Thank You Brewers!

Thank You Brewers!

Lauren PesinTuesday,20 January 2015

You’re invited to a party with some new friends. They greet you at the door with a hug and hand you a beer you don’t recognize. With a “Lagunitas Sucks” ale in your hand, you mingle listening to the conversations around you and sipping your delicious beer. You notice these new friends are drinking from frothy glasses, filled with creations ranging in color from golden sunset to dark chocolate. These don’t look or smell like your average red cup beverages.

Suddenly, the conversation turns mysterious. You hear the words “IBU”, “gravity”, “extract”, “wort”, and “hops”. It is unlikely you’ve fallen into a witches coven or been transported to a potions class at Hogwarts. Then, the mystery in unveiled. You discover these new friends are home beer brewers.

These terms and many others are used to describe the process of brewing beer. I found a brewing glossary that listed over 134 terms. If a hobby needs such an extensive glossary, this hobby must be a serious one. It not only requires reading, but also research, planning, patience, and attention to detail.

Brewer friends estimated their costs around $400 to buy the initial equipment and roughly $30 to $40 per batch. The more you make, the more you spend. Brewing not only takes money, but time: day one may take 6 hours; then two weeks to ferment; you bottle it; and wait two more weeks to drink it. There is a great deal of checking and waiting.

Brewing is a lot of work. Yet home brewing and the craft beer industry has exploded in popularity. This year is expected to be one of the best years for variety and availability of craft beer.

Given the sheer time and effort involved, why do people brew beer?

The simple answer is – for the beer.

The long answer – my poll of friends, strangers, and brewers revealed various reasons for brewing, including just loving beer, appreciating the art of making the beer, and the satisfaction of crafting something from scratch. Some brewers love the community and the endless possibilities of future creations. Others brewers have the basic desire to make better beer.

I thought this trend of craft brewing to be somewhat new. I was wrong. Brewing beer has a very long history.

• About 4,000 years after men first left evidence of brewing activity (circa 1800 BC), a “Hymn to Ninkasi,” (Sumerian goddess of beer) was inscribed on a tablet.

• Sometime around 612, the Saint Arnold of Metz (one of dozens of patron saints to beer, brewers and hop-pickers) not only brewed beer, but he helped end a plague by convincing people to drink beer rather than impure water.

What have we learned?

We’ve learned brewing beer is a hobby that takes time and money; it has the potential to give you awesome, personalized and interesting beers you can share with friends; and can save lives (hats off to St. Arnold and his plague mitigation strategies).

Ultimately, people love beer. People will keep making and drinking beer as long as we are able, regardless of the effort it takes as the return of a great or unique beer is worth it. Furthermore, the excitement never ends because beer creations are only limited by the imagination.

Although I don’t brew beer, I profoundly appreciate those who do. Thank you brewers! I look forward to the next batch.

What unique ingredients do you think make a great beer? Tell me on Twitter.

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Image Credit: Flickr

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