homebrewer Archives – PorchDrinking.com
The number one thing you will learn as a brewer is that there is always room to improve. Even the most professional people in the business know this. The very first beer I ever brewed was an amber ale that somehow surpassed all expectation by getting infected and tasting like sour lemons. There’s no shame in admitting it because everyone has gone through a similar, baffling situation in their first year of brewing.
Thanks to criticism from professional judges, I’ve found out what has been the bane of my brewing existence since I moved to a new apartment. Three of my beers were found to have medicinal off-flavors, resulting in band-aid/astringent tasting bottles. This type of problem can occur due to over-crushing grains or yeast contamination, but I was convinced it was a problem with the water. These reasons are why I constantly advise brewers to learn about the chemicals in your water source (using a system like Ward Lab) or by talking out the issue with other local homebrewers. Using the Brewer’s Friend Water Chemistry Calculator is a good way to figure out what needs to be added to accommodate your beer recipe.
The Homebrewer’s Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to Making Your Own Beer from Scratch (Countryman Press, 2016) by Marika Josephson, Aaron Kleidon and Ryan Tockstein
The folks at Scratch Brewing Co. are connected to the land around their brewery in ways few other brewers can boast. Secluded in the woods near Ava in southern Illinois, the Scratch gang doesn’t just use local malt and hops, they pull the ingredients that make their beers so unique from the terrain of the surrounding forest. Tree bark, leaves, mushrooms, berries, nuts, flowers, even plants many of us have been trained to think of as weeds—it’s all fair game for brewers Aaron Kleidon and Marika Josephson. Consequently, their beers have a quality of place—terroir, to use the fancy parlance—few other brews have.
Homebrewing isn’t just a hobby; it’s an art form defined by our country’s do-it-yourself spirit through combining dedicated scientific research and passionate culinary engineering. According to the American Homebrewers Association, there are approximately 1.2 million homebrewers in the United States after every state had legalized the act in 2013. Just as craft beer opens you up to whole new world of flavors, there’s infinite number of possibilities when you realize what you can make with your first homebrewing kit. And as you ignite this new exciting hobby, you really start to appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into the industry as a whole.
When friends get together at a bar and begin drinking beer there’s no telling where the conversation might go. From rehashing old stories, to a lively debate, to pondering even the toughest of life’s questions — anything goes when you’re drinking with friends.