Written by Peter Fingerson
My love for homebrewing isn’t necessarily a romantic tale, or one of a childhood passion coming to fruition the day I turned 21. The idea to become a homebrewer seems to have planted itself into my brain completely randomly, with little to no previous knowledge of the hobby. I was a beer-drinker prior to homebrewing, but it was never geek-level status. I bought the equipment from My Old Kentucky Homebrew shortly after the idea to brew presented itself. My first batch was an eager one: an IPA kit. The day finally came when my friend came over and we brewed that illustrious kit. I felt like a true champ when we sealed the lid on the bucket for fermentation. I don’t think I even knew what fermentation was at that point, but I definitely thought this could be the hobby for me.
The kit IPA turned out grand. “Grand” being a relative term in this instance. I still don’t know if it was truly a tasty brew, or if it was tasty only to my senses because hey, I brewed it. My pride was not going to let that beer taste bad. The first bottle I opened was a revelation. The “psst” coming from the cap when I pried it off was like a whisper from an old friend saying “Hey…Psst…Good job. You did it.” I felt like I had accomplished something truly worthwhile. That was the moment I realized that this was definitely the thing for me. I still have a bottle of that kit IPA in my basement. With 2+ years of age under its belt, it definitely isn’t going to taste very good at this point, so I want to keep that good taste in my mouth, even if it actually wasn’t that good of a beer to begin with. I keep that bottle there as a reminder of where I started and where I am now in my homebrewing adventures. Thus, I vow to keep that solitary bottle in my basement for all eternity.
As with every hobby, you have to start somewhere. I’m sure I started where most did, as basic as possible. My five gallon extract batches were enough to satiate my thirst for a little while, but I eventually partnered with my good friend and brother-in-law and we stepped up the game to ten gallon all-grain batches. It was definitely a big leap, (in terms of money, time, and knowledge), but it made me fall in love even harder. All-grain brewing truly is creating something amazing out of seemingly unconnected ingredients from scratch. I started off brewing with very little knowledge of the activity, and though I have accrued significantly more information and experience over the two and a half years I’ve been brewing, it still surprises me how much more there is to learn, and how much I may never know.
There are an abundance of aspects to the brewing process aside from just the good beer. It is a learning process, an act of creation, an act of rebellion, and an act of unity all rolled up into one messy amalgamation. That fateful day I cracked open my first homebrew, I fell in love all over again (don’t tell my wife), and my fate was sealed. I joined the homebrewing comm-BREW-nity and have been enjoying it ever since, one sip at a time. I strongly urge you to give it a go if you haven’t already. Cheers to all, and to all a good brew!