Session #92: I Made This

I haven’t participated in The Session since I hosted #80 a year ago, “ Is Craft Beer a Bubble?” but now I’m back to answer Jeremy Short’s excellent question:

“How did homebrewing change your view of beer? Do you like beers now that you didn’t before? Do you taste beer differently? Does homebrewing turn you into a pretentious asshole?”

Before answering the first question, I’ll answer the other three: yes, yes, and maybe.

I never liked domestics. I drank liquor and wine. But even before I loved beer, I was fascinated by it’s role in society, by its history and it’s significance, by pub culture. Before I loved the pint, I loved the idea of the pint.

So I did it backwards. It wasn’t craft beer that got me into homebrewing, it was homebrewing that got me into craft beer. When I started homebrewing about 5 years ago my journey to beer nerd-dom had just begun.

But when that first batch brewed from a kit turned out so very terrible, I knew there must be a better waym and I began to obsessively read everything I could find about brewing. I wasted massive chunks of my days pouring through homebrewtalk.com, memorizing recipes and comparing dozens of different ones for each style of beer to see how they did and didn’t differ from eachother.

Pretty soon I was writing all my own recipes and inviting everyone I knew to collaborate on brew day so that I could share my obsession and show people how easy it was.

To get back to the question at hand, first and foremost my palate wouldn’t be anything close to what it is if it weren’t for homebrewing. I used to taste a lot of beers with a friend of mine and it was very clear that he tastes beer like a beer drinker and I taste beer like a beer maker. I taste beer through the lense of brewing, as if I’m trying to reverse engineer the recipe, naming the malts, the hops, the yeast, etc.

That means that I have very little patience for flaws, fermenting too hot being the main offender in my experience. So maybe I am a pretentious asshole, but I’d say I’m more like a bass player who cringes when he hears somebody play bass badly, especially if I’m paying for the pleasure.

I don’t brew professionally, so I don’t want to buy a beer from someone who can’t brew as well as I can.

Snob alert.

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