I have a confession to make. I’m a closet mycophile. Look it up if you have to. I’m not especially proud of it but it gnaws away at me and next thing I know I’m wandering around public parks with my camera or loitering around the fresh produce section of supermarkets with intent.
There’s a bit of an underground network where, through shadowy websites, enthusiasts share their pictures under pseudonyms. I know it’s not normal or socially acceptable but also know I’m not alone.
I’m also a pivophile. I know it’s not a good look but some vices are hard to shake. I don’t care what you say; I think most men think about it. I don’t want to name and shame my brethren but I know there are other brewers that share both predilections. Sometimes I wonder if brewing is actually part of my addiction. Perhaps the yeast we use in brewing is like a nicotine patch for mycophiles. It can get you through those hot dry summer months until the autumn rains bring the budding fruits to sate the urge. (For clarities sake and to avoid further damage to reputations “pivo” means “beer”).
Reflecting on this, I’ve been considering some workplace rehabilitation. Recently I met Bas, also encumbered with the mycophilia/pivophilia double whammy. We discussed our interest and shared some photos. We discovered we’d both grown a little at home for personal use and wondered whether we might be able to crank up the mycobator (incubator for mushrooms), grow a little more and put it into a beer.
During a furtive website viewing session we discovered mushroomgourmet.co.nz. It has a whole series of categories depending on your preferences. It turns out that oyster mushrooms are easy to grow on straw and spent coffee grounds. How about an Oyster mushroom stout? Now you’re talking. We can use it as therapy and how yum would it/could it be?
We set up the 'deal' and scored several doses of oyster mushroom spawn. Bas reconsitituted my contemporary hangi (beer keg steamer) and we steam sterilised a series of bags of straw and coffee grounds as substrate to grow the mushrooms on. We inoculated the bags and hung them in the mycobator (a modified beer fridge).
That was a forntnight ago. Today Bas and I shared a moment. The budding fruits of our labour were bursting forth; the prospect of several kilos of fungal gold to harvest for our stout was almost too much to bear. I’m sure a quiet man-tear was shed. Even Dikkie, my right hand man who has poo pooed my mycophilia as an over indulgent nerdism was caught up in the sheer emotion of the moment, snapping perhaps his first mushroom shot (I have no doubt he’ll start a catalogued collection).
Now we’re off to the pub to try a stout and wonder just how much better it might be with mushrooms.