to be (of course) the Emerson’s pilsner. Emerson’s pilsner has this amazing passionfruit flavour to it and when I smelt the hops I just got this overwhelming aroma of passionfruit, I think that in itself was enough to put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.
When Jun and Kurt arrived then the true fun began picking out all the ingredients for the beer, we decided to make a pale ale for our first ever brew as it’s probably the easiest and most uncomplicated. Jun thought the easiest and cheapest option was to use a mixture of grain mash and starter kit, so carefully under the guidance of the shop attendant we picked out grains suited for pale ale. Hop choice was a little experimental and so was the yeast choice, the yeast came highly recommended and when we got it home I was so pleased we heeded those recommendations. It had the most amazing smell and I definitely think it contributed so much more to the taste of the final beer.
The final result was bitterer than I am used to, but once I got used to it, it was such a tasty drop, so much so that drinking a store bought beer afterwards seemed boring in comparison. The whole experience was inspirational and sparked a multitude of conversations with passionate people that I feel has enriched my life. That enthusiasm is infectious and I’ve found myself caught up in this movement that is organic, the return to the older ways of doing things, I am surprised a cynic such as myself has let it get under her skin!