It’s hard to make great beer

Beer recipe close up.

In his post announcing the Session No. 71 on the subject of brewers and drinkers, John at Homebrew Manual says this:

The more I learn the less I enjoy mediocre beers, knowing how easy they are to make. Similarly, great beers seem all the more impressive now.

Since we started brewing, and especially since (to some extent) we got the hang of it, we’ve found that, on the one hand, we’re much harsher in our judgements of ‘craft beer’. We can make just about satisfactory but slightly wrong, disappointing beer at home — why should we pay top dollar for it? We certainly can’t bring ourselves to whoop or holler about brewers who seem to be running before they can walk.

On the other hand, we’ve also learned our own limits, and come to respect really expert brewers all the more. It is difficult to make beer without niggling little flaws; with full, rounded and dare we say clean flavours; and to do so time after time. These are beers we can’t deconstruct, made by people who are in complete control of their processes and understand their ingredients at a level we never will. We don’t take that for granted anymore.

This isn’t just a beer thing, though. Once you learn to make decent pizza or burgers at home for next to nothing, you become very resentful about paying someone else £8 for a crappy one, however ‘artisanal’ the presentation.

Bonus: here’s a previous post on why we brew; and this analogy works for us, too.