I do not think of myself as a real brewer yet, however, since most of these projects are essentially the paint-by-number equivalent of what really is a complex craft. We simply follow directions from kits, and we do not even usually need to measure anything. My first venture into a more creative beer was about a year ago, when I made a raspberry-wheat beer. In that case, a former student working at The Homebrew Emporium in South Weymouth advised me to use a simple wheat-beer kit and a raspberry flavor concentrate. The idea was to use a simple beer as a "flavor base" (a term I am borrowing from the coffee industry) so to avoid competition with the fruit flavor. Though I am not a fan of fruit beers -- this was mainly brewed as a gift to Pam -- I think the result was quite good.
I was reminded of this a couple of months back, when someone shared a ginger ale with me. I do not mean ginger ale in the common sense, or even ginger beer in the common sense, the latter seeming to mean simply ginger ale with real ginger. Rather, it was a beer with ginger flavoring. I realized that I might be able to use the same strategy that had worked for the raspberry ale, and I further realized that if I acted with alacrity, we could have some ready in time for my fiftieth birthday.on May 4.
|I am from a demographic group that cannot hear the word "ginger" without thinking of that age-old question: "Ginger or Maryann?" Although I am not averse to the piquant root and agree that the fictional starlet was easy on the eyes, if pressed, I would side with my island colleague, the Professor, on this one. The famous pair are rendered here by artist Natalie Lynn Cunial, whose work is also rife with mermaids.|
Knowing we would have a few friends over for a birthday dinner, we decided to give the new concoction a try on the day before, which is known as Attainment Day. These are celebrated in our house, and according to the federal government, I was already 50, so it was a good excuse to try a special beer anyway. Mainly, to be honest, I wanted to make sure it was drinkable before springing it on company. Readers of this blog know that we are not always so cautious, often serving guests food we have never tried before, and in fact we would do that on my birthday itself -- stay tuned.
Results -- this wheat-ginger ale is a winner! It is lighter than most of our home brews and had just the right amount of zing!
Lest folks think that only hetero men who grew up in the Golden Age of U.S. sitcom television waste their time on shallow, binary choices between the Gingers and the Maryanns of their imaginations, I recommend Dona Flor, her two husbands, and the various remakes of this Bruno Bareto tale.
Fortunately, as the New York Times recently reported on our own marriage, neither of us had to choose between sizzle, as it were, and steak.