I should be writing about skiing. But the temps on Dec 29th 2017 in New England's ski country were in sub -20 on the slopes. So, Adam, Rob, Dave and I decided to visit Jack's Abbey Beer Hall and Kitchen in Framingham, MA. Not knowing any of the beers, the waiter helped me select a flight of 8 different beers to try without enough food. I can't remember their names, but they were all good. I must remember to take notes on the beers I try.
From there we drove a few block and made a pitstop at Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company to get provisions for the penultimate activity of the day. But before I get into where we were heading, I have to tell a short story. Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company's tap room was crowded with just over a dozen people sampling the beer and waiting in line buy cans for the road. Next to a large viewing window revealing a large room with brew kettles, tuns and canning equipment, there is a chalkboard proudly pronouncing the food availble to eat with your beer. Adam read the menu and loudly exclaimed "they have poutine!" He said this in his loud Boston accent and since none of us reacted, he repeated it about three times even louder. Yes, his craving for french fries and cheese curds was embarassing.
Now for the really fun part of the day. We brewed our own beer at Barleycorn's Craft Beer in Natick Center! Although we brewed a double IPA, the beer came out well balanced and not too hoppy or bitter tasting because of the "super light extract" in the recipe and the type of hops in the recipe. It is a very drinakable and enjoyable beer for everyone. Each of us stepped up in different ways to perform the tasks ahead. We all had different tasks, I measured oats, malts and hops. Rob grinded the malt and flaked oats cracking the husks before the boil. Dave measured out the super light extract into pitchers while Adam managed the not too distracting conversation. The four of us took turns squeezing the balls of hops, oats, and malts with a large wooden paddle to extract maximum flavor and managing the boil. As a crew, we we quite easily distracted by conversation and were kept in line by Tom, the master brewer providing guidance and gentle reminders to watch the clock for the precise timing for the next step. We returned 3 weeks later to add carbonation, bottle the beer, and label the bottles. Max came along to help label the bottles and not taste the beer, wink, wink. After we taste tested the beer, each of us left with 32 tasty bottles of Frostbite Double IPA.
BTW: We created 20 some odd images on the bottle labels, and asked our families to vet the look. The label to the left pays hommage to the meteorologists staffing Mt. Washington's Observatory year round tolerating -35 degrees F with 85 mile an hour winds that, as the picture shows, turns boiling water instantly to snow! Our beer is a certain cure for that kind of Frostbite!