After 40-something weeks, the baby finally decided it was time to come out of his warm little incubation chamber. On Saturday March 22nd, in the comfort of our own home, assisted by the excellent midwives of Birth and Beyond, we were joined by Angus “Gus” Brainard.
It is quite a unique experience having a birth in your home. First of all, it’s sort of like a family gathering – you really get a sense for just how small your living room can be. Especially when there’s a 100 gallon tub of water, two midwives, one helper, a mother-in-law, a sister-in-law, yourself, and a pregnant woman all in the room at the same time. Not to mention all the birthing equipment.
All in all it was an amazing experience, really close and personal and intimate, despite all the people there. Everyone there was completely in tune with the needs of Aimée as she labored to deliver the baby. It was quick and easy, and drug and intervention free. Natural birth, the way it was meant to be.
I offer this warning before you read on: I’m going to talk about the placenta, and show pictures.
I’m back with another video tasting. This time, I have stepped up the personnel even more than before. I have virtually a posse tasting this beer with me. Actually, I’m the only one that manages to take the glass and put it to my lips to drink some, but the others look and smell with me. As you might expect, I have not only brought along Iris and Boden to the tasting, but Aimée has joined in, too. That’s right; both kids and the wife and the beer. It was a crowded camera lens tonight. Hopefully I pulled it off.
First Friday of the month = beer blogging Friday = The Session! This is a group blogging day, where all the interested beer bloggers of the world write about the same thing on the same day. This month’s session is hosted by Chris O’Brien the Beer Activist. The topic is Organic Beer.
I don’t have a lot of experience with organic beer – I have hardly ever bought any, and I’ve never made any, although I am starting to become more interested in the idea. For a while, I felt like organic anything was a silly excuse to pay more at the grocery store for produce that seemed to spoil sooner than the normal stuff. I like to jokingly refer to non-organic produce as inorganic. I mean, every vegetable is organic, right? Not really.
Last week’s video tasting still sits on the (hopefully un-reformatted) hard drive of my laptop which is currently in the capable hands of my nearest HP Service Center. In case you’re wondering, they’re waiting for a part and are projecting that I’ll have it back on 3/12/08. Complaining over.
Today being Thursday, I took up my favorite weekly beer tradition and did a video tasting. Another one with the kids. Including the kids is…interesting. It makes the whole thing a lot less predictable, and a lot more editing-intensive.
I have already written about Cherry Sparkles here before. It’s a cherry wheat I made in honor of my daughter. It has a little cherry syrup and a lot of food coloring gel to give it the slightest cherry aroma and flavor and plenty of pink color. The base beer, my American Wheat, is always a favorite amongst my friends, and I’ve put Strawberry in it in the past with pretty good results. Cherry Sparkles is beer-ish, fruity, and refreshing. It is my way of asking summer to come as quickly as possible. This beer is best enjoyed in warm weather above 70 degrees. So time to turn up the heat and crack open a Cherry Sparkles beer.
I recorded a video tasting tonight, but I’m having technical difficulties getting it online. My HP Laptop is dead. Yesterday it started freaking out the display. I thought it was overheating, and I managed it for most of the day with “Sleep” mode. But then a few hours ago it ran for just a few minutes and shut down while not that hot, and now it won’t start at all. Good thing my wife has a much more reliable HP Laptop so I could at least get on and make this post. (By the way, that’s not my laptop, mine is broken in a much less visibly apparent way.)
Iris gave herself the nickname “Cherry Sparkles”. At first it was just “Sparkles”, but then she discovered maraschino cherries, and it became “Cherry Sparkles”. She often introduces herself as Iris Cherry Sparkles Brainard, which almost always confuses the person she’s talking to, especially if it’s another kid.
So I decided to make a “Cherry Sparkles” beer. That is, beer with cherry. I had luck adding fresh strawberries to my Stonington Memorial Summer Ale, an American Wheat Beer I have made a few times. Everyone always loves the un-fruitened beer, and I figured Sam Adams makes a Cherry Wheat, why not me? It may not sparkle, since there’s all that wheat protein making haze, but none of my beers are particularly sparkly anyway.
