This time Friday was already half-over before I realised what today was.
So here I go again, writing a Session post on the fly. I really need to start writing these dates down on a calendar or something.
Okay, here’s the obligatory intro – first Friday of each month, bloggers all write a post on a subject picked by that month’s host. This is what The Session is.
This month’s host is Jeremy Short from Pintwell and his Session topic is I Made This. Take it away Jeremy.
‘‘As I scanned through the list of the past 91 sessions I found only one about homebrewing. Only one? Well, we are here to rectify that with Session #92. I know that many beer bloggers don’t homebrew, so don’t worry I am going to keep this simple and straightforward. The idea of this session is how making something changes your relationship with it.’’
It’s almost like Jeremy knew there would be dicks like me who left it to the last minute (or in my case, quite a few minutes past the last minute) because he’s helpful provided a list of questions to prompt people.
So I’m just going to use those prompts as questions and provide an answer. But first a caveat – I don’t brew much any more. Haven’t done it for at least six or more months. I figured I already had plenty of beer at home so making more just seemed a waste of time.
Though I will have to brew something soon. I made a batch of beer called Summer Girl, which was both made and named for my wife. She loves it and has been pestering me to make it again. So I have to do that soon.
Question #1: How did homebrewing change your view of beer?
It made me realise that beer has way more to do with cleaning than I ever realised. I’ve made this joke before but, really, they should call it homecleaning rather than homebrewing. There’s cleaning and sanitising of utensils, brewpots, fermenters, hoses, bottles, bottle caps and God knows what else.
It certainly educated me about beer. Before homebrewing I’d seen the word ‘‘dryhopping’’ written on beer labels but had no real concept of what it meant. Also, I knew hops gave bitterness, aroma and flavour but didn’t know that was dependent on where in the boil they went.
It also gave me a much stronger respect for all brewers, regardless of whether they make super-mainstream or super-indie beer. As a homebrewer, consistency of flavour is so damned hard to achieve and yet pro brewers manage a certain beer taste the same from batch to batch. That’s bloody hard to do.
Question #2: Do you like beers now that you didn’t before?
Nope, not in the slightest. Homebrewing in no way changed the sorts of beers I drank. Though I did gain a new appreciation for IPAs after every single one I tried to make tasted like I’d been dryhopping with band-aids.
Question #3: Do you taste beer differently?
Not so much. But I do remember the first time I boiled hops rather than just steeping them before adding them to malt extract already in the fermenter. I tried that beer and noticed the bitterness that had not been present in any of my homebrews up to that point. It was like an empty slot in the flavour profile was filled in – ‘‘ahh, so that’s what that does’’.
I’ve also been able to notice the quality of ingredients in a beer on occasion. For instance, recently I tasted a store-bought beer and thought, ‘‘you’ve been made with malt extract. I can taste it’’. I truly doubt I would have been able to do that if I hadn’t brewed.
Question #4: Does homebrewing turn you into a pretentious asshole?
Jesus Christ, no. Well at least not in my case. It’s hard to be a pretentious asshole when you know there’s a chance your beer will end up with an infection. Though you can get a swelled head when someone tries your beer and declare it awesome. That never gets old.
In closing I highly recommend homebrewing to any beer geek who really wants to learn more about the stuff. I can’t imagine someone could make their own beer and not discover something they didn’t know before.