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Brewer’s Glee

Well, I got a few things in the past week that are bound to lead to brewer’s glee — that state in which someone who makes beer at home finds himself gleefully laughing at all the wonderful things he’s going to be able to do.

One was a shipment of goodies — some of them brewing related, some not — from Miss Jiwaku, especially including a bunch of Indonesia “gula” I left behind at her suggestion. “Gula” is sugar, but not the kind of thing one who’s grown up in whitebread Canada thinks of at the word. It’s unrefined stuff, called things like “ger” and “jaggery” in other places. I have two kinds of gula, “gula kelapa” and “gula aren,” both of which are just kinds (or brands, maybe?) of palm sugar.

Gula is a richer, creamier kind of unrefined sugar than that we are used to in the West. Apparently it adds both a distinctive flavor and body to any beer brewed (or other consumable) made with it. For my first try, I’ll be making an IPA with it, and with some of the radically expanded pantry of hops on hand which I ordered from Beerschool, after Rob noted the huge jump in selection a while back. All that’s in addition to the crazy stuff I have in my pantry now — galingale, a ton of juniper berries, kaffir lime leaves, and Balinese long pepper, just to name a few.

And, finally, today, I received two more books on The Craft — one on brewing lambic beers, and one on making mead. I may end up waiting till the summer or fall to start in seriously on the mead, being that it’s harder to get honey cheap in the winter (though I may attempt a few experiments along the way); the lambic I may not attempt for even longer. But having those books, having some more materials, having plans, all excite me.

Apparently, I even have a party to brew for. There’s something coming up in April, and I’ve been asked whether I can provide some beer. It’s looking like it will work out! Other plans for expansion of my home brewery will have to wait a month or two, but they’re building up too.

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