This guest post was written by Jake Metzler, who spends his free time writing songs, brewing beer, and drinking his creations. He’s still perfecting the practice of doing all three at once. He also has a growing collection of brewing supplies.
So, you like to brew your own beer. And why wouldn’t you? It’s cost-efficient, tasty, and allows you to create something you enjoy. The process of brewing beer requires patience and discipline, but offers the reward of a unique brew of your own.
Drinking has always been a social activity, and brewing can be the same. If you’re friends with people who enjoy a nice drink (and you probably are), then there are a few ways you can make brewing a social event.
Those Who Brew Together
Of course the first and most obvious option is to brew with a friend. You can split the costs, labor, and bounty. In return, you get someone to help move jugs full of liquid, keep bottling tubes steady, and talk with while you wait for reactions to take place.
If you’re the first of your friends to catch on to the brewing craze, take the opportunity to become a teacher. Teaching is a great way to learn things yourself, and those who learn together create tight bonds. You still get someone to help you out with the heavy labor, and you’re creating a friend who you can talk with about the intricacies of your home brewing hobby.
Home Brewing Contest
A lot of cities are hosting beer festivals, allowing vendors from all over to display their wares to a new audience. As part of these festivals, there is often a brewing contest. Entrants pay a fee to contribute to the pot and cover administrative costs, and then they get their brew entered against other local brewers.
The benefit of this, besides the possibility of winning a prize, is to get critique on your product. Sure, you know that you like your beer, and you know your friends and family say they like it, but there is a lot to be said for having your recipe judged. Contest judges range from brewers to other professionals in the beer industry, so you will have the chance to be judged by a pallet that really knows what they’re talking about.
But maybe there’s not a beer festival in your area. Maybe you don’t want to pay the entry fee. Perhaps you’re not ready to expose your hard work to the judgment of strangers.
In this case, you can always put together your own brewing competition between friends. Here are the steps to organizing a successful brewing contest:
- Decide on a theme, whether it be stouts, fruit ales, IPAs, or whatever strikes your fancy.
- Set a timeline. When will brewing begin? When will the judging take place?
- Find judges. Ask your parents. Bribe your friends. Ask people at the local bar. It shouldn’t be too hard to find people to drink your beer.
- Fund Yourself. There are a couple of different ways to put together money for prizes. You can require and entry fee for anyone wanting to participate, and then split the pot. Another option is to invite friends and associates to taste (even give them some judging power!) and charge a small tasting fee. You could also do both.
Hosting your own contest takes a little work, but it’s a great way to get your homebrew judged against that of your peers by people you know and trust. It is a great stepping stone to bigger contests and also offers an opportunity to get together with friends.
Is home brewing a social or solitary activity for you? Discuss in the comments below.