It seems like we haven’t been out of the house in about seven weeks. Of course, we get out here and there, but I think that the kids have been about 85% in the house for a long time. It is starting to wear on us. Everything has become an occasion for crying, which has escalated lately to some sort of growl/scream/yell sound with a very angry face accompanying it.
Aimée figured out today’s magical solution to getting out of the house, which instantly cured the sourpuss complex. Friendly’s. I feel like I’m part of a Friendly’s commercial that I wouldn’t approve of. But I approve now.
SuperMelt, Fries, and Ice Cream, here we come!
I took a big chance tonight, by filming this while alone in the house with my two darling children. But rather than plunking them down in front of the TV, I invited them to join me in the video. We’ll see if you like the results.
I sampled a Thomas Hooker Hop Meadow IPA. This beer is from Connecticut, and from a brewery with a great reputation. The Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock is one of the best Doppelbocks made in America. The BeerAdvocates love it, and so do I. I have also had a smattering of their other brews and enjoyed them very much – always well done interpretations of the style. Hop Meadow is a local reference, one of the main roads in Simsbury, the adjacent town from the brewery, is Hopmeadow Road. We also have the Devil’s Hopyard State Park. I guess Connecticut is the really old school Williamette Valley.
Normally I do a weekly news roundup, where I post links to other peoples’ content here and write a little blurb about each story I’m linking to. This week, I’m changing things up a little. That is to say, I just don’t stay on top of all the various news-like data on the web any more.
There was this thing yesterday where Jim Koch personally posted on the Brewer’s Association Forum (and some others, I guess) to offer up hops for sale. Ten thousand pounds of East Kent Goldings and ten thousand pounds of Tettnangers. That’s a lot of hops. If they can spare that much hops, just imagine how many they still will have in their cold storage once the deals are done. But overall, this is a great move, a gesture of goodwill from one of the biggest craft brewers to all the other ones. If only he had ten thousand pounds of Cascades… It also occurred to me, that maybe this is why they did the Hallertau Imperial Pilsner, with like a bushel of hops per gallon. If he had ten thousand extra pounds, why not make a batch of beer with them? So this offering means we’ll miss out on the Tettnanger Imperial Pilsner and the EKG Imperial Pilsner! All kidding aside, I did like the Hallertau Imperial Pilsner, and I would welcome the others, if they made them, even if the idea of an Imperial Pilsner is pretty silly to begin with. I wonder how many times I can write the words Imperial Pilsner in one blog post. I bet I will get a lot of hits from people searching Google for Imperial Pilsner in the next few days. Maybe I should make an Imperial Pilsner, for an upcoming brew day, coupled with a Flying Dog Collaborator clone (do you call it a clone when they give you the recipe?) – that way I could lager them both together!
In other news, not as widespread on the internet, today marks my one year anniversary of brewing beer at home. In honor of the date, I made two batches (A.K.A. the Beta Project in the Gemini Series). PostNatal IPA is for Aimée once she gives birth to our next child within the next few weeks, and Cherry Sparkles is in honor of Iris – the artwork is by and of Iris and the name of the beer is her self-appointed nickname - though it will be long gone before she’s ready to drink it.
One last post tonight. And nothing to do with beer.
My daughter Iris is four. This past summer she wore like ten dresses a day. While this is an exaggeration, sometimes it didn’t seem like one. She changed clothes a lot. I wished she’d just wear one dress that day.
They say to be careful what you wish for. I got my wish. Lately she wears exactly two dresses. All the time. She cries when one gets covered in syrup and ketchup and chocolate and whatever else she eats. She has to take one off as soon as the other is clean and dry so that I can wash the first one, too.
But that all seems to be changing.
I’m sorry, I just had to interrupt to post this photo of the amazing head retention on my Big Slick 2 Imperial IPA. This one has taken some time to come along, but it’s really hitting its stride right now. See, there’s some beer content. The thing’s really lacing the glass like a pro, too.
Back to the dresses.