So if you've taken a look (on my Blogger site) at my list of "gadgets" to the right, you might've seen a section called "What's Fermenting?" Right now I've got a couple of meads chugging away and this beautiful baby (pictured above - notice the purpleish bubbles on top?), a 5 gallon batch of "Harvest Blueberry Wheat" that I made for my wife, Saralyn. There's a good story behind the creation of this sucker.
I'm from Maine. I wasn't born there, but the majority of my childhood was spent in the Vacationland State. Most of my family is still in and around New England, with plenty of family still up in middle-Maine. Anyways, we take a trip to visit every couple years or so and I'm not sure if you're aware of it, but Maine has some very decent craft breweries. Allagash, Sebago, Sea Dog, and Shipyard are some of the more notable ones, just to name a few. Blueberries are a big Maine crop and many of Maine's finest breweries have a seasonal blueberry ale or lager. The last time we ventured to the DownEast was when I was but a novice brewer. My wife Saralyn got a pint of Sebago Brewery's "Back Asswards Blueberry" and it was served with about 10-15 blueberries at the bottom of the glass. It was her first one and she love love loved it. Enough so that she asked me to make her one just like it. I don't know about you, but it's kind of intimidating to try to go from scratch and brew a beer for which your wife has just proclaimed her love. I hadn't ever made a fruit(y) beer before, but I got all excited at the new challenge regardless. In some ways, it pushed me down the path of crafting my own recipes.
Well, my first attempt with extract and a few speciality grains with a blueberry puree turned out to be awesome. The wife loved it even more than the one she had in the frozen north and just recently asked me to brew it again. The Harvest Blueberry Wheat pictured above is my second attempt, this time brewing from just grains (for those of you who've got no idea what I'm talking about, I'll provide an easy-to-follow guide to brewing your own beer a few posts from now). We'll see how she turns out, but the sample tasted great.
Anyways, I wanted to highlight the Harvest Blueberry Wheat (which isn't quite ready yet - the above picture, though taken today, is with the blueberry mix just added in) as a segway segue to signify her importance and value to me as I push through to try and launch this brewery. I'm extremely lucky to have her in my life as she's expressed nothing but support for me to pursue my dream. I cringe when I hear horror stories about spouses who don't give a rat's backside about their "loved" one's goals. That is certainly not the case here in my situation. In my opinion, without her, this brewery wouldn't/couldn't be possible. When I first began thinking about starting a brewery, she simply said: "Why don't you?" It's a great feeling to know that when I'm going to need to lean on someone (and I definitely will need to in the months/years ahead), she'll always be right there. Oh, and did I mention she loves beer? Anyone care to challenge me for the best-wife-possible award?
Okay, enough mushy stuff. I just wanted to get that out there. But, in 5, 10, and/or 15 years from now when you take a sip of GrassLands' Harvest Blueberry from either a bottle or on tap, just remember that you were clued into some insider information on its inception, you sneaky kids.
Brewday pics (and maybe vids?) in the next post!