I brewed my first beer last January.
I consulted Wirecutter and then bought a five-gallon kit from Northern Brewer. I set aside a few hours one Sunday morning and attempted to follow instructions. Mistakes were made. But a month later, I popped the cap on an unmarked brown bottle, heard a familiar hiss and had a taste.
It wasn’t bad. Great isn’t a word I’d apply. It existed. It was an amber ale with not enough carbonation. My guess is it was a light beer. But it was better than I expected. Some of my craft-beer-loving friends sampled it and said it was mediocre.
That was the best compliment. Because it was my mediocre output. With more practice, I knew my brewing skills could ascend several rungs. I may never beat the masters but the beer could pass as beer.
Last Sunday, I returned to the kitchen and began a new batch. This time I’m brewing a New England IPA. I followed the “advanced” instructions, active fermentation is happening and I’m excited.
Brewing my own beer isn’t something I needed to appreciate craft beer. But it helps.