Why I homebrew, for me, is at first glance a hard question to answer. When a friend or family member asks me this question I like to make a smart aleck response along the lines of “why do you breathe?” The answer is invariably something like “because I have to.” Making beer is not that much different for me. Homebrewing is something that I love doing, it is a part of my identity, and it’s my job. I am the manager for Austin Homebrew Supply. Believe it or not, it’s more than that.
As I am naturally a Do It Yourself person, homebrewing fits right into my lifestyle. I change the oil in my car, do the yardwork and landscaping myself, build personal computers from component parts and I built the solar heater to my pool that snakes across the roof of my house. So, in late 2010 when a buddy of mine decided he wanted to make his own beer, I thought, “Why not? I needed something to drink while floating in my pool.”
At the time I was fond of drinking a German beer “Aecht Schlenkerla Urbock” which is a smoky beer without rival, it is almost like drinking a barbecued sausage. Our first rendition turned out okay. We started with a Cooper’s canned kit and added a lot of Rauch malt for a distinct Smokey flavor. It was nothing compared to the real Schlenkerla, but it was tasty, and from that moment on I was hooked. Since that first beer I have brewed pilsners, stouts, nut brown ales, porters, cream ales, pale ales and IPA’s. For you trekkies out there, I even made a Romulan ale that was as blue as the sky above and a wormwood beer that was…well crazy.
There is also a camaraderie among homebrewers that is unparalleled in other hobbyists or enthusiasts. Perhaps it’s the alcohol, but Austin and homebrewers in general have a vibrant community of brewers from all walks that are very welcoming and willing help a new homebrewer brew better beer. It’s that camaraderie that has helped maintain my interest in brewing. Is homebrewing as vital as breathing, probably not, but I never want to abandon this great hobby.