Saturday, 19 September 2009

New Patio Nears Completion - Home Brewery Draws Nearer

50 slabs laid and only another 10 to go! It's been hard work mixing up the sand and cement by hand and then laying each two foot square slab by hand. Each one, of course has to be checked that it's in-line with its neighbour and is dead level. The real hard work though was digging out the base and then filing it with compacted hardcore (I broke up the old concrete garden path with a sledge hammer, and then pummeled the chunks up into smaller pieces). The whole site had to pegged out and checked with a spirit level, before being covered with a layer of compacted sand.

I bring you this earth-shattering news not so much to bore you with my DIY exploits, but to let you know that the patio will form the base of our new summer-house-cum-brewery. I'll leave it to the spring now before ordering and erecting the latter, but once everything's in place then it will be time to recommence brewing again.

Before we took on our shop I was a keen and accomplished home-brewer. I don't make that last statement to brag, although I was (and still am) proud of the beers I was turning out. All my beers were full-mash recipes that were bittered with whole-leaf hops. I tried all sorts of styles, ranging from authentic IPA's and Porters to Dubbels and Doppelbocks. I even produced the odd Rauchbier using specially imported smoked malt from Bamberg! I usually had a well-hopped 1045 OG pale ale on tap as my everyday drinking beer, complemented by a darker brew during the winter months.

Running an off-licence was a 24/7 activity, but the reason I didn't re-start my brewing activities straight after we sold the business was that in the interim we had our garage demolished and an extension to the house built in its place. The garage doubled up as my brewery, and without it I have been left with nowhere suitable in which to mash and boil my wort. (I have always been barred from using the kitchen for these activities; understandable really as the hour and a half boil fills the room with steam and leaves sticky hop oil resins on the walls and ceilings!)

Anyway, there's still quite a way to go until I stir in my first mash, but I'm feeling now that the project is well on track. I will keep you informed of my progress.

For more information on home brewing follow this link.

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