Thanksgiving Week: Homebrewing

vOne event in particular is worth special note to be thankful for: when President Jimmy Carter signed the bill in February 1979 that made homebrewing legal in the U.S. This effectively launched a (home)brewing renaissance in the United States that can be traced in large part to Charlie Papazian‘s influence.

Today, 30 years later, homebrewing is a flourishing cottage industry, with supply shops and clubs and classes all over the country enabling people to brew great beer at home. One of the more appealing things about the hobby is that there truly is no limit when it comes to brewing: it can be as simple or as complicated as you want; you can brew clones of your favorite brands of beer, or invent completely new recipes; you can brew any style of beer you want—even “lost” or rare styles from around the world that might be impossible to otherwise experience.

For all the appeal the artisan aspect of homebrewing presents, I’m also thankful for the practical knowledge it has afforded me. Brewing beer is a hugely practical skill! I’ve joked that when the world goes post-apocalyptic, knowing how to brew will be the new currency—but it’s true!

(Of course, I’m not in any hurry to test that theory… the “Road Warrior” was a good movie and all, but I’d rather not have to boil the wort in a cracked toilet bowl over an open flame…)

It’s a hell of a hobby, one that lets me indulge in creativity and science with the best results of all: beer!