Home Brew without the Kick

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Root beer make at home

Last fall, while attending a livestock show, we had a chance to visit Bass Pro Shop. What a great place! It had everything you could imagine – from camping to hunting, fishing and outdoor cooking. It’s like an outdoorsman’s paradise on steroids; Disneyland for the sportsman really.

While paroozing the cooking section, I came across a novel item – a root beer home brewing kit. I was intrigued. Home brewing has been on my radar for a while now. And, seeing a kit complete with ingredients, equipment and even bottles sparked a hell of an interest in me. But, being the frugal, practical person that I am, and not really seeing that I would have the time to watch the home brew until it was ready really didn’t seem in the cards at the time. So I kept on walking. Months later though, I had this gnawing desire to learn how to make my own home brew, and felt a little disappointed that I hadn’t taken the opportunity when I had it.

After all, this wasn’t like making hard cider or beer or wine. There wouldn’t be the hazards of over yeasted bottles exploding in the kitchen or accidental poisonings because things went wrong. This was root beer for God sake – frothy, foaming soda you pour over ice cream.

Anyway, the root beer project seemed harmless enough. I didn’t need any complicated vats or tubing and the whole process from mixing to carbonating to cold in your hands took only 3 days. Five brainless steps to produce a rich and creamy drink that will taste our taste buds back in time. Pretty straight forward right? Also, trying something non-alcoholic seemed like a safe start.

So last week I broke down and ordered one Mr. Root Beer root beer brewing kit. And tonight Brianne and I are in the kitchen mixing the concoction of water, sugar, root beer extract and yeast with a big wooden spoon.

When I felt confident we had followed the directions correctly, we poured it into the old-fashioned looking 1-liter bottles that came with the kit, and watched the foam rise to the top, which would in theory, carbonate it. In 3-days, if all goes well, it should be ready to drink. I’ll pour the plastic bottle into a nicer serving jug, a brown colonial looking one I found while on vacation in Virginia, and place it in the fridge to chill.

If all goes well we’ll soon be sipping root beer floats made with Ben and Jerry’s Vermont Homestead vanilla ice cream drowning in our own home brew; hopefully in front of a beautiful western sky with a chorus of chirping finches in the background.

Cheers everyone!

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