A natural segway from gardening. Early on we discovered our mutual appreciation for beer… good beer. And I could tell R. was smitten by my taste buds. Our first date by his choice was the W. Village gastro pub, the Spotted Pig, and I could differentiate an IPA from an ale, a stout, an imperial stout, and a hefeweissen. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what a cask ale was and showing off I ordered a warm, flat beer.
In the early months of dating, one of our favorite games was to drink at pubs with hundreds of beers. Cupping my ears with my hands and keeping my eyes closed, R. would order my drink and we’d switch. At first other customers would think we were fighting but would soon catch on we were playing a guessing game.
So after toying with beer for a few months R.’s natural desire was to pursue hobby #2 to brew his own. At first he grandly suggested opening a microbrewery but I took it down a notch suggesting a smaller batch of home brew instead. In Chinatown, we bought a behemoth 15 gallon pot and made our way through Little Italy. Then R. ordered his brew kit and came the yeast, food grade buckets, and glass carboys.
The day long activities of brewing beer were rigorous, always messy, and stress-filled running from stove to ice-filled bathtub from hot to cold later followed by the slow filling of 60 bottles. The batches were delicious pale ales, stouts, and 2 more which I can’t recall but they had the unfortunate after effect of distending our stomachs with gas. This hobby had a shorter life span of 8 months, because we soon realized the pudge on our once slim waistlines unfortunately coincided with beer brewing. (See early label sketches) for "whale creek brew" named after a small canal in Brooklyn.