Thursday, July 23, 2009

What I Brew, and Why I Brew It

This topic has come up several times recently, and I felt that after some contemplation I should express my views.

The reasons I brew are many: I enjoy the actual process. Frequently, brew days are socializing times with friends. The "puzzle" of what style would be good, and what ingredients should go into making it, is enjoyable. And, of course, there's the end product. I brew beer at least as good as, and often better than, what I can buy. The beer I brew is also less expensive than store-bought, something I've put some time into achieving. And, finally, it's enjoyable to gather a group of my friends together, throw some meat on the grill, and have a good time--lubricated by some of my brew.

Something I don't care for, however, are those who drink solely to get drunk. Add to that group those who insist on only brewing highly alcoholic beers--constantly striving for over-10% batches. I'll admit, I've made a number of strong batches; I certainly don't think strong beers are inherently "bad." But I think that to truly call oneself a brewer, while limiting oneself to a single "style" (if "big" can be called a style), is to define "brewers" somewhat narrowly. There is great variety in smaller beers, and much complexity. They can require significant finesse. And they can be sublime.

All that being said, there is, of course, a place for everything. I'll be hosting a "Winter Warmer" competition at an event in January; I hope to have a good turn-out, and to see lots of really tasty brews. I may have some of my own to sample, but I won't be entering anything myself, of course (since I'll be running the comp). I should think about doing one for lighter, "lawn-mower" beers in the summer...

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