It's off season for us endurance athletes - time to have a little down time and work on our fitness bases during the cold season. It's also primo time to load up on my favorite recovery drinks. No, not the ones with all the electrolytes, vitamins, and specific protein-to-carb ratios. I'm talking about the drink at the end of the training day that relaxes your involuntary spasms, quenches the fires of your chafings down there, and somehow makes you think you actually enjoyed that century with a 5 mile brick.
For those who are home brewing naive, it's quite a process. Simple, but lots of steps over five weeks. First, you cook it - malt, hops, water. Then you add a little yeast to the five-gallon bucket and let them work their magic, fermenting the sugars into alcohol over the first week. Next, you bottle your beer, making sure that the bottles, buckets, tubing, etc. are sanitized, as in cleaned in bleach water. A little priming sugar is added before bottling for the yeast to make carbonation, and the bottles are capped. Now the bottled beer sits at room temperature for the second week, then is refrigerated for 3 LLLLLOOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGG weeks before it can be consumed. Three weeks almost kills me every time.
There are so many cool things about brewing your own beer that I really can't list them all. But some of my favorites are that you can brew your own special occasion beer. This year I brewed a Holiday brown ale with light cr
anberry flavoring that was good, but really rocked with a wedge of orange. My wife Lisa and I started the Snake Bite Triathlon in our hometown a few years ago - hence Snake Bite Brew. My Evotri team mates and I are doing the Life Time Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis this year in July - I'm thinking maybe a Life Time summer wheat brew may be in order.
Which brings me to my next favorite thing about home brewing - sharing it with your buds. We all know that triathlon is really about the journey, and the comraderie you share drinking a few of your creations with your training friends after a hard workout makes the journey that much sweeter. A few brews also makes your friends funnier. And you a better singer and dancer - you should try it.
So check out home brewing during this off season. While you're planning this year's race schedule, start planning your brew schedule and loading your fridge with your favorite flavors.