Clive’s Beer blog – January-No. 1

It’s been a hard slog through 2020, but brewing at home doesn’t offend lockdown requirements, is good for mental health, so now might be the time to begin a wonderful hobby. You can buy most things online, but plenty of hardware stores that are currently open, stock your requirements. Try to support the retailers by buying online from a homebrew stockist.

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However, there are reasons not to brew. Here are a few, that are garbage.

  1. It’s expensive. Not normally true, unless you are a techno freak who wants a fully automated, gizmo rich, brewery. Generally speaking, more is less, when it comes to brewing at home, because brewing is about feelings and intuition, as well as knowledge. The more you observe and get to know your beers the better they will be. Most brewers start out using buckets and kitchen utensils that are in the house and if they live and love their topic, the first beer out the keg will be admirable.
  2. You need space. Space is good, but if you don’t have much, then taking over the kitchen is an option. It’s only for a few hours. I have brewed for 40 years on a dedicated space of about 1.5 square metres. Confined brewing is helped by a gravity fed system, and details on that can be found in my eBook on pale ale, or the paper version, The Craft of House Brewing.
  3. Homebrew is second rate beer. Not true, unless you are bad at brewing and not prepared to learn from your local club members, or you buy sub-standard kits to brew from. I have always been a grain brewer, but kits nowadays are better than they were when I started. Many are excellent! Ask your local club members or go on homebrew forums.
An old brewing warhorse, with infos on malting, hop gardens, yeast propagation and more.

And here are some undeniable truths.

  1. One drinks too much if one homebrews. This is personal choice and doesn’t have to be true. I found that making beer, just as when preparing food, makes one respect the elegance of a method, now at least 4000 years old. The quality of the product makes us treasure it and not want to binge drink. BUT! Cheapness and availability can lead one astray. A pint a night’s enough, especially as the best beers are highly hopped and have an OG above 1066. Watch out.
  2. Alcohol is a poison – true. No way round this one, so limit your intake.
  3. Beer is carb and calorie rich. Yep, but not as bad as one might think. I keep to a low carb diet for weight reasons and find that a glass of beer when I want one, is not a problem. Several glasses in an evening are a luxury best kept for special occasions.
  4. The peanuts etc. that we eat with our pint are the real carb carriers. Peanuts are moderate in carbohydrates but high in calories. I follow the advice of health professionals and put my peanuts in a small dish. I leave the large tin out of easy reach. Once again, it’s all about quantity.
  5. Crisps and similar are deadly and do more harm to your waistline than a pint or dish of nuts. Crisps are carb and calorie bombs, especially when we eat from the packet, which means, we eat until the packet is empty.
The history of pale ale and India ale brewing. Awesome beers

So start with a beginners’ text and work your way up to the top.

Here is a video to show you where you could be by next Christmas – and if you put some of your beer into nice brown bottles with fancy labels*, you will know what to give those difficult friends for Christmas 21.

And there is the next hobby*! DTP and photo editing to make beautiful labels! And if you recycle your brown bottles, you are suddenly into mindfulness and that makes hobby number 3!

Brewers’ wisdom. You share your brews with your mates, but you teach people you care for, to brew.

Next blog – Getting started. Follow me for notifications.

Published by Clive La Pensée

Clive La Pensée, ex-science teacher, recognised writer on history of beer, novelist, expressionist, dreamer, believer in never giving up, empathiser, hopeful for a future without class, gender or racial prejudice. It's tough and at the moment, one has to remember distance travelled, rather than where we are at.

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