Written by James â€˜Dr. Fermentoâ€™ Roberts for The Anchorage Press
One of the quickest paths to the most intimate appreciation and understanding of beer is to make it yourself. This takes beer appreciation beyond simply reacting to sensory input from the frothy beverage that we love so much to actually becoming its creator and dabbling in the alchemy that makes brewing part science and part art. Do a little research and talk to the brewers at your favorite brewery and you’ll quickly discover virtually all of them started out as homebrewers and developed such a passion for it that they eventually bridged the gap between making great beer at home and making it a commercial endeavor.
As mysterious and metaphysical as brewing may seem, the process of making beer at home is actually pretty simple, affordable and fascinating. One of my trademark lines when explaining homebrewing to another interested beer lover is “if you can follow a recipe and make pancakes, you can make beer.” With minimal, locally available or even scrounged equipment and a handful of key ingredients you can make five gallons of very good homebrewed beer in a couple of hours. And, like any hobby, you can expand your homebrewing system over time to some pretty cosmic, highly sophisticated levels which approach professional miniature commercial systems the big boys use.
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