I had been following Island to Island Brewing, as well as their owner Danii on instagram for a while. I found her when looking up women in the beer industry.
I noticed she posted a lot about a naturalist lifestyle, like home births and home remedies. I introduced her, via Instagram, to my good friend Jessica ( Wells,Texas | Population 5 ) because they had similar interests and Danii had just moved to the area. They ended up hitting it off and joining Wild + Free, a homeschool/unschool group that teaches through living and nature.
A few months ago Danii messaged me asking if I’d want to do a homebrew to celebrate International Women’s Day. She said she’d invited Jessica as well, it would be her very first time to brew. I, of course, said yes! I was so excited to get the chance to learn from someone who owned their own brewery, and get to spend the day with two awesome women and their little ones.
We threw around recipe ideas and settled on trying a Brut IPA with a fruity flavor, perfect for spring and summer. Danii wanted to include Jessica and me in the recipe. So we included honey, since Jayson and me do a lot of mead, and herbs from Jessica because she is learning to be an herbalist.
To the Brew Store
The week before the brew the three of us, plus Danii’s littles, went to Stubby’s Texas Brewing Inc to do a little shopping.
I’d never been to Stubby’s, but Danii described it as “a candy store for brewers”. We were allowed to go into the back, since Danii is a pro brewer, to taste some of the grains. The gentleman who showed us around was so excited to teach talk to us about the different grains they had.
After we chose our base we ventured out into the main part of the store, Jessica was amazed to see all of the different herbs and spices that could be used in brewing. We each chose a hop. One that would go in at the end of the boil and then different ones we use to dry hop later
March 8th. Brew Day.
I was super excited to get to do an all grain brew.
Danii has a Robobrew, which a much more compact set up than I was expecting!
About our beer.
Force of Nature ♀️
A braggot, gruit, brut IPA.
Mash. Pilsner. CaraHell Malt. Honey Malt.
What’s brew day with out beer.
Trying a little NYC beer from Danii’s brewery Island to Island
We sparged the grains and headed on to boil.
We added Clover Honey
And Red Raspberry Leaf & Sorrel (Hibiscus) for the bittering
While it boiled, Danii’s husband made us a delicious traditional Trinidad lunch.
Salt fish and cabbage with fried plantains.
We had some mini brew masters on board as well.
Jessica’s youngest, Rosamund and Danii’s daughter Ivy and baby boy Oliver.
We added Hallertau & Galena hops at the very end of the boil.
Cool & Transfer.
This was a rare wort (to my limited knowledge) and it made me very interested in gruits.
It didn’t have the usually sugar water taste.
This tasted like a nice warm tea. And that color is just incredible.
Fermentation and Finished Product.
When we were at Texas Brewing Inc, Danii had us each pick a different hop for dry hopping.
I’m not a big hop fan, and I’ve never done dry hopping before so I grabbed what looked best with our flavors. Simcoe.
For my single gallon, I am pretty sure I overhopped, because when I tasted it at transfer time it was ridiculously bitter. I was so disappointed. I back sweetened it with some local honey I had in the fridge and let it sit. When I kegged it I let it sit about 2 more weeks.
I was pleasantly surprised when I bottled it that it actually tasted pretty damn good! The bitter had calmed way down. Though if I was to replicate this beer on my own, I would still use much less, if any, dry hops.
I took it to a Homebrew Meet Up at BrewHound and to my friend’s game night and it was well received at both! It was decided that the beer could not be all of those styles, and since it was a “Woman’s Brew” one of the ladies dubbed it an “Undecided” lol
I was going to wait to finish this post until the three of us got together for an official taste test of all 3 versions of the beer but our schedules don’t seem to match up…and I only have one 32oz growler left. If we do I will just have to do an update!
Until next time.