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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Homebrew: An Explaination

A lot of what I say on the air is just for fun.  Well, ok, I'm lying. SOME of what I say on the air is just for fun, and it rides the line between what I'm about and what I think will get a reaction.  I'm not racist, but I do operate off of stereotypes, and I think those lines are fairly blurry.  If you really think about it and stop worrying about feeling guilty, you'll come to the same conclusion.

Specifically I'm talking about homebrew, today.  We can discuss my shitty views on race another day (though if one group isn't supposed to win, they shouldn't call it a race ...), today I want to address Homebrew.  I bad mouth homebrew a lot on the show.  Is it for fun?  Profit?  Just to be a dick?  Well, yeah.  And so much more.

If you are really honest with yourself and think back to the last homebrew club meeting or NHC.  Really try to remember how the beer tasted then.  Remove the fact that you or your friends made it, or that you have any ties to the hobby at all.  Would you buy that beer? 90% of the time the answer is "No", but a "No" said through a rising column of bile deep in your throat.

Ok, stop being offended and let me explain.  Just because something is bad does not mean it is without merit.  I like homebrewing, and I do it often.  I think the hobby is a good one and it promotes learning about biology and science and all that stuff.  Even if the product can be ... less than stellar.

I just tasted two homebrews, sent to me by two homebrewers who listen to the show.  One happened to be a clone of my oatmeal stout.  Both were good beers, with some flaws.  But even with those flaws they were above and beyond most things I have at homebrew gatherings.  Why is that?  I really want to know.  Why do people insist on bringing their contaminated beer to events?  They have a club, does their club just not say anything?  Do they not know?

Drinking these beers made me realize that there is a lot of beer out there, and regardless if it's good or bad, people are trying hard to make things they don't normally see from a commercial brewery.  Whether or not that is a good thing remains to be seen.  But next time you hear me go on about how homebrew sucks, I hope you can cut me some slack, and also realize that I'm probably right.

some people are having a hard time understanding my point.  Greg.  And I get that - most times I am just shooting from the hip, without an outline or bullet points or even a clue as to what I'm saying.  Which is why I picked the name I did for this blog.  Most of these posts are just written thoughts. Anyway, I'm not saying homebrewing is bad and you shouldn't do it.  I'm saying that there are shitty homebrews going around the world, and we are afraid to say that.  The beers I had today were pretty ok, but they were trying to get better, and that is the point - improve.  Or not.


  1. Hey buddy,

    I know you have 10,000 times the exposure I have to homebrew but I feel the need to make some obvious comments.

    I homebrew because I love beer and I enjoy the connection to the process. Bringing shitty homebrew to meetings is foreign to me because I think the local homebrew club is full of douches. Either way I'm highly critical of myself so I wouldn't do that any way.

    I've had some pretty good homebrew and I'd like to see how far I can take mine towards being truly great.


  2. I rarely send a beer back after ordering. and if I am there really is something wrong with it. it shouldn't look cloudy, have hops floating in it, be that flat or smell like skunk. these things should not be the way any commercial beer looks or tastes. if it's bad I'm not drinking it. nor should anyone else.

    with homebrew every single part of it needs our attention. opening the bottle should be the first clue. what does it smell like. pouring it into the glass is next. what do you see? how did it pour. is there a head.

    but here's the thing. most people aren't paying attention. they haven't had to pay attention. beer comes out of the tap, bottle, can and it's always perfect. so the expectation is that the homebrew is just like the beer we drink every day. because homebrew is often not the style of beer your friends are drinking they gulp it down thinking "maybe this is what beer is supposed to taste like." or "I don't like this but he's my friend so I'll just shut up now." or "I'm going to fart cats for the next week. dammit! why did I drink this?"

    I think the methodology that applies to brew pubs and microbreweries should not apply to home brewers. that is, "we drink our mistakes!" it's not always economical to dump 15 barrels of beer just because it's not [insert 1 of a 100 problems]. if it tastes, looks, smells and bubbles like "a beer" then slap a funny name on it, put it on the board and sell it. but home brewers don't have that investment or potential upside. we should encourage people to skip serving bad beer.

    and maybe beer judges need to be more quick to mark bad beer. I've read lots of score sheets were the judge is trying to hard to praise what is in front of them. "out of all this bad… I liked the color and the head looked good." so what?! we should never say anything nice about bad beer.