January 31, 2020

Leap Years Need Celebrating

Certainly, folks born on the 29th of February should get a chance to do four years worth of partying on their day--it only seems fair. After all, it's 76 chronological years before they're technically old enough to go out for a drink.

But what about the rest of us, with an extra day on our hands? Shouldn't we get a chance to cut a little loose, and enjoy the little jolt in the successive meridian transits of the sun? Celebrate? We'll use any excuse to party, but we do like to have that excuse lined up. 

With that in mind we looked for a good excuse to brew a beer and have some fun (and to pass on a great deal on a recipe, more on that below). First step was consulting histories regarding Leap Years and the 29th of February. Because history is universally pretty bleak, those efforts didn’t pan out. We got really excited when we heard about Pope Hilarius (born Feb 29th), but unfortunately, he just wasn’t that funny. Popes rarely are. 

Then we came upon Bachelor’s Day. It’s a Irish tradition that on Leap Day women are allowed to ask the fellows for a dance, and even propose marriage. It’s based on a deal cut between St. Patrick (snake guy) and St. Brigid (her with the poem about drinking a lake of beer with God) that was in place to put in a bit of balance to the patriarchy, much like Leap Year adjusts the calendar.

If you’re familiar with Sadie Hawkins Day, this is a bit more serious: not only can women go beyond asking for a date or a dance and straight to marriage, there are penalties for the chap refusing. He might have to buy her a new gown or even hand over cash, and some areas called for stiffer penalties for not being a good sport, such as gifting her 12 pairs of gloves to cover up the lack of an engagement ring.

It sounds silly to modern ears, but there were actual laws governing this in medieval times, which moves the whole tradition into the category of seriously sexist weirdness from the past. 

With a gimlet eye on the history of the custom, we still wanted to celebrate this Leap Year, but thought we’d give the patriarchy and medieval shenanigans a rest and concentrate on the things that might better compensate unrequited feelings: beer.

And what better beer than a Dry Irish Stout? This recipe is not only extremely simple, it’s one of those beers that just invites enjoyment: balanced for roasty smoothness, perfect bitterness, it’s deeply thirst-quenching and satisfying, but low in ABV, and yet robust enough to be a good winter's drink. Added bonus: if you make it now, you'll have it ready for St. Patrick's day on March 17th! 

We’d recommend bottling this one at a lower level of carbonation than standard beers—say, 2.2-2.3 volumes of CO2, but if you have a nitro setup, there’s nothing quite like this brew on draught.

 . . . And The Good New Is

That if you buy this recipe during the month of February you'll receive 10% off! 

Bachelor’s Day Brew: Dry Irish Stout

  

You can get the Beersmith brewing sheet from us when you come in for your recipe--but it's only for the month of February, so don't dawdle or you won't have any beer to offer extant inamorata who may already have their eyes on you!

 



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