March 1, 2013

Home Brew

A very dear friend of mine, who was also the Best Man in my wedding, got me hooked on home brewing when he sent me a small commercial home brew kit for Christmas a couple years ago.

I guess it's only fair, really, since I am the man responsible for turning him into a craft beer snob when we were roommates in Phoenix almost a half-decade ago.  He'd been a "Bud Light" kind of beer drinker until then, and while I don't begrudge people for eating or drinking as they prefer (I drink red wine with seafood, after all!) I also felt it my duty to introduce him to real, craft, varied, different beer.  Beers that are made with the knowledge of the grains, different types of hops, a keen attention to detail, the understanding of the biochemistry behind extracting fermentable sugars from malted barley... these are the tools in the chest of a master brewer.  

As an experienced shooter will re-zero his rifle for a different type of ammunition, or how she will be able to tell you the difference between a factory trigger and a custom trigger by a gunsmith, so too can a master brewer tell you why a particular strain of hops will work better with this grain but not that.  These tools of the craft, and the loving attention and effort put into a true craft beer, set them apart from the bland, tasteless, mass-produced crap that the massive breweries spit out (*cough*Bud sucks*cough*)

What is a craft beer, you might ask.  Simple enough in concept, harder to define in practice.  My metric is simple: If I can find it in every single state, or at a convenience store, it is NOT a craft beer.  These are the beers you go out of your way to find... it's a liquor store where you know the owner and he stocks a six pack of Mad Anthony's Harry Baal's Irish Stout in the back, just for you.  It's the beer that you take to a Blogshoot Meet a couple states away, because you know they can't get it there.  It's the beer that you mention on FaceCrack and EVERY single friend you have says "Never heard of it."

So I introduced Brian to craft beer, and he was hooked.  Being an adventurous sort, and also a frugal man, he started brewing his own beers.  Once some basic equipment is purchased, you can brew beer for less than you can buy it, and that's never more true than in jurisdictions that place large taxes on "vices" like beer. 

I'd suggest that beer isn't a vice, it's a food group, but I digress.  

At any rate, you can brew about 54 bottles (that's two cases plus a six-pack for those without a calculator) for around $40 or so... or about $0.75 per beer.  

And then Brian sent me a brewing kit.  I made it on December 31st, 2011, which is the same day I proposed to my wife, and thus was born "Proposal Porter."  Still have a couple bottles, can't bring myself to drink them.  Maybe on our anniversary.  

So I've been brewing my own beer for a while now.  It's fun, it is a nice way to kill a few hours when the freezing rain falls and the dogs would rather nap by the fireplace than go for a walk, and it's an opportunity to brew what I like.  

This past February 2nd, Groundhog Day, Missus JB and I brewed up a Pale Ale.  There's an unwritten rule to home brewing: One must drink home brew when making home brew.  So, as the wort chilled before getting yeast added, we were quite tipsy and trying to think up a name.  In a flash of brilliance, the Missus came up with "Kill Phil Pale Ale."

And the rest is carbonated, hoppy, clean finishing history:


Sláinte.

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

ROTF, nice touch! :-)