Yesterday, the Big Gnome and I made our first appearance at an Upstate Brewtopians meeting. This is the Greenville homebrewers club. Everyone was extremely nice and fun-loving, but this was definitely a case that illustrated “the more you learn, the more you realize you have to learn.” While there were some relative novice homebrewers there like myself, there were also many vets that had years of experience and “brewing systems.” Any time you have a system, you know it ain’t no joke. For instance, our host, Fred, built the system you see to the left. Yes, he built it. By himself.
Just sitting back and listening to these fellow brewers talk about beer and share war stories, it makes you realize just how infinite the world of beer is. At its foundation, brewing beer is actually a very simple process that requires only a little equipment. However, at more advanced levels it can get very precise and complex, and you can sink hundreds and thousands of dollars into this “hobby.”
When I started to think about all the equipment, temperature controls, sanitation, and ingredients, my head started to spin. It can be intimidating when you’re talking to a ten or twenty year vet and you realize how far you have to go. It wasn’t until today that I remembered why I got into homebrewing in the first place, to have fun and make some good beer. It’s easy to forget that when you are constantly planning ahead, thinking about what recipe to try next and what new equipment you need to buy.
Anyone can make good beer. You just need to take it from where you are and have fun with it. Don’t try to compare yourself with other people. Shoot, even my little-ol’ extract IPA got some good reviews from the Brewtopians yesterday. I’m really looking forward to getting more involved in this group and learning from the experiences of all the different members. There’s a long way to go, and I’m looking forward to the journey.