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Sunday, September 16, 2012

What Kind Of Brewer Are You?

Today, I want to discuss for a moment the Reinheitsgebot, or German Beer Purity Law. There's a really interesting article at Wikipedia. Here's the link.

Essentially, the law restricted the ingredients for beer to water, barley, hops and yeast. Obviously, not many American breweries come close to that. For homebrewers, there are some people who try to brew according to the old law.

I don't really have a firm stand either way, even though I personally have brewed with, cocoa, molasses, and breakfast cereal. My philosophy on brewing has always been that there's room for all of us. I've said both here and in my podcast that the equipment doesn't make you less or more of a homebrewer. If you own a Mr. Beer, or a 15-barrel conical fermenter, you're still a homebrewer.

The same goes for ingredients. It makes no difference if you make nothing but classic English brown ales or German schwarzbier; Or if a normal part of your brewing day is scanning the kitchen or supermarket for fermentables. All brewers make what they want to drink. It's your own taste you want to satisfy.

Time for an analogy. Haydn wrote over 100 symphonies, all within the rigid restriction of the Classical Symphony. Beethoven came along and turned this format on it's head. The music of both these masters has stood the test of time. Just as we listen to both types of music, there's room in brewing for both versions of beer.

Make beer you like, be happy, and let others do the same.