Approximately five weeks after conception of our first batch of home brew it was time for the first "release party". Now this can be a tricky thing because on the one hand you want it to be a big event with lots of people having a great time; but on the other hand much of that fun is dependent on your FIRST batch of home brew to A) not get anyone sick, and B) taste good enough for people to want to drink it. Much like the first three days of fermentation, there was plenty of pressure surrounding the event!
We had a decent turnout with about a dozen guests - some even brought "back-up", just in case the home brew wasn't up to par. These gestures of "support" weren't necessary, however, as we went through at least 20 bottles x 750mL = 15 liters.
The brew crew: Jonny, Vlada and myself. We just try to follow the instructions, so you could say we're still brewing with training wheels.
Marisa: "Oh wow, it actually tastes like beer - and it's drinkable!" With a faithful supporter like that, the possibilities are endless.
The release party was also an excellent opportunity to partake in some Mong Kok street food. This time I went with roasted pork (siu yook) and it was a hit. We went through about 5 pounds of that stuff and it was delicious. It's got a crispy skin that gives it a nice salty taste and it definitely wasn't dry.
The guests of honor. Our first batch went in these 750 mL bottles and with the reusable flip top, we hope to store many a future batches of home brew in them.
All in all it was a rewarding experience to make something that other people were able to enjoy. I suppose you could say that about a batch of cookies too, but they don't take five weeks to make and people usually don't have get-togethers centered around them. Now I'm not claiming that it was an amazing beer that people would pay money for, but it was the first step in what I hope will turn out to be a long-term hobby. The process is definitely fun and there are a lot of recipes out there to try. My brewing partner and I have been talking about our summer plans to gather ingredients in our respective home countries and figuring out a brewing line-up for the Fall. You can do that when each batch takes a month to make. At any rate, you can expect to see more posts in the future about new recipes that we try.
We already have a Cooper's European Lager (w/extra hops) in bottles that must condition for another 10 weeks and we're bottling an IPA that will be ready by the end of May. Stay tuned...