I like pleasant weekends, as I am sure most people do. The weekend just gone definitely fell into that category - despite the ongoing saga of the buggered back and dodgy left leg. Mrs Velkyal and I made the hour long drive down to Richmond in order to meet up with E.S. Delia of Relentless Thirst fame, and a raft of other Virginia, and I think a few from North Carolina, beer lovers for the "World Beer Festival is Postponed but we'll meet up and booze anyway" event organised and hosted by the aforementioned Mr Delia.
I had my camera, I had my notepad, I even remembered a pen, I used none of them. Really why bother with making notes when you can stand around chatting with knowledgable folks and enjoying some magnificent brews? Big beers seemed to be the order of the day, with barleywines, imperial stouts and double IPAs in abundance - I think though the beer I enjoyed the most was a very nice dark mild, a style which is in danger of becoming a favourite of mine. One thing that interested me was the number of Belgiam lambics and gueuzes available - styles which I haven't really explored very much, but have plans to.
One of the things I found fascinating was when people discovered I had lived in the Czech Republic there was a sense that I had been blessed to live in one of the world's beer producing heartlands, which is certainly very true, and after tasting so many big, bold and brash beers, I was left with a craving for a simple, well made lager. But settled instead for bangers and mash with a pint of Belhaven Scottish Ale in the nearby Penny Lane pub, which is an unashamedly Liverpudlian pub where I am planning to watch a few of the big games this season, and gives me a reason to get down to Richmond from time to time and the opportunity to trade homebrew with master Delia.
Talking of homebrew, I spent a fair chunk of yesterday formulating recipes for some upcoming brews, and have decided to buy a couple of smaller glass carboys so that I can keep costs down a bit until I am fully employed and also so I can feel a greater sense of control over my brewing. Coming over the next few months will be an Imperial stout called Machair Mor, another stab at my Jack the RIPA red IPA, a dark and complex strong ale for Christmas which will include chocolate malt, rauchmalt, caramel 90 malt and fermented with a Swedish Porter yeast - the plan is to brew that in October and let it bottle condition for at least 6 weeks prior to Christmas. Also on the drawing board is a barleywine which I will make in November, in preparation for Thanksgiving 2010, and an Old Ale to be the first brew of the new year which will be laid down for Hogmanay 2010.
All in all a nice weekend.