On his last journey to The Cities, The Hermit bought not one but two beer kits to brew at home. I figured I better get one of them done this long weekend, but of course I waited until Sunday to do it. Today's brew was a Belgian Witbier, a style I am not very familiar with. The Hermit had one on tap at a favorite restaurant in St. Paul, and he said it was good so I'll take his word for it.
Along with the usual hops, this beer calls for unusual additions like coriander and orange peel. Instead of the usual aggressive hoppiness of the beers I like to brew, this one had a more complex aroma. The malt syrup was partly if not all wheat instead of barley, so that makes for a change from the usual brew. Wheat beers tend to have a spicier, less bitter flavor. We'll see.
There is so much I want to learn about brewing. To me, for a long time hops were hops and yeast was yeast. Now I'm learning to appreciate the subtle differences between the varieties; today's hops seemed milder than what I'm used to. The yeast was described as "slightly phenolic", meaning I can probably expect it to add some fruity flavors to the brew as well as do the important jobs of fermentation and carbonation. And I was marveling at the fact that the package said it contained something like 2 billion yeast cells. Wow.
I was thinking about brewing and learning as I sampled the India Pale Ale I brewed a while back and watched the wort bubble and smelled its sweet aroma. Some people, it seems, think learning is something you do in school and once you graduate, it is to be avoided at all costs. Learning is for kids, they think. But there is so much to be learned from each day, and we adults for the most part don't get it. I have learned more in my adult life than I ever did in college or graduate school, more practical stuff, and I remember the lessons of life far more than a class I took twenty years ago. Even everyday household life offers opportunities for learning, and parenting is certainly the ultimate class. The key, I think, is not to stagnate. Try new things, and if you are set in your ways and think you can't learn something new, maybe think about why you think that way. I have surprised myself more than once.
I'm off to try something new, wild, and crazy. For some unknown reason, I thought I'd attempt calzones for dinner, with ham, cheese, and marinara sauce. The dough is in the bread machine right now.