Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Character & Beer

"There can not be good living where there is not good drinking" - Benjamin Franklin
We were told by Seven Bridges that they would call the winners of their contests that night. We never received a call. We weren't really expecting to win - this was certainly a "learning beer" for us, it was our first organic beer and there were new varieties of things to acquire an understanding of. We will try again. Failure builds character.
Just because we didn't win though doesn't mean the days are dismal around here! "Decadence" has been bottled and is almost ready to drink. It needs some more time to mellow, not a bad thing. Our Imperial Porter was bottled this past Friday evening. It is truly a magnificent brew as well. And finally, our first batch of Pumpkin Ale was bottled last evening. Justin used fresh sugar pie pumpkins for flavoring, along with the various spices to really fill it out. And there are still many bottles of our organic "Rainy Day Pale Ale" around for consumption. They're a constant reminder to keep trying, to keep striving.
We may not have won, but we certainly have not lost. This holiday season there will truly be good drinking here at The Blue Nymph. Mr. Franklin, I believe, would be satisfied.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hard Waiting

The seasons are changing and the days are growing shorter, but they sure seem to be stretching themselves out around here. Waiting is a hard thing to do!
We've entered our first competition (judging on 10/19), Carrie submitted an entry into Seven Bridge's Quarterly Contest, under the "Why Brew Organic" (judging on 10/15), we've bottled our Imperial Stout "Decadence", have the Imperial Porter in the secondary fermenter soaking up the goodness of vanilla beans & oak chips, and this weekend we brewed our first batch of Pumpkin Ale.
We're foaming at the mouth trying to hold ourselves back from getting into Decadence and drinking it down. Ok, Carrie is at least, Justin is much better at being calm! We're also both salivating over the Imperial Porter ~ even the kids are quite nosy about it!
Speaking of the kids, they were quite pleased that they got to help brew the Pumpkin Ale this weekend. Of course, in reality they mostly play on the deck (in the sandbox) while brewing occurs. They are allowed to help dumping in grains, stirring mash, and in the process of cleaning up. Most importantly though they get to learn step-by-step what is going on and what we're doing. They love feeling like and knowing that they are being included, that they are learning what is going on and why each step is important. The pride that radiates from within them is even better than the beer itself.
But, we're still in the LONG days of waiting. Made especially difficult during football season!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Green Packaging for Organic Competition Beer

Tomorrow we will mail off our first beer that we're entering into a competition. Proudly, it is also our first all-organic homebrew. We blogged about it before, it is our Organic Rainy Day Pale Ale, and we're entering it into the National Organic Homebrew Challenge, located in Santa Cruz, CA. (Yikes ... carbon footprint it takes to get the beer there ... need to do something to offset that!)
But, we CAN proudly say that our packaging of the beer was fairly green. The entry form and labels were printed on 100% recycled paper, the rubberbands were (I think) leftovers from tie-dye projects, and then there was what we used for cushioning.

Per a suggestion from Bryan S., our current SCBG president, we decided to use a poster-tube and stack the beers for sending. First, we needed to cushion the bottom. We decided to take advantage of some of the kids stained clothes (that we were going to use for rags). A pair of shorts was stuffed in the bottom first. Then, we had to wrap the beers. We cut the shirts in 1/2 and, as you can see in the photo above, wrapped the beers.

And then we stuffed it down into the tube! We also stuffed a shirt in between bottles for extra cushioning. Needless to say, this entire process had us laughing our asses off!! Once we got all three bottles in, we capped it all off with another 1/2 of an old kid t-shirt for padding. We wondered if we should've included a note "Beer is INSIDE clothing" --- should that be included in the tube or written under where we wrote "FRAGILE" on the outside of the tube?
Though we hope the recipients of our tube find humor in the packaging, we do take delight in the fact that not only is the beer green (obviously though not literally in color!), but so is the packaging: recycled, soft, cut up clothing!!