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C'mon in and set a spell ... let me pour you a beer. I'll have one with you ... ahhh!
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No "Larrys", just "Darils" in this pursuit ... all equal brothers in brewing.
I'm Bill Mendyka (a.k.a. "Daril-Bill"), the instigator in the formation of this neighborhood brew group. I'd brewed two batches of beer back in 1980 from extract kits I bought at a Boots drugstore before leaving the U.K. I'd been stationed there with the USAF for the previous three and a half years, and had really developed a taste for good English Ales. Of course I wanted to give homebrewing a try when I got back to the States in hopes that I could make something even remotely like the flavorful beers I'd enjoyed all over England, Scotland & Wales (not to mention Germany & Austria during previous side-trips to Oktoberfest & such ... but that's another story ... I digress.)
Homebrewing had only become "legal" somewhere around 1979, so there weren't many supply houses around, nor many brewing books available in New Jersey. I just trusted the instructions on the cans of liquid malt extract, and hoped for the best. The resulting brews were unremarkable at best (OK ... bad), but I drank 'em anyway. Still, the interest was there, but the opportunities for further experimentation didn't arise. I got busy with family life in general and just didn't get a chance to pursue it again until a job move brought me to North Carolina.
Our new neighborhood was (and still is) populated with lots of friendly folks. We often had (and still have) neighborhood get-togethers, many of which formed out in the cul-de-sac in front of my house (nice flat location - so the beer won't tip over). Discussions often turned towards beer, and we concluded more than once that, "we ought to brew our own". General agreement ensued, but nothing much happened.
The Raleigh, Durham & Chapel Hill area (a.k.a., the "Triangle") hosts at least two major beer festivals each year. One is the World Beer Festival, sponsored by All About Beer Magazine; and the other is the Southeastern Microbrewer's Invitational, sponsored by the Southeastern Microbrewers' Association. At the 2nd Annual SEMB Invitational (1995), which took place at the Durham Omni Hotel, several of us from the 'hood piled in the mini-van (graciously driven to & from by my wife) and went to the evening "beer-tasting" session. Needless to say, a grand time was had by all, and we concluded once again with the "ought to brew" sentiment. It was at that point that the "Daril Brothers" came into being ... an inside joke between us derived of course, from the backwoods brothers with identical names on the old Bob Newhart Show. From that point onward, we've addressed each other as "Daril". (There are lots of ways to spell the name, but that's the way one brother chose to spell it for our logo ... so be it. It goes better with "Daril-Licked" anyway ...
Still though, we didn't actually get around to brewing our first batch until February '97! We finally decided to just go for it. We shared the expense of all the necessary start-up equipment and the ingredients for batch #1; participated in a brew-in sponsored by an experienced brew-friend of ours (see the "Notes" section below); and we've been brewing as much as possible since then.
So there we were ... "Daril-Bill" (me), "Daril-Bob" (Bob Tremalgia), "Daril-Dick" (Dick Mentock), and "Daril-Randy" (Randy Ellis) - the Daril Brothers. As of December '97, using the basic equipment we started with, we produced (and/or participated in the production of) 14 five-gallon batches of various brews - ALL of which were incredibly better than my first two attempts back in 1980 - no comparison.
Until about February '98, we made "extract & specialty grain" brews only. Then, the "all-grain brewing" bug bit ... hard. We invested in two 15.5 gallon stainless-steel converted kegs for mashing & boiling over a "Cajun-cooker" style propane burner. Eventually, we got another propane burner; then a 64-quart Coleman cooler to use as a mash tun; and we created a myriad of brewing gadgets to complement our brewing rig. We've been brewing regularly ever since, and are always looking for better gadgets and improvements to our process.
