I opened a 50lbs bag of two row pale malt but discovered that every grain in the bag had been consumed by iridescent beetles. “Welp, at least that explains the writhing,” I thought as I fired up the drill and started grinding bugs through the mill. Juicy little buggers; quite a spray. I wondered if these beetles have enough enzymes too convert all the starches as the strike water steamed up with a nutty aroma. Nailed my mash temp; beetle exoskeletons do a decent job setting an insect bed. First runnings were a respectable 1.090. Good work little bugs, good work. Magnum for bittering then citra at five minutes and a bit more after flame out to steep during whirlpool. OG was 1.072. Pitched brettanomyces at 21degrees. The wort had shimmering opalescence and smelled like tri-fold records from the 70s.
Most books about beer start out by making clear the historical significance of our beverage of choice. It has been argued that the allure of partying and getting wasted was no match for early humans’ hunting and gathering lifestyle. Soon civilizations that were happy snacking on nuts, berries and the occasional mega fauna were enslaved to their fields of special grass knowing that if prepared properly, those grains could get them totally wrecked. It was better than having to try and organize a party around the occasional stumbled upon puddle of rancid fruit anyways.
We all know the ancient Sumerians loved to party and get wasted. They even kept track of their epic sessions on clay tablets, much like how we in modern times duct tape together empty cans of Lucky Lager to form impressive wizard staffs by which to display our drinking achievement. There are also early depictions of gravity fed instruments that could seemingly quickly deliver liquid to the imbiber. This ancient technique was rediscovered by anthropologists and became a favoured method in places of higher learning everywhere showing we still have lots to learn from our brewing forebears.
I didn’t start brewing beer so that I could hydrate armies of slaves to build enormous pointed, alien attracting monuments in my honor. Nor am I really all that interested in how beer has shaped our culture. I’m even too old and responsible(ish) to care about rock and rolling all night and partying every day. I really just want an excuse to futz around with microbes and fire and large shiny metal objects. If there is a tasty beer at the end of (and also during) that, so much the better.