새해복많이받으세요, & Bread & Beer

In other words, Happy Korean New Year!

(And yeah, they got it from the Chinese. Whatever.)

Me, I’m stuffed with rice cake and dumpling soup, and am now having having a nice Leffe Blond, which brings back memories of Montréal. (Not my favorite beer, now, as it was then, but then, it was my first beer, followed by Sleeman’s Honey Brown Lager, Guinness, Harp, and whatever else I could afford. It took till my second year in Montreal to arrive at beer; the first year was taken up with red wine.

Which is to segue gracelessly to the fact that this year, besides writing and work, I have myself a couple of projects. The first is to make the best use (not to say most frequent use, just best use) of my new bread machine. I used to spend all too much money on getting decent bread from places like Wood & Brick and another little place in Hongdae–I think it’s called Rosemont bakery?–but now I can make lovely breads — rye, whole wheat, buckwheat–at home for a fraction of the cost.

(Yeah, buckwheat. I made some last night. It was actually Sourdough Buckwheat bread, but my “sourdough” was really just “sour dough”–some fermenty starter that probably was a bit too gone. The bread was, well, interesting at first, but mostly good.)

Which is good, because the other hobby I’ve decided I’m going to take up is homebrewing. I was scared off by the book I first got on the subject,  Ray Daniels’ Designing Great Beers, but I found something more suited to my level–which is, absolutely, zero-level. As in, 1st edition “Treasure Hunt” module zero-level character: one hit point, crappy saving throws, and no skills beyond maybe a trade and a poorly spoken foreign language. What I found was the third edition of Charlie Papazian’s excellent The Complete Joy of Home Brewing, and after checking out the first few chapters I have to say I really like the man’s attitude, as he constantly repeats the phrase:

Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew.

I aspire to the same relaxed, optimistic, even-keeled nature that Papazian demonstrates in his discussion of home brewing.

And I aspire to brew me some lovely beer in my empty(-ish) storage room. And what could be more encouraging than to stumble upon a blog devoted to that very subject, by a newish homebrewer in Korea? If you’re looking for information on supplies, techniques, internet sources, and much more, Homebrew Korea is without a doubt the site you want to visit. I’ll be checking in as I gather stuff to launch myself into this hobby.

People don’t post resolutions online for Lunar New Year, but I think that I just did the closest thing I have to personal  resolutions  for 2009. Suits me fine: I’m always a month behind anyway.

3 thoughts on “새해복많이받으세요, & Bread & Beer

  1. On brewing, it sounds like you’re on exactly the right path. Papazian is still a great way to start, despite some or the more complicated stuff you’ll find on the net now.

    But, let me give two pieces of advice (which you’re free to ignore):

    1. If you have any confidence at all, skip the all-extract recipe and go straight to the “intermediate” one with extract plus grain tea. It’s really not much harder to do.

    2. Don’t try to go too extreme — no double imperial stouts or triple-hopped pale ale for your first brew. I did a stout with friends in college and it put me off homebrew for years. 10 years later I tried again and my brown ale came out extremely drinkable.

    Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew.

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed the site. Brewing in Korea can be a challenge sometimes and we are trying to help people overcome that. It’s a great (and delicious) hobby and a few hurdles shouldn’t scare you away.

    Happy New Year and Hapy Brewing!!

  3. Matt,

    Thanks! And hey, nice review site you have there!

    I think I’ll go with something simple to start, just because I could do with a little confidence boosting. But I won’t linger on kits for too long, worry not. And definitely nothing too extreme until I feel like I know what I’m doing.

    Rob,

    Thanks. Your site is a huge encouragement and a great resource, and I appreciate you spending the time (and hosting money) so generously to share your discoveries and information. I look forward to the day when I can also contribute recipes, tips, or whatever!

    Happy (Lunar) New Year, guys!

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