Monday, July 30, 2012

Time to Restart the Engine

Somewhere in between Greensboro in North Carolina and Virginia's Danville is Eden. Not the mythological garden in which, if you believe these things, talking snakes beguiled a woman into eating some fruit and getting her husband to do likewise (possibly the earliest parable of the perils of healthy living!), but rather a rest area on the drive home. The rest area at Eden is pretty much the midway point of the drive from Mrs V's parents' home in Columbia, SC, and Charlottesville, VA. It is the place where we get out to stretch our legs, give the dog a break from his crate and it is also where we swap driving duties.

Every year when we head back from Florida, I take on the driving duties from Eden to home, which this year meant turning right at Junction 124 of the I-64 where we used to turn left, and every year it feels as though the end of summer is just round the corner. In a few weeks Mrs V will be back at work, teaching 3-6 year olds, and then Labor Day will be upon us, which is, I believe, the official end of summer over here - hopefully the weather will take notice and cool off.

The End of Summer is also, for me at least, the time when my thoughts turn back to brewing as I generally don't brew in the summer months. My thoughts turn not only to beer, but to cider and mead as well. This year I plan to make more cider than in previous years, perhaps up to 10 gallons though I have something a bit different in mind for most of the cider. I have only made mead a couple of times, and the maple syrup infused version I brewed a couple of years ago is finally drinkable, so mead needs patience. Given the size of my new garden though, I am playing with the idea of starting an apiary to supply my own honey.

On the beer front, things take a darker turn, with milds, porters, stouts and "Scottish" ales very much in attendance, and hopefully it won't be too long until I have a fridge for fermentation and lagering, at which point my plan becomes the brewing of the perfect Czech style Pilsner - a long term project I am sure.

Well, after a week at the beach, and the shoulders to show for it, it is good to be home.

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