One of my not-so-secret shames as a beer writer is that I don’t home-brew. I know that may seem odd (if not inexcusable) for someone who occasionally purports to be an expert in zymology, but, in my defense, I’m incredibly lazy, unrelentingly cheap and thoroughly dismissive of hygienic practices. Those are seldom the traits in brewers of note.
That’s not to say I’ve never tried. Many moons ago, I inherited a rudimentary kit in which I produced the pilot draft of “Cat Sweat Lager,” a nod to the secret ingredient in Bloom County’s illicit scalp tonic. Of course, at the time, I had no idea I wasn’t actually making a lager, but I digress. The name was, sadly, apropos. We’ll just say that the most charitable assessment of this beer would land somewhere between “inoffensive” and “beer-esque.”
If cool devices like this were around when I was younger, I probably would have considered it. Not that I could have afforded it, at least not without capitalizing on a buyer’s market for my spare kidney. What I probably needed was a little expert advice, some education, some real forethought and planning and maybe someone to remind me that most everyone’s first batch is terrible.
In honor of the American Homebrewer Association’s upcoming Learn to Homebrew Day on Nov. 2, I wanted to remind people of the abundance of local resources we have to not only gear up, but to learn and share our love of malted barley and hops: