- Published on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 10:33
- Written by Beernewb
Home Brewing: What is it, and why do it?
What is home brewing? Well, here’s the short answer: it is simply the act of using tools and equipment in one’s own home to make beer. Every beer has it’s own recipe, but basically you combine water, malted barley and hops in a big pot, boil it, cool it, and add some yeast. Over time the yeast will turn your cooled “barley soup” into delicious homemade beer.
But let’s get down to brass tacks – why would I bother to brew in my house when I could run down to the Stop-n-Shop for a six pack? There are three common answers to this question: cost, taste and art.
First let’s talk cost. Many people are content to drink “budget beers.” You know what they are – just look for the cheapest beer in the store. They taste ok, but they don’t taste as good as “craft beers” – you know what those are too. Look for the priciest stuff on the shelf. Look up! They don’t call things “top shelf” for nothin’. Compare the prices. Yup – the good craft beers cost a lot more than the cheap stuff on the bottom shelf. So what is a thrifty beer newb to do? Answer: brew your own. With a little practice you can make craft beer for the same price as the cheap stuff. Sure, there is some equipment to buy first. But after that initial investment, its all gravy…er, beer.
Which brings us to the inevitable question of taste. Yes, its true! You really can make your own delicious craft beer, and you don’t need a PhD to do it. Besides, you have an advantage: you don’t have to play by the same rules the big brewers do. Pasteurization, preservation, distribution, etc. are none of your concern. So why is this important? Well, think of your favorite comfort food from childhood; the stuff only your mom could make. Even if a big food factory used a similar recipe, would that same dish REALLY taste as good as when mom makes it? In addition, after you make a few batches of homebrew, you can make beers that are exactly what you want – like a custom tailored suit, or the exact right setting on your beard trimmer.
Finally, lets talk about the “art” of brewing. Most home brewers are like ‘foodies’. You know who these people are. No? Well, foodies are the home cooks that like to experiment, do a little research, and like to talk to other people for whom cooking is more than just churning out grub. Ask a foodie why they cook. Some might cite cost - true, cooking well is a lot cheaper than eating out. Some might cite taste - true, cooking well is often better and healthier than restaurant food. But get a foodie talking, and eventually their eyes look over your shoulder and they start talking about the art of it; how great meals bring them closer to family, friends and other people who like to cook. The same applies to brewing. It is an art and a hobby that even has it’s own communities of people who appreciate the same things that you do.
So get out and brew, Newbs! And share your stories with us – whether triumphs or tragedies. We love a good yarn with our delicious homemade beer.
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