The Gentle Art of Homebrewing

If you do find yourself stuck in suburbia under a mortgage after a somewhat restless, carefree, roaming life, there’s some comfort to be had in the gentle bubbling of the beer fermenter in the corner. That constant bubble and pop of escaping carbon dioxide that results from yeast at work to produce another greatly comforting beverage — beer. The bubble and pop that also oddly marks the passing of time against a soundscape of screeching birds and traffic as others head off to work. As the fermentation slows so does the bubble and pop, drawing to the end of another phase of beer making.

Homebrewing is for me a chance to be creative; a satisfying recipe to prepare. It’s an instinct for approximation, a nose and a taste developed over steaming, boiling pots of wort in different backyards over the years. It’s a little manual labour in an urban male’s automated world. In winter it’s lagers and in summer, ales.

And the end product is always entirely worthwhile. When the beer is made, time to sit, drink and reflect. Unwanted flavours? Did I rush this brewing step? Did I take enough care? Meditation on a brew being somewhat a metaphor for meditation on one’s own larger and often more complicated life.

These days my brews are very drinkable. They may not be to your taste, but I didn’t make them for you. Like all hobbies, brewing is something reserved for ourselves in a world where others increasingly devour a lot of our time. I’m sure, though, if you like beer, you’ll like mine.

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