The Test Batch

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Today I am bottling what I am now referring to as my “test brew” for my new brewery.  It has been about a year since I last brewed, so I needed to break myself back in.  This will be the first brew in my new brewery and the last brew of my twenties. 

Considering I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing, I took an old recipe I had used to on brewersfriend.com and played around with it a bit before I bought my ingredients.  I had used the somewhat same recipe to make a Grapefruit Amber Ale and a Grapefruit IPA.   I didn’t really realize it until I saw the dark wart, but it looks like this will be a porter.  Since I intend to carbonate with honey and grapefruit syrup, this will be a Honey Grapefruit Porter sitting at about 7%.  I’m not sure if that sounds good, but it was nice just to get a brew under my belt.

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I had to move to the beer indoors to carbonate since it has been hovering around zero degrees outside over the past week. 

March 17th, 2019 will be my 30th birthday.  It will also be the first day of my 100 Brew Challenge.  My primary goal with this challenge is to make baby steps.  Since it will be Winter still, my first goal is to work on temperature control.  I have already done some investigating on fermentation heaters.   My second goal is to try a new style of beer that I have never made before.  I am thinking a milk stout.

Until next time,
Richard

 

Karaoke Night; or How a PC event turned into a great memory for three young girls

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When I heard there was going to be a Karaoke Night during our In-Service Training, I didn’t think much of it.  I need to stop thinking that way.  I am always wrong.  When Peace Corps Volunteers organize something, they make sure it happens in the best possible way.  The same goes for the 3-hour karaoke session we held last night.  What’s better, the second round of Assassin was being played simultaneously.

Pack nearly 100 volunteers in a hot room with no schedule, and they’ll make the best of it.  Add some music, and it’s a party.  Add in the fact that everyone was watching their back nervously, and you have an experience.  From country music to several Adele songs to an original song to Queen, I was astounded by how many fantastic voices we have in The Staj of Love.  I ended up taking short videos of each of the performances.  If I am able to get permission, I hope to post some of these online in the days to come.  Especially the “Carte de Sejour” original song—which details how difficult it is to stay legal in this country.

One of the best moments of the night did not involve the volunteers.  The room where the evening took place has several windows that overlook the pool.  After only a few songs, two preteen girls were at one of the windows, watching us.  We are all in Youth Development.  So, of course, we told them to come join us.  They ended up singing a One Direction song.  A little later, their 5-year old sister joined them to sing Gangham Style.  When they finished, we gave them a standing ovation and one of the volunteers put the 5-year old on her shoulders.  If nothing else, I hope we gave those three young girls a moment they will never forget.

I joined four other volunteers towards the end of the evening in a rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.  I don’t know if we were any good, but I do know that we sang with passion.  We waved our spoons (the Assassin murder weapons) as we sang “mama….just killed a man.”  In the end, everyone in the room was singing together.  It was beautiful.  When the ITunes account jumped to “Another One Bites The Dust,” we just ran with it.  The Karaoke Night evolved into a 5-minute dance party.  Ironically, as this song was playing, at least one assassination did successfully take place.

As our training winds down, I’m starting to realize just how lucky I am to be here.  Here in the Peace Corps.  Here in Morocco.  Here at a resort.  Here in Marrakesh.  Here with The Staj of Love.  I know the next 650 days will have plenty of ups and downs.  But I think I’ll always feel lucky.  It’s cliché, of course, but I am in awe of what I have been given here.  I just hope I can make the best of it.