Father’s Day

How do you celebrate Father’s Day with the man counting down the weeks of not being a dad yet? Certainly the things we did to celebrate my own father (countless envelopes of guitar strings and CDs that he never listened to until years later) are great for him, but not quite right for dad-to-be Mr. Pie.

You may recall, if you were reading last year, or if you have ever tried to make plans with us in the summer, we get super busy once the days get longer. Last year a friend described us a “the busiest people [we] know,” which hardly seems like it can be true, but there you go. This year is a little different, but cut from a similar cloth. Not so many motorcycle rides to the beach (TRAGICALLY!), way more awesome house guests (BEST. EVER.) and scrambling to get our house and life ready for the kid-on-the-way. The downside to all the happy busy work, though, is that there are precious few quiet weekend days left for us to enjoy one another’s company without an agenda.

So, Father’s Day rolled around, and it became clear what we needed to do: pretty much as little as possible. I put down my 800 lists (things to do, to clean, to buy, to organize), and left the day’s direction up to my calmer half, and he chose a fantastically awesome task for us to undertake: Beer.

One of my favorite things about our Canadian adventure is that Carlos is becoming a diligent brewer, and proficient. I don’t think we’ve been without at least one batch of beer in process since March, and there’s no sign of that letting up. I haven’t really gotten to enjoy the fruits of his labors, but we’re in spitting distance of the time when that’s about to change. So, after a quick consultation about what kind of beer I want to drink while breastfeeding, he rode off to the homebrew store and came home with supplies to make me an oatmeal stout. An all-grain oatmeal stout.

Ten pounds of grain! No malt extract! Holy crap, people, it was the scariest haul I’d ever seen from the brewing store. (I thought I took a picture of the two gigantic bags, but apparently I did not. Sad face.) We have a pretty solid intermediate home brewing set up, and the thought of how we were going to turn all those grains into beer was a still a little daunting. I was a little afraid it couldn’t be done, but we persevered, and despite the barely-big-enough mash-tun, and the steamer-over-a bucket lauter-tun being somewhat inefficient, we turned out just over 5 gallons of the darkest beer I have ever made. And we only dirtied about half the pans in the house!

Pay no attention to the lumpy pregnant person! Admire our amazing system!

I want to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how little time it actually took to go from “terrifyingly giant pile of grains on the table” to “ridiculously high gravity wort,” but the truth is that it was about 6 hours. But at the end of those six hours, I have one dirty pot in the kitchen, and (fingers crossed) no lurking spilled wort to bring ants into the kitchen. And in the midst of all that, we snuck in a dinner of Carlos’s favorite foods (one of which deserves its own post):

Peaches (with tomatoes and mint and olive oil), watermelon, and steak (cooked in the oven with leftover fat from last weekend’s pho broth). Words don’t do it justice, and neither does the exhausted late-night photo. Sorry.

Of all the ways we could have marked our last not-yet-a-Father’s Day, I think this was a win. I smell a tradition in the making. It smells like beer and pho, and that sounds just about right for us.

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