Getting Back On Track…

My writing project and homebrewing efforts have been somewhat derailed during the past two months, due to the holidays and various family activities. Things have settled down quite a bit in the past week and now it’s time to get back on track with both.

In spite of my distractions, Beer & Knitting classes continued in December and January… so I haven’t been a total slacker. Our December class was Christmas Beer & Ornaments. We kicked off the class with Anchor Christmas Ale and then everyone picked an ornament pattern and started knitting. We had a great selection of Christmas beers to taste, the favorites being Delirium Noel, Trader Joe’s 2008 Vintage Ale (brewed by Unibroue), and Santa’s Butt Porter. I had a variety of ornament patterns to choose from, including a Candy Cane Cozy for those who were concerned about the higher alcohol Christmas beers affecting their ability to knit anything too complicated. (Cast on 20 sts, knit 8 rows, cast off, sew it together.)

In January, the topic was Finishing. On the knitting side we focused on the mattress stitch (or weaving) for sewing up seams, one-row buttonholes, grafting, and some extra finishing touches by Nicky Epstein. On the beer side we discussed the beer drinker’s responsibility, from the time the beer is purchased until it’s served, to make the most of the hard work the brewer put into the beer.

We started the class with Red Seal Ale. Each student had two glasses in front of her. One was a typical pint glass and the other a pilsner glass. I had the Red Seal at two different temperatures – refrigerator temp and room temp. I poured the cold beer down the side of the pint glass, creating no head and maximizing the carbonation. The room temperature beer was poured straight down the center of the pilsner glass, allowing it to foam up nicely and release some of the carbonation.

The results were amazing. The students couldn’t believe the two glasses contained the same beer, even though they saw me pour it. Preferences were towards the beer in the pilsner glass with the slightly warmer temperature and nice batch of foam. They clearly learned that how the beer drinker handles and serves the beer makes a difference. We moved on to the other beers that were brought to the class, the favorites being Chimay Blue and Kostritzer Schwartzbier and Allagash White.

For all you Allagash White fans out there, I strongly recommend you try Allagash Fluxus. They refer to it as a double white beer and it is way yummy!

Next up… Fruit Beers & Knitted Hearts. This class will be on Valentine’s Day.

Jenne Hiigel