|Jimmy Sharp measures his grain into the mill one recent |
Saturday at Xtreme Brewing
Hobbies can encourage factionalism by encouraging esoteric cliques defined in opposition to one another. Tribalism often is what makes hobbies sustainable and, for me, worth watching. What is hobby-ier than talking to passionate people who are willing to go to war over details an outsider barely can distinguish. For the homebrewer, however, the distinction is only between people who brew and people who don't. Among many if not most, that distinction can be amended to those who do not yet brew.
|You can't say homebrewers aren't at least a little self-aware|
Early mistakes, or even spectacular failures that occur among people who have been brewing awhile, are a point of camaraderie among brewers. Homebrewers could very well be the only hobbyist group bound together by embarrassing stories. The shared experience not only bonds homebrewers so easily, but also encourages them to push themselves and each other to become more daring brewers. This attracted me to homebrewing as much as did any other aspect of the culture (except the beer). They all want to make better beer and also want to help everyone else make better beer. Homebrewers are never discursive. Moreover, they tend to be gently honest about one another's beers. In this, they are almost aggressively encouraging.
|Shawn's hophead hat helps him concentrate.|
What always has set the Xtreme Brewing experience apart is, no matter how busy it gets, there is always time to help and no lack of resources. People have been brewing beer for thousands of years, there aren't a lot of unsolved brewing problems. This is what makes the shared experience so enticing. Almost everyone who has been brewing longer than you has had your particular problem. They recall the foreignness, the confusion, frustration and embarrassment that can be part of early brewing. Better, they retroactively thank the people who helped them stay with it by providing the identical gentle encouragement of novices. In fact, there is a great story on this week's Beer with Strangers podcast about that very thing.
The idea behind the Beer with Strangers podcast is to document and broadcast this bonding experience. Each week we'll have a guest of varying skill levels to share their latest brew and discuss their foibles and successes. In the process, we'll discuss brewing with Doug and he'll answer brewing questions. If there's time we'll also recount State of the Beer featured brewing news.
If you'd like to submit a brewing question (or arrange to call in with one) reach out to me here. If you would care to subscribe on iTunes, click here (your iTunes window will open, don't be afraid). If you are or know anyone who is interested in taking a brewing basics class (the class is free and lots of fun) have them reserve a space here. Taking a class is the best way to figure out whether homebrewing is for you. Many people take several before trying on their own at home. Click here for the Beer with Strangers show notes. The show itself is below: