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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.

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