Pumpkins and comics and beer, oh my!

It’s been an exciting week and a half here in Delaware. Last weekend (the 9th) I had the supreme pleasure of brewing ten gallons of one of my favorite recipes, Vlad the Impairer. This past weekend (the 15th) I had the also supreme pleasure of going down to Bethesda, MD to the Small Press Expo to see my good friend Amanda and spend far too much money on some excellent indie comics.

First: BEER!

The pumpkin beer for this year is looking quite spectacular. The actual brewing went with nary a hitch, save for a single boil-over. I was very lucky to have the help of some very good friends of mine, which always makes the brewing easier. It also makes the drinking easier, seeing as there’s people to share the booze with! We were able to get ten gallons of Vlad brewed up and into carboys before midnight, and I pitched the yeast the next morning. I’m expecting this beer to be about on par with last year, right around 10% ABV and deliciously sweet.

Right now it’s in primary fermentation. I’m going to be letting it sit until the first weekend of October, then racking it to secondary and adding the spices (no mace this year!), maple syrup, and brown sugar. Then it’ll sit in secondary for another 2-3 weeks before I blend the two batches together (to make them taste identical) and put them in kegs. Then it’s a week in the kegs under pressure to carbonate before putting them in the cold box under my bar. Then, the night of our Halloween party, we serve them.

Excitement doesn’t even BEGIN to describe how I’m feeling about this right now. 😀

Second: COMICS!

This past weekend was Small Press Expo. This is an independent publishing and comics convention that happens the second weekend of September in Bethesday, MD. My good friend Amanda comes down from Maine every year to promote her comic and take comissions for artwork (she’s wicked awesome at drawing D&D characters. Just sayin’). I also was pretty psyched to see a few more of my favorite comics authors there: Jon Rosenberg of Goats/Scenes From a Multiverse, Aaron Diaz of Dresden Codak, and Jaime Noguchi of Yellow Peril.

I also noticed as I was wandering past the Topatoco booth that Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content was there signing books. Now, I’ll be perfectly honest, I’d never read any of QC before. I have a bunch of friends who do, and my girlfriend has been attempting to get me to read it for longer than we’ve been dating (long story, don’t ask). Seeing that he was there, I figured it’d be a good idea to get her a signed copy of the first book.

So I did.

But that’s not the interesting part. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Jeph was a cool dude and was perfectly happy to sign the book and put a drawing of Pintsize (a tiny, misanthropic, and psychotic robot character from the comic) on the title page for my girlfriend. That was awesome of him, and Katie’s squee when I showed her the book later that night was probably audible from space. The interesting part was the next evening while we were hanging out. Katie was doing her schoolwork and I was just chilling out with her when I decided to start reading the book myself. See, I’m the sort of person where if I have a book in my hands and some spare time I find it ridiculously hard to not read it. It doesn’t matter what the book is, I’ll read most things.

I finished the book in two hours. 300 comics. I then proceeded to read the next 1900+ comics in the archives on line in 3 days. I actually just finished it today. I may or may not have been up until 3AM last night reading Questionable Content, and may or may not have been reading it at work when I should have been getting some technical documentation done (if my boss is reading this, or anyone else from where I work, don’t worry. I got all of my deliverables for today completed, so ha!).

This comic is fucking amazing. I could not stop laughing the entire time I was reading it. Even the emotionally heavy parts (and trust me, there are a LOT of those. Jeph is really good at writing the drama) only stopped me from laughing for a brief few minutes. I actually cared about the characters. There are no one-dimensional characters and they’re all very believable. I’m not going to spoil any of the story here. I suggest you all go and start reading it from the beginning. It’s awesome, and well-worth the time.

Anyway, I’ve blathered enough about comics and beer. It’s getting late here on the East Coast, and I was up waaaay too late last night. I’m going to go get some sleep. See you all on the flip side, and, as always, happy brewing!



About Josh

I'm an engineer, brewer, vintner, gamer, hiker, biker, and many other "-ers" besides. I grew up in Connecticut, but now live and work in Delaware. This is where I put various ramblings and musings, as well as tasty recipes for beer. Yes, beer. I brew my own beer, wine, cider, mead, and other fun fermented beverages. It's fun, easy, inexpensive, and I love it. It's something I'd love to do professionally, but that's a plan for a future day. For now I work as a chemical engineer with a bunch of great people that I'm never going to talk about here. Have a great day, and good brewing to all!
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