Tag Archives: Beer

A Cautionary Tale

This story is dedicated to my loving and wonderful husband, Tim.

This morning I sat down on the couch to put on my shoes and knocked over both beer bottles sitting on the floor. Only one was empty. The scent of a New Belgium Brewing company (Loft or Blue Paddle, which one I do not know) wafted through the air as a decent-sized puddle formed on the floor. The clank and sound of glug-gluging liquid drew Simon into the living room, little paws bounding up to the edge of the puddle. Like any good parent, I cautioned the five month old away as he stuck his nose in it. A few paper towels took care of the mess, and afterwards Simon lay down in the spot where the beer had been.

The following is what could have happened next. (And probably did in some parallel universe.)

Simon and Karly go off to kitten school, where they meet their friends, and spend time running around, chasing tails and string. One of the other kittens, a worried but well meaning calico by the name of Kitty Miss Princess notices how Simon’s fur smells funny. Kitty Miss Princess knows that smell, and proceeds to tell their teacher, Mrs. Whitepaw all about it.

Mrs. Whitepaw takes Simon to see Mr. Graywhiskers, the principal. They all sit down and the adult cats take turns explaining the inherent dangers and evils of alcohol.

The same afternoon, after our adorable kittens return home, I’ve just got them settled down to dinner when the doorbell rings. To my shock, Mr. Graywhiskers, Mrs. Whitepaw and a strange cat are standing at my door. The principal introduces the stranger as Ms. Fuzzybottom.

Ms. Fuzzybottom carries a tiny wooden clipboard, and a monocle hangs from her collar. She’s one of those squashed nose breeds, so glasses are out of the question for this old cat.

The trio stalks into our home, and while Mr. Graywhiskers explains the reason for their visit, I notice Fuzzybottom is examining all the corners of the room, sniffing the furniture, the floor, the doorframe. She makes marks on the clipboard with her claw. To my shock, she comes up to me, tail swishing angrily, and informs me that she is from KFS: Kitten Family Services, and they are here to investigate a claim of parental neglect.

I frantically explain that we are renovating the house, and I’ve been sanding the mantle, so our coffee table is on the front porch, and how my husband has a bad habit of leaving his bottles and soda cans on the floor next the spot on the couch where he sits. I then drift into a tangent about how the porch is screened, and not street level, so people really can’t see the coffee table so it’s not as white trash as it sounds. I plead with the old, grumpy cat, by saying,

“Please, Mrs. Fuzzybottom, it was just an accident!”

Ms. Fuzzybottom,” she growls. “Consumption of beer by a five-month old kitten is no accident.”

“He didn’t consume it; he laid down in the same spot. The floor was probably still a little damp, so that’s why he smelled like beer.”

However much I pleaded and cried and begged, it was to no avail. Ms. Fuzzybottom had the principal take our tiny kitten away, and promised to come back for another home visit, fearing we would further negatively influence our nine-month old, Karly, and branded me as a ‘Bad Human Parent.’

See what happens? Do you see what happens, Tim? When you don’t take your cans and bottles to the kitchen and put them in the recycling bin, I knock them over and a grumpy, old, squishy-faced cat comes and takes away our kittens.


Siblings from another mother – Karly and Simon. Adorably in the way hogging the bathroom sink while I’m trying to get ready for work. 🙂


Bottling Day

Or as I like to call it – The Crab.

A week ago we bottled the hard cider. And, yes, I may have filled a wine bottle with cider, but when you brew stuff, any non-screw top bottle is a treasure. I have to say it turned out pretty good … and a little strong. We bottled, stuck a couple in the fridge and had them once they were cool. We used apple cider instead of apple juice. We thought about buying apples and juicing them ourselves, but it takes like a bushel of apples to make a gallon of cider, so we decided to do the easier (and cheaper) option of buying 4 gallons at Kroger.

This time around, our friend also brought something he picked up for about $2.50. A spigot. Previously, we used a hose to bottle, which works great – if you have three people. One to suck the end of the hose to get the liquid flowing into a bottle, one to hold the hose and pinch it off between filling bottles, and one to cap. When we bottled beer a couple of months ago, it was me and my husband. Beer everywhere!!!

Tim pouring out the first taste – I was the guinea pig.

The only thing we added at the end was wine conditioner. It’s an additive made of liquid invert sugars and potassium sorbate, and it sweetens and stabilizes the finished product. The potassium sorbate kills off the rest of the yeast, so you don’t to worry about renewed fermentation. We added 8 0z. It recommended at least 2 oz per gallon. At first we added 4 oz, but noticed no difference, and thought the 2 oz minimal requirement might be needed for killing off all the yeast, so we added the other half cup. The conditioner is corn-syrup thick, so after trying to find a spoon long enough to stir the first 4 oz, I got smarter the second time and added a half cup of cider to the rest, stirred until that was blended, which was like blending corn syrup with something, and poured that in.

The cider is slightly carbonated after fermenting in the carboy, so we did not feel the need to carbonate further. I prefer my hard cider with less carbonation anyway. Woodchuck comes to mind when I think of being too carbonated. Angry Orchard makes a great hard cider, and it seemed way less bubbly, which we liked.

All in all, I think we ended up with 44 bottles. And as a side-note, if you are a home brewer – don’t use Dos Equis bottles. We found the caps do not fit on those bottles tightly, or properly even. At least with the caps we buy at Liquor Barn in KY. Traditional Coca-Cola bottles are great to re-cap, besides whatever variety of beer bottles we reuse.

You can bottle happiness.

I’m going to try a bottle today. Our friend that brews with us says it’s gotten better after the first week, and has a nice bite to it. The rest we want to let sit for a while longer. It only gets better with age.




Edits and Beer

Second go around on editing Chapters 5 & 6 this week. Mom is up for the weekend, which is always fun, and today we actually sat down and got some writing done. Avoiding further editing and the place I am stuck at in Book 2, I worked on a little section that is TBD as far as placement. 🙂 Writing is writing, I guess, and at least it still relates to one of my main characters. Yesterday we hosted good friends, lots of food and games, and everyone had a great time. Today was bottling day for the batch of beer my husband and one of our friends cooked up three weeks ago. I got to cap 45 bottles, which was fun, if only because the capper looks like a cross between and crab and a transformer. I’m thinking at some point, I will have to venture into including the brewing business in my series. Pretty sure fantasy stories and alcohol go well together. Or maybe that’s writing and alcohol.

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