Years ago it was the fashion to make beers and wines at home. Ah yes, I remember it well.
Aaarrgh! Yes! I too inflicted the undrinkable on unsuspecting visitors and friends. And I too, had my palette so jaded by the experience that I began to actually believe that the stuff I was making was alright. Oh, for the days of long ago and far away.....
We were blessed with a cellar in our first home which was ideal for conditioning beers. And the kind of wines that made the French laugh at us - like rhubarb or runner bean.
That era of our lives ended when we moved home. The demands of a growing family, the pressures of work and a home less suited to brewing conspired. We put away our fermentation vessels and demi-johns.
Interest in craft brewing is growing again. American Craft Brewing has drawn our attention to the wider range of hops and other flavourings that can give beer a distinctive and modern character. The Brew Dog chain has demonstrated that there is demand. And Matt & Zoe are keen to be partners in crime in a new home-brewing adventure.
It was always an aspiration to return to the bubbling and frothing that constitutes home brewing and the process has been reborn at Cordwood. So, I'm sorry to report that those days are back folks. Beware, all who pass this way.
First, two gallons of cider are boiling their fermentation locks off. And now, 40 pints of Woodfoodes Wherry beer kit (on special offer at Wilko's) have joined the chorus and are glug glug glugging away too.
Although we have a collective folk memory that was seared by the home brew boom of the late seventies and early eighties, some hardy home brewers stuck at it, in kitchens, sheds and garages. And some of these stoic folk (bearded men in ill-judged knitwear?) went on to create the plethora of micro-brewers that have saved beer drinkers from the multinationals.
The cider might just be ready for Christmas.
But 40 pints of beer?? It will be ready for the beginning of November. I hope you are.