In mid-summer 1999, we welcomed a new "Daril" into our brotherhood ... "Daril-Brian" (Brian Benfield). Daril-Brian was duly initiated by almost single-handedly brewing an all-grain batch of Kolsch under my direction. I was physically unable to do more than direct his efforts at the time because of an injury I sustained in April '99 while erecting hop trellises in Daril-Bob's back yard . I fell off a ladder and broke my heel bone, requiring re-constructive surgery. At any rate ... having finally recuperated enough to get back to brewing again, but unable to do so without assistance, Daril-Brian demonstrated all the necessary interest, attitude, and good humor required for Daril Brothers membership. We were now a brotherhood of five.
A sixth Daril joined our merry band of neighborhood brewers in early June 2000 -"Daril-Mike" (Michael Burnette). Daril-Mike had been a long-time fan of the Darils' brew and finally caught the brewing bug himself. For his inaugural batch, he chose to make a Belgian-style Witbier - his wife's favorite. With Daril-Bill's guidance, Daril-Mike accomplished his task, demonstrating all the best qualities expected of a Daril. We became a "Six-Pack".
Lucky Daril number seven entered our brotherhood in early July 2000 -"Daril-John" (John Andrus). Daril-John "married-into" the neighborhood barely a year before. He'd already had some previous extract-brewing experience, and an Oatmeal Stout was the choice for his inaugural brew ... and a good one it was! This was his first all-grain attempt, and things went off without a hitch. Having performed admirably and demonstrated all the best attributes of a true "Daril", we welcomed him as our newest Daril Brother. A "Magnificent Seven"!!!
On September 14th, 2002 - "Daril-Rich" (Rich Vena) officially became our eighth "Daril". Daril-Rich has been a long-time supporter and participant in our Beer-Quest, and has really been a Daril at heart all along ... in all but name. Therefore, official recognition of his "Daril-Licked" behavior was long overdue. A beautifully executed Nut Brown Ale was his inaugural offering. He favors dark, malty brews, so this was an excellent choice ... just in time for the upcoming Annual Neighborhood Oktoberfest. So ... "Eight Is Enough" ... not quite!
Another Brother Daril - On November 10th, 2002, "Daril-Dave" (Dave Sotolongo) became our ninth Brother Daril. Daril-Dave has lived in the neighborhood for several years, and has partaken of "a pint or two" of our product, but has only recently been able to free up some time for the pursuit of brewing himself. His inaugural brew was a nicely-done "Red Ale", subtly spiced with Light Brown Sugar and Sweet Orange Peel - our 2002 Holiday Ale. It was a great winter warmer for those long, cold nights ahead. Here we were at last - a formidable "9-Man Team", in a league of our own.
After once again distinguishing himself during our 5th Annual Neighborhood Oktoberfest, our talented "Barbecue-Meister" was officially nominated for Daril-hood. So, on December 7th, 2003, "Daril-Don" (Don Taylor) became our tenth Brother Daril. Daril-Don lives in the one of the adjacent cul-de-sacs, but has been an active participant in our neighborhood gatherings for a long while. He selected a "Boddington's-style" ESB as his inaugural brew - an absolutely FINE choice for the holiday. We also brewed a Nut Brown Ale on the same day - lots of work! So now - we are a Brotherhood of Ten.
We're learning new things all the time by brewing; by subscribing to and reading The Homebrew Digest that comes daily via E-mail; by reading homebrew books from well-known beer experts (e.g., Papazian, Miller, Noonan & Jackson), & beer-related magazines (e.g., "All About Beer" and "Zymurgy"); and by associating with other experienced local homebrewers, most of whom are members of one or both of two large local brew clubs: TRUB (TRiangle's Unabashed homeBrewers); and CARBOY (Cary-Apex Raleigh Brewers Of Yore). We're members of the TRUB club - it's closest to Durham, but we frequently co-sponsor events with CARBOY. Both clubs are GREAT resources! Check out their websites.
I'll try to faithfully chronicle the continuing brew-ventures of the Daril Brothers as conscientiously as possible, including posting the recipes for our creations. I've kept fairly good notes & recipes along the way, but intend to transcribe them all for online viewing ... as time permits. For the most part, I'll try not to edit the original comments too much so you'll see how we've progressed from our earlier days. Perhaps they'll help to keep you from making some of the mistakes we made.
