Even the laziest among us (and I might be in the running for the title. Possibly.) can’t spend every day at the beach. There are blog posts to write, tropical shirts to name, employees to flog. It is all part of the daily entrepreneurial grind. Alas, some of this simply can’t be done from a lounge chair in Cozumel. I know, I’ve tried.
But only a crazy entrepreneur brings his hobby to work to fill those empty hours between the issuing of orders to others. And only a Mad Gringo would then spend more than half of his days in the office pursuing said hobby. Particularly when that hobby is brewing beer. And yet somehow yours truly has managed to swing this nearly divine state of nirvana.
As Mel Brooks stated, “It’s good to be the king!”
Knowing there might be a few curious souls in Gringoland, I’ve decided to provide an abbreviated tour of my brewery.
Below and left is a picture of my homemade brewing sculpture – made of wood, a material of construction at which true enthusiasts would scoff. The cooler at the top contains hot water that is drained through a bed of grain (in the middle cooler) to extract the sugars. This sugar water drains into the pot sitting on the burner stand where it is boiled for an hour or so (see picture on the right.) During this last step, the hops (the thing that makes beer bitter – and better) are added. I’m pretty proud of this monstrosity, which is of my own design and was completely constructed using my own two hands (applause, please).
After the grainy sugary liquid (called wort) is boiled, it is cooled to room temperature and transferred into a fermenter where yeast is added. At that point, the yeast does its job converting sugar to alcohol. At that point, it is almost ready to drink. A little filtering, a little carbonation – accomplished by forcing pressurized CO2 into the beer – and it is ready for a keg. Or possibly a wooden cask, which I use to add a little oakiness to some of the brews. In the picture below, you can see a few of the wooden casks, which are kept inside my brewhouse storage room.
Once finally in steel kegs, the finished beer is either tapped or stored in a fridge for drinking when the time is right. I tap the kegs when I judge the brew to be ready – sometimes at home, sometimes at Mad Evan’s house, and sometimes right here at the Mad Gringo tiki bar.
Sure, it takes a bit of time and a bit of muscle to make beer, but there’s nothing quite as satisfying as downing a cold one brewed from your own recipe.
Go Slow, my friends. (And, if you think of it, stay thirsty.)