Z is for Zymurgy

Z is for zymurgy.  When I first moved to Boston, a friend and I started brewing beer.  Actually, in the beginning, Spike was the official brewer and I was his able assistant.  It started off innocently enough.  Spike lived in a huge apartment in Brookline and two of his roommates were going to be out of town for the weekend, a perfect time for us to trash the kitchen and cook up a storm.  It wasn’t a spur of the moment idea.  We had talked about it for months, read Charlie Papazian’s book, and purchased the equipment.

On Saturday morning we shopped for ingredients at The Modern Brewer in Cambridge.  On Saturday afternoon we wondered just how long it will take 10 gallons of water to boil on an electric stove (a very, very long time).  On Saturday evening we enjoyed the lovely aroma of wort simmering away on the stove.  Oh yeah, we drank beer and cooked dinner too.

A few weeks later I returned to Brookline for the bottling fun.  A few weeks later I returned for the tasting.  While we were planning the tasting (we made sure the absent roommates were around this time), we decided to again cook dinner for ourselves and brew batch #2.  That was the beginning of the infamous Home Brew Food Fest.  Every 6-8 weeks, we’d invite friends over for dinner, beer brewing, and beer tasting.  Good times, good times.

Brewing was a year round hobby.  There was always at least one batch in some stage of production.  Batches were brewed for holidays and birthdays, and by request for family and friends.  I began to question my sanity when there were multiple carboys in the pantry and considered investing in a keg system so I could avoid the hassle of the bottle washing/sterilization (they are a pain in the a$$ to clean).

The photo above was taken at one of the last Home Brew Food Fests. Dinner that night was pineapple curried chicken (cooked in a clay pot) over rice.  Clay pot dinners were a part of the Home Beer Food Fest, so easy and so yummy.  Meatloaf in a clay pot is amazing.  But I digress.  As I recall, we ended up dancing on the roof of my building.  There are no stairs to the roof, you don’t want to know how we got there.  Or got down.  Oh, the wacky things we do as kids.

Spike has since moved away, life got busy and complicated (as it tends to do), and I gave away all my bottles (I used Fischer bottles so I didn’t have to deal with caps) and carboys to a friend who wanted to try brewing.  Someday, when I have a larger kitchen and a dark closet to store the wort (I had the perfect pantry at my old apartment), I’d like to try it again.  Friends and relatives still talk about the Christmas beers that I would bring home at the holidays.  They were so much better than the crap (i.e. B*d)  that was generally available in the early 90’s.

See the 2006 ABC’s here.


~ by Kat on December 30, 2006.

7 Responses to “Z is for Zymurgy”

  1. I’ve always thought brewing sounded like fun but lots of work. You’ve confirmed my suspicions. Happy New Year!

  2. mmmm beerrrrr

    excellent Z

  3. I’m not much of a beer drinker but that sounds like fun!

  4. You make it sound so easy! I thought (from an ex-boyfriend) that it was a tenuous process subject to all sorts of contamination and mistakes.

  5. Smith is dying to brew beer. Not sure if he should read this or not! LOL
    Happy New Year.

  6. That is a very cool Z. Imagine having potable beer you brewed yourself! I had a colleague who did a nice stout he called Pennzoil Stout (yes, that’s what it looked like), but it was good. He had kids and stopped.

  7. Oh my, my…yes indeed how I DO miss the brewing as well. It’s good to find another who understands the joy.

    We still have all our equipment and goodies, but not a good location. Yet. Hell, we even just unearthed some of our beer from a Christmas 2000 batch while we were unpacking books into the recently completed bookshelves. Um, no, you really don’t want to taste it, but it was a fun find all the same. These days we have a basement for our carboy-holding-convenience, but sadly our kitchen is just about as unfriendly as it could possibly be for such endeavors. Someday, though…someday the kitchen will get renovated…..

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