Tuesday, September 23, 2014

life of a homebrew wife.

It occurred to me during the following interaction that I am a full fledged homebrew wife... Please, let me illustrate what I mean. 

Me, as I am washing the dishes after dinner: "Are you going to do a yeast starter soon? I can hand wash the Erlenmeyer flask if you're using it, otherwise I'll stick it in the dishwasher." 

Mad science lab or just our kitchen counter? 

As soon as the words "yeast starter" and "Erlenmeyer flask" fell effortlessly from my lips as I performed a seemingly innocuous task, I realized that I had crossed over from "person who knew a lil' sumpin sumpin about beer" to "Homebrew Wife." 

Now let me just take this moment to remind you of the roots of this little hobby. Once upon a time, we brewed our first batch of beer and it was so fresh and new and exciting! We watched the boil like little hawks, we stirred the grain with such care, we marveled at the hop addition! In just about a year, R has brewed (with some help from me and from others) 35 batches since that first recipe! And since that first Irish Red Ale, this hobby has grown into a major passion. And I realize that even though I'm not the brewmaster, I've gotten sucked in to the homebrew cult and as I caught myself speaking the lingo, I realized I was drinking the hoppy kool aid. 

Suddenly, I looked around my home with fresh eyes. The decor around our home is less Crate and Barrel and more barrel aged. 

Once in a while we do laundry in our main beer cellar. I've used arrows to help point out the things in our laundry room that are not laundry and are in fact beer. We have another beer cellar that I sometimes hang coats in and a third cellar that we also let guests sleep in. It's nice to be able to use our cellars for multitasking. However, when it comes to the brewing equipment, that gets housed in a room that non-homebrewing families refer to as a "garage". Our cars sleep in the driveway so as not to disturb the brew process. 

If you do find yourself as a guest in our production brewery/house, don't be alarmed at the gurgling and bubbling coming from behind the shower curtain in our guest bathroom. This is a slow week, so there is only one batch fermenting, but I have pulled back the shower curtain, ready to take a relaxing bubble bath, only to find up to three of these little fellas gurgling back at me. Cool dark places are a fermenting beer's favorite place to hang out, so unfortunately, my bubble baths get the boot while the beer gets the prime guest bath real estate. 

You might be thinking, what do they do with all this beer they make? Well, we drink it of course! (And it's seriously good.) But, as any Homebrew Wife knows, I had to draw a line in the grain when it came to storing the beer that was ready to drink. When I realized we had no room for milk and eggs in our fridge because of beer takeover, a second fridge was procured and everyone was happy. 

That doesn't mean the main fridge is off the hook. It houses yeast in varying states. Currently, this California Ale yeast is waiting patiently to become an IPA. And next to it is a yeast that has already realized it's destiny as a white wine blend. (Hey, we're not discriminators of fermented beverage in this home!) 

Even though it means my house looks a little like a package store and even though I have to balance around fermenting carboys to do a load of laundry and even though I have to sweet talk my husband into hauling out the fermentors so I can take a bubble bath, (which he does with no complaint because he's a good Brewmaster and husband) I gotta say I don't mind that of all the hobbies he could have picked up, he chose this one. 

At least the perks are delicious! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

then there was summer.

Once upon a time it was summer. And then it wasn't. Just like that. And all the plans I made to blog all the time and organize my makeup drawer and tackle the Pinterest projects on my to-do list were just a mere dream.

It was the kind of summer that makes me glad I abandoned all my plans for productivity, though, because it was basically awesome. I had a month off of work in between transitioning positions, and might I suggest everyone take a month off work? It's good for the soul. 

Instead of work and productivity and responsible adult affairs, (like the stack of papers at my desk right next to me) there were adventures. 

There was a trip to Virginia to visit my old Navy friends. There were long talks on couches and meeting friend's babies that were brand new and still smelling all baby-y. There was the old familiar scream of low landing jets and eating at my favorite lunch place and ordering my standard BLT with a slice of brie on it. There was a long drive back to Florida by myself, where I could freely put my jams on replay with no fear of judgement. 

There was a trip to Fort Walton Beach where my sister and her husband were vacationing for a week. There was day drinking and boogie boarding and seashell hunting. There was figuring out how to use my sister's GoPro and taking about a zillion action shots. There were sunsets and sandy sheets and laughing late into the night while we watched the stars come out over the Gulf. 

There was a girls only trip to Nashville with my two best ladies, who traveled from New York and Wisconsin just for some much needed catch up time. There was antique shopping and honky-tonks and very, very late nights. There were cocktails and outfit changes and belly laughter. There was catching up about babies and engagements and jobs and feeling the blissful comfort of being with girls who have known you since way back when. 

There was a trip home to Wisconsin that meant a long, two day drive. There were beer stops at out of the way, hole in the wall, beer meccas. There was a stop in South Carolina to climb the states highest point, Sassafrass Mountain, (which is something we do in this family). There were audiobooks and pit stops and the kind of calm that comes from doing nothing but driving long stretches of road with your man and your pup. 

When we got to Milwaukee, there were all my favorite things! There was my whole family in one place, because my nephews were in town. There was food and beer and more food and more beer. There was the sweet summer weather of the North, with warm days and cool nights, perfect for a fire or slipping on a sweater.  There were old friends, and aunts and uncles and cousins, and siblings, and parents, and we got to catch up with all of them over, you guessed it, food and beer. There was lots of porch time, which is pretty much my favorite way to spend time. 

There was even more porch time, which meant I was happy all week long. 

There was a five year anniversary! There was dinner and drinks and a trip down to the old boathouse that we got married at five years prior. There was long conversation about the last five years and who were were that say we said, "I do" and who we've grown into since then. There was toasting to many more years with this wonderful man.

There was my very first 5K back here in Jacksonville. There was a bridge run (the bridge in the background) which nearly killed me. There was a lot of sweating and heavy breathing and wishing I was on a porch somewhere instead. Then there was a finish line and a cheering husband and sense of accomplishment that gave me a high I've never felt before.  

And then there was Fall. 

And it's been back to work and back to routine and I like that, too. It was such a good summer that I can't help but be okay with the idea that I didn't cross off all the items on my ever nagging to-do list. 

There's always more time for that.