Birthday brewing

My 32nd birthday was pretty fantastic. Greg and I had made plans to cash in his gift certificate for the “Beginner’s Special” at the local beer brewing supply shop, Flying Barrel. The gift certificate was a Christmas gift from me to Greg, and we were both excited to use it.

Since my birthday is usually too cold to do anything outside, we figured that making beer would be a fun way to celebrate. We invited our friends Mic and Brie to help us brew, and they were happy to attend!

The Flying Barrel is a place where home brewers can buy all kinds of beer supplies. But the really cool thing is- you can go there and brew your own beer (or wine!) and use their supplies. They carry all kinds of beer ingredients:

Since we were brewing beer at the facility, one of the staff members guided us on what to do.

The first step was to look over the recipe book and choose which type of beer we wanted to brew.

Greg and I both like all different varieties of beer, but agreed that an IPA would be a good place to start. We copied down the recipe and gathered the ingredients.

There was malt extract


And hops.

All of the grains were put into a large mesh bag, which was dropped into a big kettle full of hot water- it was kind of like steeping tea! The different varieties of hops were added in at different times.

The bag of grains was removed and the hot beer water was poured over top of it a few times to get out any extra flavor.

Then the malt was poured in.

We all took turns stirring with the paddle

It was truly a team effort!

The hot beer was poured into a large container to be stored

and was cooled down with this large copper coil thing (that’s a technical term).

The blurry thing in the front is a thermometer that measures the temperature of what it’s pointed out (where the red beam is). I was amazed by this. šŸ™‚

Brewing is messy!

When our beer reached the right temperature, yeast was added and it was sealed up to ferment.

We will go back in two weeks to bottle it, and then I think it’s about two more weeks until we can drink it. I can’t wait! I could see the wheels turning in Greg’s head the whole time we were there, and when he said that he wanted to start brewing his own beer at home, I wasn’t surprised. I told him that we should wait until we move to Colorado. šŸ™‚

After brewing, the four of us chowed down on the lunch that we had packed.

Brie made her awesome kale + beet salad (and gave me the leftovers to take home!!) and I made portobello burgers (which were just grilled portobello mushrooms and veggies on sandwich thins. Yum!

We headed across the street to get a coffee and sit and chat some more, and then parted ways. Greg and I made a stop of Wegman’s to pick up some fish for dinner. Aaaaand we also ran into Yogi Castle to get some frozen yogurt for later. šŸ™‚


When Greg and I got back home, we spent some time doing nothing, which was very nice. Eventually I made some black bean brownies- something I’ve been wanting to do forever. I found this recipe last week and was very curious to try it. I figured that the brownies would be a nice little birthday treat (along with some frozen yogurt, of course).

But, before we ate dessert, we had dinner. This was exactly what I wanted- grouper and rockfish (we got one filet of each and cooked them together) with a lemon-dill-caper sauce, roasted asparagus, sweet potato and some of Brie’s kale + beet salad in a little up on the side.

This was so delicious- the perfect birthday dinner. But, what I was really excited about was dessert.

We each had one of the brownies, topped with some of the peanut butter Greg had made that morning, along with some frozen yogurt and a few Sunspire peanut butter chips sprinkled on top.

The night ended with puppy cuddling and watching 50/50 on dvd.

I really, really liked the movie. I highly recommend renting it immediately!

So that was my birthday. Only 364 days until the next one!

Have you ever brewed your own beer? What’s your favorite way to celebrate your birthday?


9 Comments on “Birthday brewing”

  1. Nicki says:

    We haven’t done beer just yet, but my fiance and I have made our own wine from berries we picked on our farm! It was sooo good. Not your typical ‘grape’ wine, but the berries made it extra sweet.
    We plan to do our own beer for our upcoming wedding in September (and probably 20+ trial sessions before then, ha!).

  2. Sounds like a wonderful birthday! Glad you guys got to enjoy the day together with good friends. šŸ™‚

    I love low key birthdays – good food, good company, and fun board games!

  3. Amanda says:

    What an awesome birthday! I’m not a big beer drinker, but the process of making it is really interesting and sounds like a ton of fun. Can’t wait to hear what you end up thinking of your beer in a few weeks!

  4. Wort chiller, copper-coil-thingy, it’s all good šŸ™‚ I can’t wait to hear how your beer turns out! I hope you guys start brewing more – honestly as long as you have a turkey pot, carboy, closet and a tupperware container, you’re set for homebrewing!

  5. Tiffany says:

    Yep–doggie cuddling, beer brewing and brownies–sounds like a perfect day. I’m happy you had a memorable birthday! I definitely think you all should wait to brew beer until you move to Colorado (soon? hope so!) I will be your tastetester!!

  6. lgsmash says:

    that is quite the set up! my fiance and i brew in our kitchen – i showed him this post and he’s jealous and wants his own brewing set up like that too šŸ™‚ you should definitely move (and brew in!) to coloraodo – EVERYONE here brews at home – it’s so cool!

    also, did you bawl during 50/50? i did. hard! but you’re right, it’s SO good.

  7. Lee says:

    I wrote this to you on facebook, but I sobbed during 50/50 for like the entire second half of the movie. It was really good though.

    Very cool birthday! I’ve never brewed my own beer. I’m actually not a big beer drinker. I only like wheat beers or lagers and even then, I don’t drink them often.

  8. Corrie Anne says:

    Glad you had such an awesome birthday! What a fun & unique experience!!

  9. […] 1. Do something fun for my birthday. Check. Holla! […]

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