Sunday, 22 October, 2000

More on Homebrewing

I like riding my bike, but not in the rain.  Since it rained all weekend, I decided to catch up on my brewing (see Oct. 21).  I brewed a traditional Mild Ale for a friend's party in a couple of weeks, and a rye beer for a Thanksgiving party that Debra and I will be attending.

Other than the dishes, brewing beer is the only thing I do well in the kitchen.  If I can do it in the kitchen, it doesn't require much skill.  The most important part is sanitation.  Anything you put in the cooking pot gets boiled, so general cleanliness is sufficient.  But anything that's going to touch the beer after it's cooled (like the bucket or jug that serves as your fermenter) must be as sanitary as possible.  You don't want to know what wild yeasts or bacteria can do to your favorite beer.  If you make sure to keep everything clean, you almost can't screw it up.  Perhaps the result won't be exactly what you expected, but it will most likely be drinkable.  Drain cleaner (stuff that's unfit for drinking) is almost always the result of bad sanitation.

Oddly enough, what I like the most about brewing beer is that it's so different from what I normally do.  Writing computer software and technical articles is exacting work.  "Good enough" usually isn't good enough when it comes to programming, but it's just fine for beer.  As the author of The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing says, "Relax.  Don't Worry.  Have a homebrew."  The other nice thing is that you can't hurry beer.  Unlike work, where I'm either trying to meet a deadline or trying to optimize the code, the beer is ready in its own time.  "Relax.  Don't Worry.  Have a homebrew."

I enjoy drinking the final result, but I think I get more enjoyment out of making it.