Monday, April 18, 2016

News of Ancient Fire

Honey bees around the mash tun on a recent brewday. Very Ancient Fire!

For my some of my long time blog readers the name Ancient Fire is known as my "brand" of homemade fermentations. Using that name I've written lots of blog posts and traveled myriad roads learning about food, beverage and culture. Along the way I've always met a lot of great people, many I still know, and some I hope to reconnect with real soon. Good times!

Ancient Fire (story about the name) is stronger today than ever before, but just not nearly as public. 

That's going to change.

Not long before I stopped my blog writing (in 2013) I reflected on the goals I had for myself early on.
I had been searching for the thing that made sense for me. Luckily, I had found it. Sensory training and competition judging. After a couple years of volunteering at local competitions I decided to really dig in and make something of that instead of writing. That was a solid choice. 

WineMaker Magazine Competition, 2016

In the time away I've gotten BJCP Certified as both a Beer and Mead judge. I've logged many hours of competition judging, judge coordination, judge training, individual and panel sensory training, hosting workshops, attending faults training sessions, reading (lots!) and many, many, many hours fermenting beers, meads, wines and ciders from a ridiculous list of ingredients that hasn't stopped growing steadily since 2005! 

I continue to make a lot of different beverages, as well as participate in industry-wide activities promoting beverage production by both amateurs/enthusiasts and professionals. I judge in a lot of competitions, and I am learning, developing my palate; and getting better at it every time I get the chance. It is amazingly rewarding as a brewer and judge to help others get recognized for the great stuff they make, as well as help them learn to judge to grow the community supporting the local homebrew scene. 

I've also won a few awards for my creations going back over a decade now. I recently won medals numbered #98 and #99, both for Cysers (apple mead). I won the first at a brew club internal competition for a Mesquite Cyser. The most recent was a Second Place for a Buckwheat Cyser at the International Mazer Cup, the most difficult mead-only competition in the world. I still compete here and there, but I tend to not judge in competitions in which I enter anymore. I stress out too much. 

One other recognition from a couple years back is that I have always been more comfortable "doing" in settings of my own choosing, so the events I've decided to get involved in did, and continue to give me the paths and connections I want to follow and make good from. That's just how I am. I channel my time into activities selected in that comfort zone, and really, through them I better understand the "localness"of different endeavors we might choose to take on. The real lesson is that most of what we find great, be it in wine, food or anything else is all about the relationships of the people who do it. I feel that in search of greatness we have to find people and places that resonate with us to help create passion. The company I keep is definitely not settled based on all the crazy ideas I've been kicking around, and that really will be a big part of the next adventure. 

Let's get to business. Here is what I expect I'll be sharing here:
  • Educational development for process and sensory training
  • Hosted training events
  • Helping new producers and products get launched 
  • Collaborations with commercial producers
  • Trip reports
  • Presentations and resources
  • Personal training goals and milestones
  • "How To" content and discussions (active in FB groups for this)
  • Production plans and updates (as our own shop takes shape, more later)

Yes, you did just read that I firmly said I am going to open some type of beverage business. There isn't more to say now, but I will when there is. There is plenty to do. You won't miss me talking about. ;)

I'm signing off as I always did,