Many years ago (which is strange to say, but stranger because it's true), I came up with a character who will remain in my top five favorite fictional characters of all time. I'm pretty sure that, even if I never get a traditional publishing deal with this character, I will eventually (when I have the experience to do so) put out books staring this character. Of course my goal is traditional publishing, but that's not important right now.
What IS important is the occupation of this character's father. And brother. And grandfather. They all own a brewery together (and a farm, but that's just to make sure they have the ingredients they need). It's a family affair, and the protagonist of my story isn't involved in the business. He doesn't really want to be involved, but he loves his family, and they play an important role in the background of my novel.
Now, I don't know much about brewing beer despite taking THREE tours of the Coors facility in Golden.* The process has always fascinated me (and by always, I mean for at least four years). So yesterday The Wife and I brewed our very first, ever, batch of beer at home!
I took pictures, and I will take more when we bottle, and then I'll post them here when we have a chance to sample the beer! It was a lot of fun, but exhausting. It took longer than I expected because our stove isn't as efficient as a gas stove, and I washed my hands more times than I thought possible just to make sure I didn't contaminate any of the containers or ingredients.
I didn't really learn a ton: it's mostly just taking the ingredients from a kit and following the instructions. Like having Cracker Barrel ship you their food. They pre-package everything and give you heating instructions. That's pretty much what I did.
I do know that next time I'm going to have more ice on hand to cool the wort faster. I'd like to get a wort cooling coil, but I don't have the cash for that yet.
Anyway, if YOU have some research to do for YOUR story, I recommend doing it! Hobbies are fun, they educate you, and they're a darn site better than watching TV all night :).
Question Time: What research projects have you enjoyed for your writing? What projects have you avoided because you don't know how difficult it would be? Or you're scared? Which projects terrified you, but you did them anyway? And how did it turn out?
*Sarcasm. There's a lot of basic information about how to make beer throughout the Coors tour, but it's hardly definitive.