Pintwell is hosting this month’s Session and Jeremy has set out the question for home brewing bloggers as follows:
How did homebrewing change your view of beer? Do you like beers now that you didn’t before? Do you taste beer differently? Does homebrewing turn you into a pretentious asshole?
We have previously given this topic some thought, concluding that, as a result of brewing at home:
…we’re much harsher in our judgements of ‘craft beer’… we’ve also learned our own limits, and come to respect really expert brewers all the more.
A couple of years on, that’s truer than ever: we resent paying for beers that are no better than we could turn out ourselves and, unfortunately, quite often find ourselves saying of beers we’ve paid several quid for, “Ugh! If we’d brewed this, we’d have written off as a failed batch.”
Has it made us like beers we didn’t like before? Actually, yes — we were baffled by saison until we read Phil Markowski’s book Farmhouse Ales, at which point it snapped into focus: it’s all about the subtly funky, distinctive yeast. We’ve since brewed several batches which have not only been among the best beer we’ve ever produced but have also helped us understand and appreciate commercial examples.
In fact, more generally, one of the great benefits of home brewing has been getting to know different yeast strains, and coming to appreciate its contribution in a world where hops hog all the attention. We’re much more sensitive to yeast character, or its absence, than we ever were before.
We’ve gained huge amounts of pleasure from reading books about home brewing, which are among the best writing on beer, full stop. We’ve also enjoyed dabbling in advice and recipes, and researching its history — it wasn’t as important in the the rebirth of British beer as in the US, but it certainly played its part.
But, sadly, we didn’t need any help from home brewing to be pretentious assholes.