38. Make beer

The original goal here was to volunteer at Waltham Fields Community Farm, but instead of volunteering, Amy and I decided to get a full farm share this year instead of splitting one with friends Meena and Murali and their kids.

So in keeping with the “food” theme of this goal, beer became the end product. (Is anyone surprised? I’m not.)

There is a joint here in Natick called Barleycorn’s Craft Brew, where one can brew a huge variety of beer, a smaller variety of wine, and an even smaller selection of sodas. After the kayaking and snake adventures of May 7, Amy brought me and Libby to Barleycorn’s. We sat down and decided what beer to make. Our final choice was a summer brew called Bambino Summer Ale.

Bambino Summer Ale Recipe
Bambino Summer Ale Recipe

We measured our malts, ground them up, and put them into a giant tea bag, which steeped for about a half-hour.

Grinding malt
Grinding the malt
Grinding malt
Grinding so fast you can't even see her hand!

We added the extract and stirred it up.

Stirring the Tea
Double bubble toil and trouble...

Later we added the hops, after which the wurt (for it’s not beer yet) was moved from the kettle to a barrel for fermentation.

To ferment!
That'll be OUR beer soon!

We’ll go back in 2 weeks and bottle the beer. I think we get about 6 total cases out of this – hope we like it! If you’re local, you’ll probably get to try some too.

13. Go to 5 of the 125 Places to Have a Beer Before You Die

There is this great list of 125 places to have a beer before you die, courtesy of All About Beer. It was published way back in 2008, but is a delightfully relevant list 2 years later (which I suppose is a good recommendation for a list like this.)

Amy planned our summer vacation around the list. Isn’t she awesome?

In order of how we visited them on this trip (not their place on the list):

Great Lost Bear, Portland ME

Great Lost Bear

Great Lost Bear

Gritty McDuff’s, Portland ME

Gritty McDuff's Gritty McDuff's

Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown NY

Ommegang Brewery

Ommegang Rare Vos

Clark’s Ale House, Syracuse NY

Megan at Clark's Ale House

The Blue Tusk, Syracuse NY

At the Blue Tusk

F.X. Matt Brewery Tasting Room (aka Saranac Brewery), Utica NY

At the Saranca Brewery

Saranac Brewery: Summer Brew and Pale Ale

Besides these five, I’ve already been to these places on the list:

  1. Monk’s Café, Philadelphia, PA
  2. Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany
  3. The Brickskeller, Washington, DC
  4. French Quarter during Mardi Gras, New Orleans, LA
  5. Andechs Monastery, Andechs, Germany
  6. Goose Island Brewing, Chicago, IL
  7. Cooter Brown’s, New Orleans, LA
  8. Sunset Grille & Tap, Boston, MA

Other places we visited on our trip included:

Ithaca Brewery

Ithaca Brewery: Partly Sunny and Apricot Wheat

Empire Brewery
Sampler at Empire Brewery

Middle Ages Brewing

Middle Ages Brewery

Beer is awesome.

Magic Hat Beer Cap Wisdom

Magic Hat bottle capMagic Hat Brewery has “fortunes” on every bottle cap. I’ve saved all mine this summer – don’t think there’s a duplicate in there yet. Here’s my compilation of wisdom:

  • Suck the toe of Edgar Allen Poe
  • Never Flee from Glee
  • Jinx! Buy me a Beer.
  • a good man drinks a good beer
  • Reference the greats
  • Don’t Tease, aim to Please
  • Make your Move to Improve your Groove
  • A beer in the hand is worth 2 in the fridge.
  • No matter Where, you’re always There
  • If you are reading this, thank a brewer
  • Herbert the Pervert likes Sherbet
  • Originality is hard to duplicate
  • You’re a Winner!
  • Find the Way through Play
  • What could be Better than a beer with Eddie Vedder
  • Life is Not a Dress Rehearsal
  • Those who Race miss life’s Grace
  • HI!
  • It’s still Home if you’re Alone
  • Visit alternative destinations
  • It can be Great to Agitate
  • Bottled with Care by Rob, Chrissy, and Crew
  • Beware the Bore Behind the Door
  • The Answer is inside You
  • A Magic Brew or two may lead you to the loo
  • Kindlessness = Mindlessness
  • How did You get like This?
  • Don’t Throw Stones at Other’s Bones
  • Don’t Plunder the Wonder
  • Don’t Rely on those who won’t Try
  • Do not Quibble with Iskabibble
  • Travel Wide but not to Hide
  • I Have What I Want
  • Don’t throw a Can at a good looking Man
  • You are next in line
  • It’s Easy to Talk and Say nothing at the Same
  • The root of Pretension is Apprehension
  • Magic is Where you Make it

Notes: I had a lot of help drinking these. Punctuation and capitalization were copied exactly.