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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Why Make Beer?

As I opened a homebrew the other day, a thought crossed my mind. Why do I do this?

For anyone doing any hobby, the answer will be different. Back when I first started brewing, it was a fascination with the process. Think of a high school science project.

Then, as I developed my skills and honed my technique, I realized I was also saving money. Finances have always been something of a struggle for us, so that was a major motivation.

Besides the cost factor, something else popped up. I really enjoyed recipe formulation. If you brew, you already know this. By using different base malts, extracts, specialty grains, and hops, there are and unbelievable variety of beers you can make. Then, add to that the other things you can add; different sources of sugar, different spices and herbs. There is no limit to what can be done.

I've noticed one change in our national beer scene. For some time, one of the appeals was that I could make beer I couldn't buy. That is, well, less true than it once was. The beer renaissance we're currently in means that whatever beer you can conceive of, somebody is probably making, somewhere. Beers with citrus, pepper, jalapeno, hazelnut, raspberry, almost anything, are all on the shelves and a store near you. You don't have to brew to find something different.

There are still exceptions. Earlier, I had mentioned my breakfast cereal experiment. I know no brewer is likely to try that any time soon. With all the licensing and copyright issues, it's unlikely we'll see Cap'n Crunch Porter anytime soon. On the other hand, I have no such restrictions. At some point in the future, I will have that, as well as a beer with Lucky Charms, and one with Cocoa Krispies.

Where am I going with this? Well, at the heart, it's a hobby, and the answer is the same as for any hobby. You get satisfaction of some kind from it. It doesn't necessarily have to be completely logical.