The hard life of a homebrewer

For the past three months, beer bloggers have been united under one flag on the first Friday of every month–The Session. Spearheaded by Stan Hieronymus from Appellation Beer, and hosted this month by Jay Brooks, of Brookston Beer Bulletin, The Session Bloggers take a day to savor and wax poetic about a single beer style, having thusfar covered stouts and dubbels. This month’s beer is the British mild, achingly scarce on this side of the pond.

Once widely popular in England, mild took a hit around the time of the First and Second World Wars, thanks to rationing, poor pub handling (they’re best on-cask and well-cared-for) and a post-WWII influx of big, lager kegging brewers. Thanks to England’s Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), there’s a bit of a reversal in the air in England.

Can we hope to see a similar influx of this restrained, low alcohol nugget in the States? Hmmm… Five hundred pounds of high alpha hops per barrel seem the trend these days, so no time soon. However, I know that tastes change and ideas evolve. I used to quite like the hoppy IPAs, and now I’m just tired of them. Maybe others will take the same course I have. I’m hopeful, as I know a number of folks that are truly appreciative of a Dortmunder or Kolsch, neither the least bit aggressive. And what is America, if not the king of planned obsolescence?

Having said all that, I really didn’t set out to participate in The Session today. The timing of my blog launch, the million things I have going on and the unavailability of milds in my market prevent me from doing the topic justice. Fortunately, I had the opportunity a couple months back to try a fine homebrewed mild at a club meeting. Steve’s Mild at least gives my tastebuds something to think about as I type (and plot a trip to England).

Instead of Sessioning, I was going to wallow in the self-pity of a homebrewer. I’m supposed to submit some beers for a competition today. And last night it was necessary that I do some bottling. Woe is me! I didn’t have any empty bottles in the house. I had to drink beer last night, just to have clean bottles to use. What a rough life. It really was a burden. We had tickets for a play. An appointment.

We arrived home last night at ten o’clock, and I had one more beer to drink, then on to washing, sanitizing, bottling and capping. What a hassle. What a beautiful hassle!


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