Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Homebrew Tasting Notes

The last time I reported on my first homebrewing experience, I was harvesting hops, and since then, I've bottled my own creation and christened it Swing Set Organic Ale (name credited to Imbibe art director, Kate Madden, in honor of the swing set-turned-pergola our hops grew on) and put all 450 or so ounces in the basement to get ready for tasting. Thanks to the holidays with a side of travel, our beer only recently debuted in the Imbibe test kitchen.

Even though we added more hops than the recipe called for, I wouldn't characterize this beer as the IPA we intended to make, but hops do shine through in the aroma and finish. Here's how Imbibe editor Hannah Feldman describes it: "A lovely, deep copper color. Chocolate notes, with a nice hoppy bitterness that's more playful than harsh. I could imagine drinking this with roasted pork and homemade applesauce, or with a creamy butternut-squash soup. It has the structure to handle such rich food, but isn’t so overbearing that it would drown out the dishes' sweetness."

Homebrewing is definitely worth the time for the results (especially if you have a seasoned homebrewer willing to guide you). Will I go pro like the homebrewers we profiled in the latest issue of Imbibe and online? Probably not; at least, I haven't had that moment... yet.

In the end, our cost to brew worked out to be about equal to what we might have spent on a similar quantity of beer at the store. But popping the cap to enjoy a beer you know came from your own backyard? That's priceless. —Siobhan Crosby