Session 108: Winter in SD

On Monday:

“It’s too cold here. We were promised 70 degrees year-round,” said my wife.

[Subtext: it’s been dropping into the 40s at night in our iffy 1920s-era studio, where a strong wind finds enough gap in the walls so that you can see the curtains responding to the drafts on the inside.]

“Well, it’s supposed to warm up this week.”

[Subtext: higher than 70.]

This morning I woke up and checked the forecast: highs rising to 77 by Monday. Finally! And then I realized it’s February 5th, and probably need to stop whining about the cold.

I mean, we’ll probably head to the beach tomorrow, or at the very least try to see some gray whales migrating off Point Loma, and then spend that birthday gift card my wife got me at Modern Times’ Point Loma Fermentorium. And winter though it still technically is, I’ll probably skip the Devil’s Teeth a friend has so very much raved about in favor of the Lomaland, because you know, it’s San Diego.

One year ago today, we drove through the remnants of a three-foot blizzard in southeastern Wisconsin and flew to Hong Kong.

This week was the one year anniversary of leaving Bolivia, but I had a great way to celebrate it. Ben Olsoe, partner in brewing for most of 2012-2013 in Santa Cruz, was in town from Seattle. The only beer I brought back from Bolivia was 750 mL of the passionfruit lambic-style beer that I had brewed in early 2014 (made with a blend of three turbid flaked wheat and pilsner mashes, fermented each with its own culture, and aged for six months on a couple varieties of passionfruit). Wonderfully–shall we say, artisan?–in presentation, it was a Chimay bottle capped with a regular wine cork, held in place with a reused-bottlecap and secondhand wire hood.

But really meaningful part was the full-circle aspect of it: we met up with Jeff Crane (now of Council Brewing Co.), who went out on a limb and sent us the initial set of three brett and lacto cultures back in 2012. This beer was brewed with those cultures, so we got to close the circle with the man who sent us the key component to begin with.

Two years on, it’s flat with an aromatic explosion of guava, over-ripe tropical fruit in the nose. Quite tart, and there’s definitely an acetic note that clears the throat on its way down. Not quite the best pairing for a chilly 50 degree night on the Karl Strauss patio at a homebrew club meeting, but a nice California winter memory to savor for a long time.

IMG_0691 A few days later I re-bottled the last bits to see how it turns out (“oxidized! sherry-like!” I’m sure you’ll all yell), pitched the dregs for a starter, and had the last cloudy sips to myself, paired with…quantitative methods homework. Mmmm graduate school drinking.


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