Craft beer has taken off in the last 10 years to the point that the big beer companies are buying up most of the micro-brews because they are cutting into domestic sales. For years only few dared to do what the Anheuser-Busch and Miller Lite were doing. The rise of micro-brews made it seem feasible for the little guy to start brewing on his own with the pipe dream of owning brewery one day. This has been an amazing time to be a beer drinker. The flavor profiles and everything else that is in the craft brews are pushing the limits, I had a beer that that was made entirely from herbs and another that had sriracha hot sauce in it. This has caused an explosion of beer and styles, as well as bringing styles back from the dead or spreading regional styles all around the world. I’m remiss to say that over carbonated lagers are not going anywhere in the foreseeable future, but for those of you out there that actually have taste buds the present and the future never looked so good. So without further adieu, here are the top 11 reasons that you should be home brewing.
Self-Reliance Means Never Having to Wait for the Beer You Really Want.
I’m just going to put it out there, seasonal beers make me sad and I bet they do the same for you too. I also don’t live in a major market so getting Firestone Walker, 3 Floyd’s, or to get any specialty release beers I would have to drive over an hour to even have a chance at it. I’m sure all of you run into the same problems as well. Home brewing is the solution to this very annoying situation. There are thousands of clone recipes out there that will get you close enough that even a seasoned palate might have a hard time differentiating the clone from the real deal. This will allow you to ALWAYS have your favor brews on tap. You would be the most popular man on your block if you had gallons of Dogfish Heads 120 always in the fridge.
Cost is Considerable Lower for Home Brewing.
This is a major selling point for most, including significant others, when it comes to home brewing vs buying off the shelf. Depending on where you live a decent beer will cost between $1-$5 a bottle (that’s a 12oz bottle), but can be brewed for far less. Most kits will have you brewing for under $0.70 for a 12oz beer. There are many places that will let you buy bulk ingredients to reduce the prices even further. When it comes to equipment, that cost will go down every time you brew. I have been able to brew for about $0.35-$0.40 a beer for awhile now. People that is cheaper than buying bottled water, and much more refreshing after a job well done. Of course, that price will fluctuate depending on what you are brewing and if you are making any equipment upgrades, but across the board home brewing if far cheaper than purchasing your beer off the shelves of a distributor.
It’s a Necessary Life Skill…Like Riding a Bike.
There are certain things in life that people should know how to do. Change a car tire, grow some amount of your own food, fix a leaky faucet, and make your own adult beverages are all things that people should be able to do. Knowledge of home brewing fundamentals would allow you to brew if stranded on an island, going off the grid, or in the event that the world goes to hell in a handbasket. Knowing how to mash just about anything that contains starches and turning into a nice brew will make any unbearable situation seem a little more normal.
It’s a Great Way to Socialize With Other Brewers.
The craft beer scene is currently blowing up in every market, major and minor. That means that while you are brewing alone in your house there are thousands of other near you doing the same thing. I was fortunate enough to find a home brewing club that meets monthly with about 20 people that share their recent brews and strategies. Friendships made at these meetings have lead to some great collaboration brews. Learning from each other, having a drinking buddy for the day, and ending with a stellar finished product is all the more reason to find some friends and mash in!
It Gets the Creative Juices Flowing.
Many home brewers start out with a small boil kettle and some plastic coolers or buckets. That fact that you can make good beer with just that is awesome! But what then you get to thinking, how can I make this brew day better? That is when the ingenuity kicks in and you can come up with some interesting ways to increase temperature controls, improve sanitation, reduce clean-up time, and my favorite engineering feats have assisted with fermentation.
You Will Always Have a Reason to Party With That Much Beer.
If you have good food and/or good beer at your place you will never have a shortage of friends. Tell some people about the 5 gallons of a nice citrus summer wheat and you thinking about putting some pork over some charcoals and see how many people show up, invited or uninvited. You may also run into the problem of brewing more beer than you can drink before your next brew. While this is a great problem to have, it is a problem none the less. This can be easily remedied by having some people over to help you empty it.
It Help to Appreciate Good Beer When You Are Drinking It.
After spending countless hours brewing gallons and gallons of different styles of beer, you can start to appreciate the time and craftsmanship that goes into creating and reproducing a great beer. There are many things that can go wrong on brew day that will affect the outcome of your brew, so for a brewery to brew enough to distribute on a national level and consistently pump out amazing libation is awe inspiring. It will also allow you to enjoy styles of beer that you normally wouldn’t like when they are brewed right, or if the recipe is tweaked just a little towards your liking. An example would be that I typically don’t enjoy the bitterness of most IPAs on the market right now. However, I thoroughly enjoy Firestone Walker’s Union Jack and Founders Double Trouble. Those are prime examples of how home brewing can lead to a better appreciation of those that can brew better than you.
Again With Creativity, This Time It’s All About Taste.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to beer flavors! You ever brewed a recipe that you think there is just something that is a little off? Make some changes on the fly. Swapping out hops or changing the hop schedule is one of the easiest ways to drastically change the final flavor of your beer. Brewing a summer wheat or cream ale and think that some fruit flavors would really set it off? Throw in some peaches and enjoy your new summer session beer. I could go on and on for days about the possibilities for your brews, but at the end of the day, it’s all about your preferences and dammit that’s how you should brew. Don’t be afraid to take some chances with your beer, maybe just brew them in smaller batches until you know you will like it.
Home Brewing Appeals to the Inner Nerd in People.
You can make home brewing as simple or complicated as you would like to. There are programs out there will do everything but put the hops in for you. Brewing can also appeal to your inner nerd and allow you to speak about beer in terms of gravity, SRM, alpha%, and many other ways. At my last brew club meeting, I heard brewers drinking different home brews that were brought and describing them as a “1.052, or a 10-52 beer”. This can also apply to using technology to increase brewing efficiency and controlling temperatures during fermentation.
Brew Day is Thirsty Work, Enjoy Past Brews.
There is a fair amount of down time while you are mashing, steeping and extract, sparging an all grain, and boiling are all pretty hands off. Idle hands are perfect for enjoying your recent brews and even trying something to get an idea for future brew days. Either way, it’s a lot of fun. Just make sure that you don’t enjoy yourself too much and mess up your hop schedule or scorch your wort while boiling. This is certainly a great time to practice moderation.
Brewing Beer is Just Fun in General.
Brew days are some of the more exciting days of the month. I am lucky enough to have a brewing partner and would suggest you find one as well. Not only will it make the day a little more fun and helps to pass the time, but it will also give you someone to blame if your beer doesn’t turn out as expected.
There you have it, the 11 best reasons that you should be home brewing if you haven’t started already. Home brewing is an amazing hobby to get into. Just like not being able to eat only one chip, when it comes to brewing your own beer you will be hooked after the first brew. The sense of pride and satisfaction that you will have when you share your brew with someone and get great feedback is like no other. So get some equipment, or gypsy brew if needed, and start brewing. You will be glad you did!