Harley Zipori – Looking for the Muse: It has now been two years since I last brewed beer at home and it seems to weigh on my mind. I feel somewhat distanced from the art of brewing as I become more of a spectator rather than a participant.
Harley Zipori – Looking for the Muse: By Harley Zipori.
I did have some good excuses, ahem, I mean valid reasons, for not brewing. Since the summer of 2012 I have been busy with new activities at work that involved home study, exams, professional certification and lots of travel. Not only was I busy and distracted but the travel exposed me to whole worlds of beer and help me develop and refine my beer sensibilities.
The travel ended a few months ago and due to cycles in the business world, I don’t see that level of travel in the near future.
So what have been my excuses since then. Well Pesach for one. Always a good excuse for avoiding anything to do with beer. But wait! Pesach as back it April. It’s already July.
To be honest I don’t know why I haven’t made the effort necessary to plan, purchase and brew.
Part of me says that the beer I brewed in the past was not that great. Oh it was pretty good. But considering some of the beers I’ve tasted since then, brewed by experienced brewers in well equipped breweries, I may have an inner fear of being disappointed.
What I need is a muse. The classical Muses are from Greek Mythology: the goddesses of inspiration of literature, science and the arts. Given the reputation of the ancient Greek’s (best personified of course by Kirk Douglas in the 1954 movie Ulysses) you would expect a Muse of wine. But no such luck.
Beer muses seem to be hard to come by. When I was hanging out with alot of brewers, it was easy to find the inspiration. Lately I barely have the time and energy to hang out with anyone, and no one seems to be as passionate about good beer as I am.
So I am looking for the inspiration and am hoping that perhaps just writing this blog will get me motivated to plan a couple batches, order the materials and set aside the time. Oh did I mention that we have family visiting later this month. Fantastic. Another excuse!
What I am sort of planning for my first batch is to recreate the Brown Ale I made in my very first brewing experience here in Israel. It was a very American brown ale, modeled after Pete’s Wicked Ale. English Brown Ales tend to be mild (try a Newcastle Brown and you’ll see what I mean). Americans are more into hops and American Brown Ale is hoppy and bitter. The good recipes that try to capture the special quality of Pete’s Wicked Ale call for “dry” hopping, which is a misnomer since it isn’t dry at all but extra hops are added during the aging stage, after fermentation, to get those delicate aromatic qualities of hops that tend to dissipate when boiled.
A good example of a nicely hopped Brown Ale is Ronen’s HaMerushah Dark Ale that translates to either “evil” or “wicked”, take your pick. I wrote about my visit to the Srigim Brewery a couple years ago in my “Beer With a View” blog.
So maybe now I have talked myself into actually taking action. Sort of like a self motivation pep talk. Except it is now out there in the blogosphere and at this point either I make beer or look pretty foolish.
I did have a couple interesting Belgian beers lately. One is called Kwak. I doubt it is pronounced like we American speakers make duck noises but it sure reminds me of that. It is brewed at the Bosteels Brewery, founded in 1791 (according to Wikipedia) and still operated by the same family. The full name of the beer is Pauwel Kwak and is an 8.4% Belgian amber ale. It is a rich and heady brew typically produced in Belgium. I quite enjoyed it.
Another beer I recently tried was Duvel Tripel Hop 2014. This is a very hoppy Belgian pale ale based on the classic Duvel which is a very nice golden Belgian ale. I prefer the bottled Duvel which undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle rather than the Duvel Single that is available on tap in pubs in Israel. The Duvel Tripel Hop actually says on the bottle that they used Saaz and Styrian Goldings hops with the addition of an American hop variety called Mosaic for dry hopping. It was very hoppy and fairly bitter. A bit like a good IPA. I will have to give it another try as it is quite complex and demands attention.
Someone brought to my attention an event that will take place next week. It is at the NG Restaurant in Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv. They are having a series of presentations on beer by local brewers. The opening event is on July 7 and features David Cohen from the Dancing Camel brewery. I haven’t found anything on the Internet yet but the restaurant can be reached at 03-5167888. Call them and they should send a registration form.
Harley Zipori – Looking for the Muse
I would love to hear from any of you with questions, comments or encouragement at my mail firstname.lastname@example.org. My next batch of beer could depend on you. Harley Zipori – Looking for the Muse