This past Friday Maeve and I had the opportunity to help brew our wedding beer with the guys over at Haymarket Pub & Brewery. For about six months Maeve and I have been talking on and off with Pete Crowley, the Brewmaster at Haymarket about the idea for the wedding beer and how we could make it happen. Over the past few years we’ve become friends with Pete, he’s a very talented brewer and is one of the most active and well respected brewers in Chicago; it was an honor that he was willing to do this for us. Maeve is a big fan of Haymarket’s Mathias but since its a 10 % ABV beer we knew something like that might knock our guests out early. We wanted a session ale, something around 5 % ABV that most of our beer loving guests could drink all night long. We also wanted it to be a Red Ale that had a heavy dose of hops. We also requested that one of those hops be Amarillo. Since neither Maeve nor I are brewers, we let Pete handle how it was going to happen.
We started brewing around 8:00 AM with Steve and David. Quickly we learned that the life of a brewer can basically be summed up as, “hurry up and wait”.
You have to do one thing at a certain time and then nothing for another hour or so. It was a fun day, we dumped the grain into the mash tun, shoveled out all the spent grain, cleaned out the mash tun and added the hops into the boil. We added 4 pounds of Amarillo and 4 pounds of Citra. Then this coming Friday we’re going to go back to Haymarket and we’ll dry hop the beer with more Amarillo and Citra hops. The initial gravity of our beer was 11.3 plato and Steve said we should hit that 5 % ABV without an issue.
It’s awesome when you have friends who are willing to help bring something that means a lot to you to life. We look forward to tasting the beer and have all our friends and family enjoy it at the wedding. Thank you to everyone over at Haymarket for showing us the ropes and helping to make our wedding day even more special.