Friday, April 8, 2011

Federal Government Shutdown = More Brewing?

So last week my wife Manina made headlines by having an article written about her in the Elkridge Patch in an article titled "Elkridge Teacher Reports for Duty in Fort Meade Classroom".  Pretty cool stuff if you ask me.  Well this week I got my turn in the Elkridge Patch spotlight in an article named "Federal Government Holds Workers and Residents in Limbo."  Sure I didn't get a whole article dedicated to me like Manina did....she's much cooler than I am....but I did get a quote in there that brought some comic relief to a few of my fellow Federal employee friends.
Brenton MacAloney, an Elkridge resident and meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said officials at his office asked employees to submit their time sheets and get them certified in advance of the possible shutdown.  “I’m probably going to brew some beer,” said MacAloney, a home-brew aficionado, on what he would do with his free time should the shutdown occur.
What the hell else am I supposed to do other than sit around all depressed, barred from the job that I've love?  I'm really not very skilled at other areas so I couldn't pick up a side job to supplement the income I'm missing.  I'm not much of a radical and don't have the attention span to stand on the steps of the Capital Building every day chanting til I'm blue in the face at a bunch of rich guys who are obviously confused about what it means to be an American.  Heck I even took a day off from work a few weeks ago and completed all my Spring lawn cleaning.  So that's out of the question.

Now I did think about doing nothing but sitting on the front porch, smoke cigars and drink beer with the rest of the Feds living in my neighborhood, but that will just lead to me getting fatter and more unhealthy.  Lord knows I need that like a hole in the head.  So why not go on a brewing blitz see just how much beer I can make while I'm out of work?

The benefits of going on a brewing blitz are endless, but here's a few that come to mind as I type this.
  1. I'm not being lazy and watching 18-hours of CSI every day I'm not at work.
  2. I'm not getting arrested...yes I know the thought of this happening to me does cross some of your minds on a weekly or monthly basis, so I had to say it.
  3. I'm always happy when I brew...except when I knock a mash tun full of grains all over the yard by tripping over a hose.  Luckily this has only happened once since I started brewing.
  4. I get to sharpen my skill in an area I would like to think will my be second career after I get tired of working for the Feds.
  5. I know my beer will make my friends happy.
  6. I get to be outside in the beautiful Spring air of Maryland doing something I am passionate about.
So with that said, the clock strikes 5pm and I'm already an hour and a half into the world of the unknown (got off work at 3:30pm) and things aren't looking good down in the District.  I think it's time to pull out Jamil's book for inspiration, check my inventory of grains, and open up BeerSmith to come up with the recipes for several concoction that will help me and my friends get through the idiocy that has taken over my much loved country.  I guess we'll have to see what the deal is when we wake up Monday morning. 

Are you a Federal Employee in the DC or Baltimore Metro areas who is going to be out of work if the Government goes into shutdown mode?  Want to brew or learn to brew during the shutdown?  If so, let me know and I'd love to have some help in my brewing adventures.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Rebirth of this Blog

Long time no talk.  Yeah I know, I haven't written things here in a while.  I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that I spent a lot of time working on building the CSI Homebrewers Club website over the winter.  Actually, nah, who am I kidding?  I've just been lazy and unmotivated over the winter.  But like Spring wakes up all the hibernating elements of nature, I too have been woken up and am ready to get back on track here.

I've found my way back here because of an event I went to yesterday.  As I went through my daily lunch routine of reading the Elkridge Patch (great local newspaper by the way!!), I stumbled across a posting advertising a happy hour / meetup occurring at the Stained Glass Pub in Elkridge.  Being that this event was taking place around a mile from my house, I figured I could swing by and do some promotion of the CSI Homebrewers Club website while drinking a beer and chatting with some local HoCo (Howard County) folks.  Little did I know how awesome this event would be. 

I don't know what I expected.  Maybe a handful of computer geeks like myself sitting around talking about the topics they blog about.  All I knew was that the first $200 in drinks were on the house and I liked the sound of that.  What I walked into was a huge gathering having somewhere on the order of 40-50 people chatting it up, having a great time, and networking.  Sure I knew no one there, but then again, I'm not very shy.  So I just hopped into conversations and started to talk to people.

I soon realized that there were other people like me out there.  In fact, I think one of the most interesting conversations of the night had to be with a couple of wine enthusiasts, Terry and Kathy, who write a blog about all aspects of wine, called  They were the wine world's version of me!!!  With a beer in my hand and glasses of wine in their hand we talked about a lot of the similarities of making beer and wine.  They were a step or two beyond basic wine making and were talking about embarking on the jump to the winemakers version of going "all grain."  I got a lot of great ideas from them on content I can add to my website, as well as the CSI website with regards to reviews of various breweries.  So that was a lot of fun. 

Another person I met there was TJ from the Elkridge Patch.  I know I probably rave too much about the Patch's coverage of what is going on in Elkridge, but I've really taken a liking to the writings of TJ.  His Patch postings are always good food for though and I find myself frequently commenting on his content.  It was great to finally meet him and talk about a passion we both have in common, the Boston Red Sox. 

Of course, I met others too...too many to name, but I had great conversations with all of them.  It's amazing how often my "just another day" turns into a new adventure of some sorts.  The only comparison I can make to that is with my beer making.  My goal is to always make something drinkable.  What I commonly find though is that the final product ends up being something really good, not just drinkable.  Maybe it's chance or maybe it's luck.  It's probably a little bit of both, but to me, that is what I love the most about life.  Finding out how something can go from ordinary to extraordinary in the blink of an eye.