If wine were fabric…

Joe is relentlessly teasing me about my fabric & yarn stash.

Relentless I tell you!

So, I thought it was my turn to expose his own obsession. {aside from vintage volkswagens}

Brewin'

I guess he brewed some pretty awful barely drinkable stuff in his youth, before we were "us". I am glad I missed that time.

When we were young and pinching pennies on a tight budget in our early days, we would splurge on a 6 pack of microbrew. Oh how we savored each sip of that glorious stuff in the heat of the Cape Cod summers. Good times.

Then one day, he grumbles and announces to me….

"You know, I'm really sick of paying $10 for a six pack of brew."

"So are we jumping on the wagon? Because I'm not drinking ________ (insert big name cheap-o brand beer)" I say.

"I'm going to make it myself." he says.

"Is that safe? Is it legal?" I ask?

The answer was yes, and before you know it, he had a small collection of brewing stuff. Enough to brew one batch of beer. He bottled some and put some in a small soda keg. He gave a lot of it away, and brought a lot of it to social gatherings. Growlers full of ice cold homebrew. Friends and strangers claiming "this taste so clean and fresh, it's so good." The kids & he started making ginger ale and root beer.

And since that time, about 6 years ago, the beer brewing equipment has grown, and grown….. and the wine brewing equipment collection started (prompted by our first One Small Change). And now? Well now there are two conical fermentors in what should be a coat closet, and a wine cellar in the bottom half of the linen closet (built just this summer) and we haven't bought a bottle of wine or a 6 pack of beer in over a year. Our bottles get washed out and reused again, and again. 

   

brew master 

the brewer, bottling chardonnay 

   

When we attend a gathering or an adult friend has a birthday there's a bottle of pinot grigio, or chardonnay to offer as a gift. It's always well received and much appreciated. Friends gifted with a bottle of wine return the empties in hopes of receiving another. We always give far more away then we ever drink :) 

The white wines and beer are a quicker process, drinkable in 12 weeks or less….. the reds though? Those deep lush red wines (that I love) take 6-12 months before they are ready to drink. Which is why I now have only half of a linen closet and Joe has a wine cellar! This weekend, after 12 weeks of tending to the wine, adding oak chips and clarifying, the first batch of red will be bottled. Which means by next March we'll be opening our first bottle of Merlot or Barolo.  It's geeky, it's exciting, it's a fun hobby for sure. 

   

the cellar
 the obsession, mostly empties we've been collecting for the soon to be bottled reds…

   

Best yet, perhaps, those brewers are a funny bunch. They're a super diverse group of people. They swap recipes and tips and are giddy at the chance to meet another brewer. Think new mamas talking about babies…. I'm not kidding!

I'm pretty sure all this brewing was the beginning of a lot of DIY edibles in our house, because not only is there wine brewing…. there's homebrewed yogurt and kombucha and kim chee and kefir and sourdough starter tucked away in a cupboard or in the fridge at any given time.

Kitchen science at its best!

And Joe, as a disclaimer I want to say, you're hobby requires just as much storage space as mine. Though IPA will always taste better than a skein of alpaca yarn.

Cheers!

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Want to brew your own? Ask around to see if you have a local brew club. Seasoned brewers are a wealth of information to a new brewer. Do your best to find a local brew supply store. We started off with Gourmet Alaska in Juneau and when we moved to the midwest Northern Brewer in Minneapolis. Both these places are the kind that have friendly, knowledgeable, helpful staff. We just found Red Stick Homebrew in Baton Rouge and look forward to buying our ingredients locally.

   

16 thoughts on “If wine were fabric…

  1. I love the kitchen arts. How wonderful that you’ve got a home brewer crafting lovely red wines for you.
    I’ve made a couple meads that were divine. But homebrewed beer might actually save us money. Does it?

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  2. Ha! My man is a brewer and a beer nerd too! Go figure…And yes, for them, it’s like talking about babies and fabric. He just brewed a batch about three weeks ago and he is sooo happy with the results. It fun to watch him feel so proud of his “craft endeavors”.
    So happy you and L hooked up. She’s super cool. What a crazy, small world this is?

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  3. Homebrewed wine saves a load of money….. we’re making wine for $4 or less a bottle and it tastes like $20 a bottle wine! And when you save and reuse bottles for bottling, you can even do some great wines for about $2-$3 a bottle. Buying the equipment isn’t too expensive. You could get everything you needed for under $200 and from then on you could be brewing some sweet microbrew for under a buck a bottle…. email if you want some kick-butt IPA or Porter recipes 🙂

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  4. We have more in common all the time 🙂 I like watching my guy get his science nerd hat on too….. so serious about chill time and specific hop varieties and different type of yeast….. he must feel the same when I describe the difference in fibers to him. lol

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  5. AWESOME! Mike has made wine in the past (what else do you do with too many plums?), but no longer drinks, so we don’t do it anymore. I am happy to sample anyone else’s homemade yumminess, though! 😉
    Nicola

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