Ah, the New Year. It always brings such promise...
I'm in a sort of holding pattern at present, mostly because Springtime is still two months away. My growth-plots of winter barley (Maris Otter and Halcyon) are apparently happy idling away the winter months, luxuriating in the sunlight, not growing (yet) due to the cold (the high yesterday was 26 degrees F; it's not supposed to warm up much this week). The spring barley (Bere, Hana, and Conlon) are waiting for slightly warmer weather.
The hops, likewise, are dormant. My Cascade rhizome(s) is/are awaiting the spring thaw, so I can transplant them in the actual ground somewhere they can thrive. I'm busy plotting and planning for several other varieties, the better to (eventually) become a little more self-sufficient in my brewing. My current thinking is for Magnum, Sterling, and Willamette. They all supposedly do well in hot climates, which is what I have in the summer... Those, combined with my current Cascade, will cover my favorite brews, and then some. I may sub Tettnang for the Sterling, but I haven't decided yet; regardless, I will likely get several Magnum rhizomes, as I really like them for bittering.
No, I've got no way of measuring the Alpha %, but neither did our ancestors, and the beer came out just fine. My product will be a bit more seasonal than the commercial stuff, but that's a bit of what "artisanal" is about, right?
My "new" brewpub building (dubbed "The Undisclosed Location")--a barn on the new property--is in dire need of overhauling, but I'm waiting for the weather to get back to at least a balmy mid-40's to get started. The first projects are roof-patching, filling some holes in the walls, doing some other wall patching, cleaning out the interior, and putting up a pergola on the west side of the building (facing the field and valley). The pergola is going to be the "open roof" for what will be my Biergarten, and act as poles/trellis for the hops. Further plans include replacing the sliding "front" door, and re-building the "lean-to" structure on the "back." I've also got to arrange electrical, in some way shape or form--again, after the weather warms a little, I'll call the power company to see what we can arrange.
In the meantime, while I wait for the time to be right with all of the above, I'm busy translating my medieval German beer text (Heinrich Knaust's Funff Bucher). I'll probably post dribs and drabs of it here and/or on my website, as I get more of it translated. I'm hoping to eventually make it into a full-on Atlantian University class, in which case I may drop the notes and photos to the website for more universal access; I'll certainly keep folks updated as I work.
That's all the news for now; I hope to have a couple of photographs next time, the better to document the transformation from "extremely messed out barn" to "full-on brewpub." Cheers!