I homebrew because I can tell people I make my own beer. I homebrew to recreate beers that I enjoy. I homebrew to make beers that I can't access, to make beer styles seldom made by commercial breweries, to digress from traditions, styles, and recipes. I homebrew to make alcohol. This is a concept that seemed cooler when I was twenty, but I make alcoholic beverages in the same place I sleep. I homebrew because that is still a little cool.
I homebrew because it is easy to make good beer. With a little over a $100 investment, anyone can make about fifty standard bottles of delicious beer. For another $30, another fifty bottles can be brewed. But I don't homebrew to save money. I have hundreds of dollars worth of brewing accessories in my garage. I homebrew as a hobby. I have a several thousand dollar, digitally controlled, brew sculpture in my garage. I control temperatures during brewing to a single degree. A Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time -- has nothing on my brew stand. My homebrewing equipment has a plaque with my name on it.
I homebrew for the feel, the flavor, and the aroma. Malted barley soaked in hot water can be intoxicating to the senses. I homebrew to make malty English-style beers. I homebrew to make strong, no-rules Belgian-style beers. I love Belgian-style beers. I homebrew to play with hops. I like to create strong, hoppy beers. I homebrew to add hops midway through the boil, after the boil, and while the beer in is the fermenter. I love hops. I grow hops in my yard.
I homebrew because I respect maltose, enzymes, yeast metabolism, and ethyl alcohol. I homebrew because I can make great beer and know something between a Master's Degree and absolutely nothing about any of those items. I homebrew to play with IBUs, Lovibond, and original gravity. I love my refractometer. I homebrew because I can experiment with malts, hops, yeasts, and adjuncts. I find yeast attenuation interesting. I homebrew because I like science. Except brewing is also art. Beers are designed. Equipment and recipes can play only a small part of the finished beer. Techniques play a nontrivial role. I homebrew to satisfy my inner mad-scientist. I like dialing my fermentation box's thermostat to create clove or banana flavors in my beer. I homebrew to stick it to The Man. I homebrew to flip my nose at The Reinheitsgebot.
I homebrew for the personal experience. But brewing with a friend is even better. I homebrew with my wife. I love the communal nature of brewing. Stirring the mash. Sampling past batches. I love sharing my knowledge, and I love learning from someone else. I homebrew for the fellowship. What is your favorite beer? I homebrew to brew your favorite beer with you.
This piece was meant as a finale for American Craft Beer Week. Perhaps I procrastinated just a bit in getting this published. Homebrewing isn't about haste. It takes weeks, sometimes months, to craft, ferment, and serve a beer finished beer. I homebrew because it is hard work. Patient work. Rewarding work. It's not about just a means to an end, but the end is pretty good. I homebrew for that.
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