At the beginning of this summer, the buzz among the Love Apple Farms staff and apprentices was that in July the farm would be hosting its first beer making class. Needless to say there was great anticipation leading up to this past Sunday, when most of us farmers assembled in the gardening classroom with 22 other students to learn how to brew at home.
We weren’t disappointed. Our teacher and expert home brewer Dave Bossie knew his beers inside and out, and his setup alone was impressive—a large keg he’d customized for brewing mounted on an enormous camping stove. He guided us through a brief history of beer making and microbrewing, then gave us a rundown of the basic equipment and ingredients (malted barley, hops, yeast, and water) needed to make our own ale and lager. Of course, we didn’t just learn the difference between these two primary beer styles—we tasted it as well.
While Dave set about brewing an ale in class—a demonstration that began with boiling six gallons of water in the converted keg—we sampled and discussed a variety of styles of beers. Dave and his wife both brew at their home in Ben Lomond, and the beers we tried included their delicious Smash IPA and smoked porter. As he boiled caramel malted barley and added three different types of hops, Dave told us about the many styles of beer he’s made over the years—and the close community of Santa Cruz home brewers who get together to share their latest creations. At the opening of class he’d warned us that beer making can easily turn into an all-consuming hobby, and by the end of the day, full of tasty homemade beer and breathing in the warm aroma of malted barley, we definitely believed him.
Thank you, Dave, for showing us how, and a big shout-out to Seven Bridges Cooperative. This Santa Cruz home brewing store is a real treasure for us locals!