A Christmas brew
I have always quite liked beer (especially of the "real" variety), but never really to the same extent as a good glass of wine. Best taken in a hot climate, or (to go back a good few decades in my case) after a hard day on an archaeological dig. That said, I recently got involved on Twitter with one of the local real breweries (Milton Brewery, who have a great line in classically named brews -- Pegasus, Nero, Justinian, Augustus and so on.
Anyway we got into a discussion about some possible ladies' names that could grace a classical brew . . . Medusa? Minerva? .... (any great ideas?). And this led to an invitation to see the inaugural brew of Minerva being made and to give a very amateur hand.
We (that's me and the son) went out to the brewery at Waterbeach; it's no longer in Milton -- but expanded to bigger premises! It was the first time I had set my foot in a brewery, piss up or not (and yes, plenty of excellent were samples were sampled).
First thing, let me explain, a brewery in December is a pretty chilly place -- but this was soon mitigated by not only the beer, but also the toasted crumpets (great combo). My job, I confess, was the easy one. I poured the hops into the brew -- as you can see at the top of the post. The boy had a rather more energetic task to take on -- cleaning out the mushed up, sodden barley from the tank.
We got as far as the beer being run off and cooled, into the fermenting tanks... tastes, I can confirm, pretty bitter right now (like a Negroni Richard, our instructor, helpfully suggested). But after a few days fermenting it will have mellowed into something nice and slightly hoppy (thanks to my addition to the brew).
In fact, I started to reflect there might even be a polypin (36 pints) of it ready for New Year and the Beard's birthday (59, oh s**t). There's thought.
Now don't expect to find Minerva down at your local Tesco (they don't sell it by the bottle), but you can get it in quite a few pubs; and the Brewery have some pubs of their own too.
So there she'll be, with her own specially designed "pump clip" featuing goddess and owl. Brewing a good beer is just the kind of skill Minerva would have been proud of.