I felt it was necessary to share my hobby of homebrewing with the whole world, and this web page is the result. You'll find some silly pictures, recipes, info on growing hops and finding a use for blackberries, and some links to local resources.
PicturesHere's a picture (and another) of me brewing up a lager in the late fall on my old front porch. Someday I'll have a spare refrigerator to help me with this task.
Brewing ComplexityHomebrewers can start off simple with a basic pre-cooked kit recipe. My first was a brown ale and it came out great.
Some brewers want more control and an ability to experiment with raw ingredients, and they progress on to malt extract brewing. That's where I am now, and I have a lot more exploring to do at this level.
Advanced brewing techniques include mashing, being your own maltster, preparing and carbonating kegs of beer, and so on. Maybe someday!
The keys to making good beer, whatever you do, are: 1) scrupulous sanitation, 2) learn your fundamentals, 3) ongoing learning, 4) fine tuning through repetition. Cooking is another of my hobbies, and the constant practice, learning, and building on the offerings of others works there, too. In cooking as in beer making, the best ingredients are necessary for superb results.
Lately I've been taking recipes from Beer Captured and making minor modifications.
The GoodHere recipes I've made that worked out great:
Too soon to tellHere are the recipes in process that I can't speak for yet:
The badHere are the ones that didn't work out quite as well:
Growing HopsBlue Heron Herbary on lovely rural Sauvie Island, has an impressive collection of living herbs for brewing medicinal beers. In exchange for a few bottles of the derived brew, Mr. Hanselman will slice off some hop root for you to grow your own. For inspiration, you might want to look at Stephen Harrod Buhner's book, Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation.
State of Oregon's
Department of Agriculture
maintains a commodity commission called the
Oregon Hop Commission.
you can find out about
growing hops in your own garden.
However, if you are patient enough to wait a year for the results, all these blackberries are a boon to the home fermenter. It is nearly trivial to use the blackberries with concentrated winemaker's grape juice to make blackberry wine, or combine the blackberries with honey and enzymes to make a lucious, rich mead. I even daresay might attempt a blackberry beer this fall.
If you can't wait a year, make blackberry muffins, blackberry coffee
cake, or blackberry pie. Sprinkle blackberries on your ice cream, on your
breakfast cereal, with whip cream on shortcake. Make a dessert pizza
with blackberries. Blackberries everywhere!