The Session (aka Beer Blogging Friday) is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic.
This month’s session is hosted by Ryan Newhouse at Montana Beer Finder, who wants to know how we love beer. Not why, but how. So we say we love good beer but how do we show that?
So how do we love beer? and when I say we I mean me. How do I love beer?
I love beer by putting myself out, in pain, by stretching my wallet, by doing things that are not comfortable or sensible. I put beer first. Oh god this will start sounding like a Hugh Grant movie script if I don’t start putting some more substance around it.
Did I mention its been a long week in the office, I may have had a beer or two more than I needed last night and I’ve had to try to fit 5 days work into 4 days thanks to the Australia Day long weekend?
Back to how I show I love good beer. I show it through my actions, many of which are related to making the damn stuff.
I’ve completed a Graduate Certificate in Brewing, meaning I had to go back and think about things like HACCP plans and amino acid pathways (oh how I hate biochemistry). The time and expense involved in this was all for my love of beer.
All the cuts, burns, scrapes and bruises from manufacturing and cleaning brewing equipment, and lugging around kegs and bottles. Stainless steel splinters are a bitch. Full kegs and fermenters are just that weight that you can lift them but with a dodgy back like mine there is always that moment when you can feel your back just about to go twang. Dont start me on the cleaning products (read semi toxic chemicals). The pain and the scars are all for my love of beer.
The heartache and mental anguish that comes from striving for perfection in my beer. Stuck mashes, infected batches, spilt beer, marks missed, hop blend not quite right, malt balance so close argh!!!! it’ll all break your heart. The time, effort and waiting that goes in all for something that just may not happen. I lost a batch to an infection just a couple of weeks ago, my Something Sexy in French Saison, such heartache, RIP to the beer. I put myself through all this for my love of beer.
The logistics of making beer for me are a bitch. I have a 350km round trip if I am to brew beer. Then another 350km round trip to package it. I brew in my parents wool shed on the farm. At times I am kicked out of my brew house so the sheep can be shorn, at other times well-meaning individuals move things, buggering them up. This means I can’t just brew on a whim, when I have 3or 4 hours spare. I hate planning. My girlfriend also likes to see me sometimes, but understands that I love to brew. So my brew day is 4hrs of driving, 4 hrs minimum of brewing, and I have to plan the recipe and order ingredients ahead of time. I put all this time and planning in for my love of beer.
So without even getting into all the wandering to far-flung bars and bottle shops checking out new and exciting beers, often shelling out more than a fair amount for something that just often enough hits the highs that its been talked up to. I mean who lines up to get into a bar full of blokes with beards? (OK probably hipsters). All this chasing is for my love of beer.
So all this and why do I do it? (yes I know thats not the question but bugger off, I’m on a roll here). It’s for those zen moments when the brew day is going perfectly, when the first taste off the fermenter makes you smile, when the drive home to brew has nothing but awesome tunes or Kerry O’keeffe calling the cricket on the radio, when the new release beer takes your fucking head off, when one of your beers wins the cat and dog show and takes a prize. They are my Zen moments when how I love beer pays me back.
I love my beer so damn much I’m even looking into trying to make the stuff commercially despite all the sensible thoughts in my head suggesting that I wont make a cent out of it. Still I’m in for it. Beer seems to make a fool out of me, I guess love does that too.
I call my brew time my zen time, I think I’ve hijacked the word from its original use, as some kind of religious state of goodness or happiness. I call by brewing time my zen time, and that’s how I think I love my beer, by going through all the trials and tribulations listed above and reaching my zen place.
Enough of this folly, need to order some malt now, oh and do some work.