I realize from the outset that the logic behind my argument for brewing beer lacks, well, logic. Not that I can really even call it an argument. It’s not like anyone is really telling me not to home brew – It’s more like a justification. Let me start over then. What follows are two separate cases justifying the reason why I brew beer. These cases should be read completely independent from one another (but of course in one session as this blog is not that long). They are not based on a sequential “argument”, nor is there any dependence whatsoever between my two justifications. Instead, the reasoning is based more on a “What came first the chicken or the egg?” philosophy. I am sure by now you are completely intrigued. So grab a craft beer, or a home brew if you have one, and follow along as I justify my time-consuming, sometimes fruitful, some fruitless hobby of brewing beer:
Case 1: It was out of necessity – Let your imagination run wild with this one. I had been laid off for almost a year. I don’t want to say that we were running out of money, but we were sure looking for ways to cut back on our expenses. All dinners were to be planned around the weekly specials at our local Harris Teeter. No dinners or lunches were to be consumed out of the house without a coupon. The dog was only to receive two treats a day (if we were cutting back, so was he). My wife was forced to only buy one pair of shoes every two weeks. And my beer budget was cut in half. Not that I was a beer nerd, but I did enjoy quality brews. One dreary fall afternoon, I found myself sitting on the couch watching football with a Keystone Light in my hand. There had to be a better way! I thought as I sipped my beer and clenched off my throat to prevent myself from vomiting this below budget beer. How hard or expensive would it be to brew my own? I did a little online research, visited Alternative Beverage, and bought their Two Stage Brewing System starter kit. It turned out that what I was spending on 12 packs of Keystone Light I could spend on brewing a quality homebrew.
Case 2: I prefer wine – There. I said. I am sure those three words have lost me friends and blog followers. It’s true though. I prefer wine. Since the craft beer craze hit and I started brewing beer, I have given myself several tests pairing beer and against wine. I have sipped craft beer with meals that previously I was convinced only a fine wine could accompany. I have even substituted out wine for beer in certain drinking situations. In nearly every test, wine won (in my opinion). Why then am I not following in my father’s or my grandfather’s footsteps and making homemade wine? The answer is because they spoiled me too much. I was bit by the wine bug at a young age. It has since turned into an obsession as I transitioned from their homemade hooch and developed a more sophisticated knowledge and palette. The truth is, if I made a bad batch of wine that I would not be able to stomach it and would wind up dumping out anything I didn’t find palatable. But with beer, I’m not a nerd about it. Unless it tastes worse than Keystone Light, I’d probably drink it. I realize that makes me sound like a bit of an alcoholic, but I’m comfortable with that.
There you have it. I hope it makes sense. It does to me. Since I have been brewing I have witnessed my interest in beer grow, as well as my brewing ability. I started with simple kits from Alternative Beverage and then progressed off the kits into some of my own recipes with the help of either a store employee or Brewing Classic Styles. More often than not, I have truly enjoyed my home brews delving into everything from pale ales to wheat beers to saisons to brown ales to porters, only ever dumping one batch. It was a coffee stout that turned out to be more coffee than stout. I have even progressed from bottling to kegging and enjoy my homebrew fresh from the kegerator in my basement.
Whatever my argument for attempting to home-brew, it has turned into an enjoyable pastime and an interesting conversation starter with friends and strangers. Everybody wants to know what goes into the magic behind brewing beer.