Monday, January 9, 2017

Home gastronomy - er, brewing

Back in New York, while I was able to write for years about food, for the most part I wrote restaurant reviews. Since I now live in rural Vermont, meaning the kind of rural where you have bears wandering around in your yard, there aren't going to be a lot of restaurants to review.

One thing that rural Vermonters do a lot is make things at home.

I'll be doing a lot more of this than I ever have done in my life since there seems to be an extra helping of local food enthusiasts here in the southern region of the state. I'm looking forward to working with my neighbors to create some of the most delicious food and drink to be had anywhere.  Apparently there are a lot of us with those aspirations around in these here hills, so I'm hoping to introduce as many producers, cooks and chefs as possible here in the blog as I get to know the local pop.

The eight gallon pot for boiling

This weekend housemates put up another carboy of mead - a citrus cardamom brew. They get the honey locally and tend to purchase in five gallon buckets, so it's not very romantic.  Mostly on this end of things it's all about boiling the gallon or so of honey with the five gallons or so of water in the evening and processing any flavoring elements, then getting it all into the carboy once it has cooled the next day.  This brew's flavor elements consist of  citrus zest, cardamom seeds and cardamom pods. The type of yeast, which will determine whether it is sweet or dry is put in after boiling too. For this weekend's batch it will be the white wine yeast, which produces a dry crisp flavor - perfect with the citrus and cardamom.

A notebook is dedicated to carefully recording relevant details of the brew at all points along the way.  Currently there are 25 gallons in progress in the little meadery here. A notebook becomes extremely important when there are that many brews going on. The in-progress mead is divided between the rack that holds all the carboys just inside our cabin front door and the newly-constructed-today shelving that holds all the bottles in the basement.

I love the burbling carboys *bloop* *blip*

Once the yeast does its work the mead is  bottled and we keep it in the basement for a year or two as a minimum, doing an occasional tasting to insure that we don't provide green mead for our guests. The tasting part is very important over these long winter nights.  There's nothing that will perk up a winter evening quite like a little mead tasting.

A DIY corker - essential for any mead brewer.

And some of it wins ribbons at the local fair!


  1. Oh, this will be fun! Please keep explaining all the steps to creating the tasty stuff, I love knowing how something is done.

    1. Me, too! I look forward to your adventures.