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Give a man a beer, he'll waste an hour. Teach a man to brew, he'll waste a lifetime.
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Map of 12 Fieldcrest Ct
Durham, NC 27713-8110
Directions to 12 Fieldcrest Ct
Durham, NC 27713-8110
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Beer Recipe Archive
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Weblog - The Saga Continues ...
June 1, 2005
Once again ... another of thethe Daril Brothers has moved away.
This time, it's Daril-Rich who has re-located to his house at the beach. He's not yet "retired", though. He'll still be maintaining a "business presence" in the area, so we expect that he'll still drop by on occasion when he gets thirsty. It's pretty HOT at the beach, so I expect we'll see him and Darilette-Gwen fairly regularly. We're going to miss their long-time presence in the cul-de-sac, so we look forward to their returning for Oktoberfest every year at least! Once a Daril ... ALWAYS a Daril! Cheers!
October 31st, 2004
"Daril-Ween" - Halloween at Daril's - Details & pictures also to be posted as soon as possible.
The Daril Brothers 6th Annual Neighborhood Oktoberfest happened on Saturday, 10/9/2004. Details & pictures will be posted ... eventually.
October 31st, 2003
"Daril-Ween" - Halloween at Daril's - This is something we do every year for the Heatherwood Mommies & Daddies who happen to be escorting their little demons around our neighborhood doing the Trick-or-Treat thing. Why shouldn't THEY have a bit of a "treat" themselves, eh? ... Perhaps a little "fortification" for the long door-to-door trek upon which they're about to embark? Maybe something to shore them up halfway through the balance of the hike? Or, a warm and soothing "nightcap"? Daril's Bar was decorated and open for the evening - with resident "witch" in attendance (Daril-Bill's Mom - handing out candy), while Daril-Bill dispensed libations to all needy souls who appeared. Pink Floyd in the background; black lights on green spider webs; purple & orange string lights; homebrew; mead; and root beer. Not a bad combination. Once the Trick-or-Treaters dispersed, all the Darils, Darilettes, and Little Daril-un's converged around a fireplace we set up near Daril-Dave's house, and we broke out the left-over pork from the recent Oktoberfest that we'd kept frozen 'til that afternoon ... and ... like MAGIC ... it was party time all over again!!! Bar-B-Q pork sandwiches & slaw, chips, brownies, music, homebrew, Irish coffee, Goldschlager, a good fire and great company. The last of the die-hards hung out 'til just after midnight, and in general ... a great time was had by all!!! I took several pictures, but only a few of them came out. I'm posting what I've got. Click HERE to see "Daril-Ween 2003" pix.
October 18th, 2003
The Daril Brothers 5th Annual Neighborhood Oktoberfest took place today. We anticipated the bit of rain around midnight and had covered the firewood - so there was no problem starting the fire at 5 AM. It was fairly warm, even at that hour of the morning - in the high 50's. We had TWO feeder fireplaces going this year, knowing that we'd want to get the pig going no later than 6 AM. Last year's was 83 lbs., but this year's pig was 110 lbs. We also planned for 12 roast chickens. Once again, we had a picture-perfect day for the event. Like last year, neighbors & friends brought dishes to share. The Daril Brothers provided BEER, Mead, and soft drinks. Specifically, the beer styles included: Daril's End-of-Summer Brew (ESB), Daril-Weizen American Wheat Ale, and Golden Hammer Kolsch. The Mead was Daril's Brambleberry Mead made in August 2002. And the soft drinks included a keg of home-made Root Beer and a keg of home-made Cola. The pig & chickens were cooked to perfection, presided over by Barbecue-Meister Don Taylor (soon to be Daril-Don) and Daril-John Andrus. They were faithfully assisted all day long by Fire-tenders Daril-Randy Ellis and Daril-Dave Sotolongo - keeping those coals in steady supply. We started officially at 3 PM, but of course there was the odd shot of Peppermint Schnaaps & such to "keep us warm" earlier in the day ... ahem!! We cranked up the requisite cheezy Oompah music for a bit, then switched over to a little bit of everything. It was about 9 PM before we finally dispersed, just barely pulling things under cover for the night and leaving the rest to deal with in the morning ... and wasn't THAT fun? A good time was had by all. So ... what do we do NEXT year .... live band? Hmmmmm ... Click HERE to see more comments and PICTURES. Enjoy!
