So, I’ve mentioned Joe in my last couple of posts. Not only is he mentioned again in this, but he wrote his take on the brewing class. Side note: New friend has turned into new boyfriend.
Joe has quite a passion for beer. I’ve recently discovered a passion for Bailey’s. Hopefully though, I won’t be like Old Gregg and his Bailey’s obsession.
I’ve liked Bailey’s before, specifically with butterscotch schnapps; those two together make a buttery nipple shot. I hadn’t had those shots in a couple of years or so. However, during MLK, Jr. weekend, Kristin had asked for those two ingredients. After a fun night of shots, shots, shots, shots-shots-shots, Kristin made coffee in the morning. She is determined to get me to like coffee. I love the smell of it, but I don’t like the taste. She made me a cup that was half coffee and half milk. I liked it. One of us, I don’t remember who, suggested that we put Bailey’s in the coffee. That was delicious! To finish off that Bailey’s-filled weekend, I had Bailey’s cheesecake at a pub. That solidified my new love for it.
The weekend after that one, Joe had to make me dinner because OSU’s men’s basketball team beat OU’s. (Another fun side note: OSU is 9-0 against OU in 5 different sports. Go Pokes!) Unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to include dessert in that bet. Fortunately, I realized that I could make a Bailey’s dessert! I decided to go with brownies. I made it easy for myself by choosing to go with brownie mix instead of from scratch….And it was even easier with Joe helping. Various sources had the same recipe, so I don’t know whom to credit. Recipe is extremely easy.
Basically, for the brownies, just follow the directions on the brownies box, with the addition of 1/2 cup of Bailey’s.
For the icing, mix 1/2 cup of butter, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and 1/4 cup of Bailey’s. You can actually add more Bailey’s if it’s not creamy enough.
For the chocolate drizzle, melt chocolate chips. I wanted to add Bailey’s to it to have Bailey’s everything, but that didn’t work out. It solidifies. So, we just heated up chocolate chips by themselves.
I was incredibly happy with the result. The brownies had a slight Bailey’s taste, but the icing was the tastiest part. I highly recommend trying this out, especially the icing.
The majority of the time, I do not cook/bake, but this was satisfying to do. I feel ambitious enough to try making brownies from scratch. Depending on how that goes, I’m considering trying to make cheesecake or mousse. Maybe one day, I’ll be a sweet genius!
Another part of that same weekend was going to an Intro to Brewing class.
I am not a fan of beer. I’ve tried a bunch of the popular brands like Bud, Miller, Coors (or BMCs, as the brewing store owner referred to non-craft beer). I can handle the taste of light beer better over dark, but overall, most beers taste the same to me. I do not like that taste. I’ve been skeptical of flavored beer, but Joe has had me try a couple of lambics. I do approve of those fruity beers.
So while I’m not that into beer, yet anyway, I do think Joe’s interest in beer is cool. Since he’s into beer, I gave him LivingSocial “Intro to Brewing Class” coupons for his birthday. I went with him to the class and enjoyed it.
I think part of the reason I liked the class is due to the science behind it. I know the fermentation process as far as the different cycles that I had to learn in science courses, but I never thought about it in terms of beer. The barley goes through a malting process to be broken down into simple sugars. Then the yeast takes those sugars and turns them into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Science!
Maybe I should have known this, but I didn’t realize how long the entire process is. The boiling of water and adding the ingredients take about a couple of hours. Then there is a waiting period of a week for fermentation in the bucket. Then another week of fermentation in the glass carboy. Finally, there is at least a three-week wait time for fermentation in the bottles.
Home-brewing would require a significant amount of patience and space. The kit can make 5 gallons of beer at a time. If I were to use 12 fl oz bottles, I’d end up with about 53 bottles of beer. I also imagine that I’d set up another batch or two during all the waiting. I could have over 150 bottles fermenting in a fridge or a closet. That’s a ton of space! An upside to the waiting is that home-brewing doesn’t seem to be too labor-intensive. It would need attention once a week to once every few weeks to make the beer, move the beer, and try the beer.
Of course, the real challenge is making tasty beer. There are many varieties of hops, barley, and yeast to choose from. Figuring out the right combination would take some time. I forgot to ask the owner how flavored beer is made, but I think I could look that up. I think making fruity beer would be the reason for me to start home-brewing, but for now, I’ll just watch/help Joe make his concoctions if he decides to set up a kit.
And now, here are Joe’s thoughts on beer and the class:
“Hello! This is the aforementioned Joe who was treated to this brewing class for his birthday by the lovely Nicole. My interest in beer started young. My dad always had a beer fridge, his own fridge in the garage designated only for beer, and he usually kept it stocked. But back then he only drank Budweiser, so that’s what I grew up on. But I think the limited alcohol laws of Oklahoma actually had the opposite effect they are supposed to; it made me curious about what else is out there and to find out what I liked. So I started to frequent a restaurant in Tulsa called McNellie’s that has a huge beer selection. I quickly learned I like ales the most, focusing on pale ales and IPA (India Pale Ales), but I’ve got a taste for pretty much anything brewed, except for Belgiums. Fruit has no place in my beer.
I think this will be a great hobby for me due to my current employment, where I travel frequently for up to a month at a time. As long as I get a couple weeks notice before the trip, I could start a batch and then let it sit bottled while I’m gone, and that would be an awesome homecoming gift for myself, to crack open one of my own beers after walking through my own door, and crashing on my own couch for the first time in a few weeks. And if it’s good, then it would even be rewarding. And if I could get my friends interested in beer, or at least make something they would drink at parties, I think that would be pretty rewarding, too.
Could this turn into a job for me? Not as long as Oklahoma’s laws on alcohol are the way they are. I would want a brewpub, a restaurant-slash-bar run by me and a couple choice friends, where my beer would be on tap, but currently that’s impossible. I don’t think I would do just a brewery; it would feel like settling. Would I move to do it in a different state? Only if that’s where my life took me; I would actually prefer to be involved in the change that Oklahoma needs so badly.
So, for now, I’m looking forward to getting a brewing starter kit, all the ingredients for a simple beer to try out first, I’m thinking a pale ale since those are pretty easy, and going through the process and getting familiar with it. I expect the first batch to be…not so good, but at least I can enjoy watching Nicole’s face when she tries it :). I think I will probably run through all of the ingredient kits, trying each kind, before I settle on one that I want to start tweaking and get the flavor I want.
Nicole, thanks for letting me get my 2 bits in on your blog :-). Good writing!”
Thanks, Joe, for writing that!
Once again, I suggest that everyone try something new! January was busy for me, but I think I can pace myself to one thing a month until July. Next time, I fly a plane!