This guest post is written by Jake Metzler (HI, JAKE!), who spends his free time writing songs, brewing beer and drinking his creations. He’s still perfecting the practice of doing all three at once. He also has a growing collection of brewing supplies.
I’ve been brewing for a few years now and believe it adds a lot of positive aspects to my life. Not just the fact it provides me with beer, because let’s face it; you don’t have to be a brewer to enjoy a good (or inexpensive) brew.
I’m referring to the process of brewing itself. I once read a webcomic that proclaimed “Baking is like science for hungry people!” Well, brewing is science for those who like to drink.
The great thing about cooking sciences is that you don’t have to understand all the processes in order to get them to work. You can follow the recipes and procedures of those who came before you and add your own flair once you get your bearings.
Here are the different opportunities I believe brewing brings to your life.
Drinking is a social activity and so is making beer! Even when I brew “alone,” I consult people at the homebrew store and fellow brewers about what steps I should take or what flavors would be successful. Often though, I’ll invite a friend or two over to help me. This makes things easier, as well as provides bonding time over a common goal. Of course, if someone helps me brew, we end up sharing the fruits of our labor. When I share my beers with friends and family, they always say positive things. But when someone has helped you with a project, they are in a position to offer constructive criticism and suggestions on how it can be improved next time.
Brewing is a science and that means there’s a lot to learn! Brewing is fairly simple: Beer is made when yeast ferments with malt and water. Barley, hops, and other ingredients can be used for flavor. So the whole process of brewing offers a great opportunity to observe fermentation and learn how different ingredients affect each other.
Learning also brings in more social opportunities. When people find out I brew, I often get asked about how I keep things sanitized, how I know it will taste good (I don’t), and how to measure alcohol content. This is a great chance for me to share information about one of my passions with people who are interested. I’m not a teacher, but I believe that we learn from each other, so in these instances, I am able to teach someone new information.
What I love about brewing is that it’s a process that requires me to stick with something for a certain amount of time. Brewing doesn’t happen overnight and you can’t leave it alone until it’s done. As the beer matures, you have to track things like the amount of time between air bubble releases.
My biggest reward is when I come out with the exact number of bottles I anticipated. The next biggest reward comes weeks later when I finally get to try my creation. Brewing is the epitome of “you get what you work for”.
Brewing gives me something to talk about, something to look forward to and endless educational opportunities. I am always learning, always experimenting. It keeps my mind active and allows me to have a hobby I enjoy. It interests most people, and helps me enjoy annual beer fests and similar events in a new light.
Do you brew? What opportunities has it brought into your life?