Next Round’s On Me…

So for my birthday this year, my cousin of culinary cunning gave me the gift of beer…with a twist. She gave me a beer making kit. Tricksy little cousin, luring me into the scary world of kitchen stuff.

Actually, it was almost as if she’d read my geek-warped mind. See, all summer long, I’d been reading about Wil Wheaton’s adventures in beer-making and thinking that it sounded like something that I wouldn’t mind trying. However, my life being what it is, I was going in about 50 bajorillion (yeah, I did just write that…what’s it to you?) different directions, and none of them led me toward researching my own kit.

Enter my awesome cousin and her frightening mind-reading abilities (more frightening for her, I’m sure, since it was the detritus of my brain she was stuck sifting through). Not only was it my very own kit, but it was chocolate maple porter. Could that sound any tastier? My heart might bleed stout, but porters are a strong second in my list of preferred beers, and this particular flavor combination not only sounds perfect, it’s also recently received the Wheaton Seal of Awesome.

It took me a little while to gather the required utensils that I was missing (and a little bit longer to gather enough courage to finally just dive right in and hold on tight), but today was the day, denizens. Today was Beer Making Day at the lair.

And so we begin...

The instructions claimed that making your own beer was as simple as making oatmeal. Wil Wheaton swears it’s true, too, and I know I can trust him. Why? Because he was in Starfleet, and they never lie (well, you know, except when they’re pulling tricks in their shuttles and end up killing one of their team…then they might lie a little…but never about beer).

Beer Oatmeal: Part of a Balanced Binge Breakfast

Is it really that simple? Yes. Kind of. A very time-consuming, super-fragrant, slow cooking oatmeal that you can’t eat once you’re finished. But that, if you didn’t uck-fay it up-ay while making it, will taste awesome when you finally get to drink it.

A dark brew takes form...

Once you’re finished with all the stirring and boiling and simmering and thermometering and pouring and straining and cooling…well, then you reach the fermentering, which requires a funnel, a strainer, a jug, and a steady hand. I had most of those things…enough to get the dark brew into the jug, pitch the yeast, shake it all up and then rig the fermenter:

I'm only going to ask you se7en times, Detective...what's in the box?

This is my brew’s new home for the next two weeks while the yeast works its magic with my brew. See? I built it a little home and everything, to keep it cool and dark:

Built to code...

Once the two weeks are up, then comes the bottling, followed by two more weeks of cool, dark waiting before I can fridge up my beer and taste the spoils of my brewing victory. This also means that I have a month to come up with a name and maybe even design a label.

Stay tuned, denizens…soon There Will Be Beer.

Bacon Makes It All Better

I’m trying to “keep calm and carry on” as the Anglophile in me thinks is best. My frame of mind at the present is a whirling dervish of unpredictability, with valleys of torrential self-pity…which I hate. What I hate even more is that I seem to be at a total loss regarding how to verbalize any of this. Or write about it either. My focus as of late has once again been reduced to Twitter-level: short, random, and most often pointless.

[Loba Tangent: I speak hypothetically, of course. Loba does not tweet. Although I get the sneaking suspicion that one of my Internet PersonalitiesTM does. I’m just not sure which one…yet.]

Anyway, this is why the lair has been a relative ghost town as of late. Minus my holiday investigation with Santa Sidle, of course.

[Loba Tangent 2: Did you know that, apparently, all I needed to do to give my visitor numbers a nice bump was to mention Sara Sidle? Who knew? I wonder what mentioning Jorja Fox will do to my stats. Gina Toscano? Maggie Doyle? Seriously, I’m a closeted stats whore, so I’ll do whatever it takes to make my numbers soar. Heh. That rhymed.]

However, I wanted to bring you all something during this final countdown to the end of 2010…something more special than gold, frankincense, and myrrh combined. What could be better than that combination, you might ask? How about Wil Wheaton, the Golden Girls, and Dungeons & Dragons? Framed in bacon?

Yeah, it’s okay to be speechless right now. It’s also okay to be mesmerized. Go ahead, take your time and stare. I’ll wait.

It’s breathtaking, isn’t it? Even Wil Wheaton didn’t quite know what to call this masterpiece. His blog post on it was titled what is this i don’t even

I don’t even either, Wil. All I know is that when I start to feel sad, I open this image and the tsunami of awesome that crashes through my mind immediately sweeps the sad away. It’s a temporary palliative, true…but I’ll take temporary like this any day. With an extra side of bacon, please.