October 19th, 2002
The Daril Brothers 4th Annual Neighborhood Oktoberfest took place today. The weather was absolutely PERFECT for this event. It was about 40 degrees when I got up at 5:15 a.m. to start the fire. Aside from the main cooker, we had a separate "feeder" fire just to make coals. We had several "fire-tenders" in residence all day. By mid-afternoon we had Carolina Blue sky, lots of sun, and temperature in the low 70's. We couldn't have ordered a better day! Once again this year, our cooking efforts were led by Barbecue-Meister Dr. Don Taylor, who was more than ably assisted by Daril-John Andrus. We featured an 83 lb. roast pig, 9 chickens and a large roast beef. Neighbors & friends brought dishes to share and some soft drinks. Of course, BEER was provided by the Daril Brothers. We offered four different beers and a keg of home-made Root Beer. The beer styles included: Daril-Rich's Nut Brown Ale, Almost Kolsch, NHD Belgian Tripel, and O'Daril's Stout. The Nut Brown Ale was the favorite of the day. We started up officially at 3 PM., but as you'd guess, we really started as soon as the beer was set up. So, from about noon onward, we were in rare form. It was about 8:30 PM before things finally broke up - with everyone sated from the abundance. Cleanup the next day was one hurtin' concern, but ... a GREAT time was had by all, so it was worth it! Click HERE to see more comments and PICTURES. Enjoy!
Mead Day, August 3, 2002! - As requested (and excerpted directly from the page advertising the event), the Daril Brothers joined others "in celebrating one of the world's oldest fermented beverages, Mead (honey wine). Situated midway between the AHA's Big Brew and Teach A Friend to Homebrew Day events, Mead Day is a chance for homebrewers and meadmakers to gather on a summer Saturday to share camaraderie and to make the "Beverage of Kings". And indeed, we made a 5-gallon batch using the posted instructions, but we deviated a bit from the exact recipe that was advertised. The proposed recipe was for a "Raspberry-Ginger Mead". That certainly sounded appetizing enough to get things started. However, we were unable to procure a full 5 pounds of raspberries at a price that wouldn't break the bank, so we used a "Triple Berry" mix of fresh frozen bramble berries consisting of raspberry, blueberry & blackberry that we bought at our local CostCo warehouse store. We kicked up the amount of honey a bit too - using 20 lbs instead of the suggested 12 lbs. Hence - we produced "Daril's Brambleberry Mead". See the exact recipe on the Beer Recipe Archive page. Can't WAIT to taste this!!! It sure smells GREAT! But ... patience ... for it to really reach its "prime", we'll have to wait 'til maybe NEXT Mead Day.
Thanks very much to writer Brian Smith for mentioning the Daril Brothers in his "Exploring the Brewblog" article in the July 2002 issue of the "Homebrew Adventures Newsletter". Please make sure to visit the Homebrew Adventures website when you can. There's lots of interesting information there, as well as a great product catalog.
May 31, 2002
It was bound to happen sooner or later ... one of the Darils has moved away.
Unfortunately, due to job circumstances beyond anyone's control, Daril-Brian has relocated to Winston-Salem, NC. It's only an hour and a half away, but a bit too far to enjoy regular fellowship with the rest of the Darils. Though he's gone, he's NOT forgotten ... nor will he ever be considered an "ex-Daril". Never! Once a Daril ... ALWAYS a Daril! So ... we hope that he, Darilette-Sally and the girls will join us whenever possible ... and certainly for our larger events (such as the yearly neighborhood "Oktoberfest"). We miss you, Daril, but we'll see you again soon. Cheers!
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Daril-John has an "alter-ego". He's also known as "Chef John".
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