Since moving to Colorado, the hubs and I have discovered the wonderful world of craft beer. Craft breweries are everywhere including at least 7 I can think of in our little town of only 60,000 people. If breweries aren’t your thing, just ask around because chances are you can pretty quickly find someone who is in to home brewing as well. Beer is king in Colorado!
Since we love the beer culture so much, it seemed only natural to try our hand at beer brewing. I added this little feat to my 40 at 40 list, got some recommendations from friends about brew kits, and set out with a goal of brewing the best amber ale ever!
We brewed our beer. The hubs had one of these beers and the rest of the bottles are still sitting in cardboard boxes in my office since being brewed 2 months ago. Ha ha! Below you will see my lessons learned during this little experiment.
- It is incredibly difficult to boil wort on a kitchen stove using the ridiculously large pot that comes with the beer kit. I think a small house could have fit into this pot. I struggled trying to get anything to boil in this pot. I had to turn on two of the burners on the stove so that heat could get to both sides of the pot which meant I had to move it around a lot so that the middle would get heat. If you are going to brew beer often, invest in one of those propane burners that you hook up in the garage and boil away!
- Sanitization is KEY! The brewing instructions will mention time and time again that dirty equipment is a quick way to ruin beer. Everything has to be sanitized with a cleaning solution mixed with water. Not a big deal unless you are type A like me. I constantly struggled with sanitizing a piece of equipment, accidentally touching it to another surface in the kitchen and convinced I needed to sanitize again. It reminded of my days as a nurse when you would get all scrubbed in only to have a nose twitch or accidentally touch something unsterile resulting in having to complete the process all over again. Yikes!
- Brewing beer takes a LONG time! Okay, a month isn’t that long but it seems like an eternity when you are waiting on beer. I am an immediate gratification type person and working for hours on something that has to sit for 2 weeks just so you can work on it again and then let it sit for 2 weeks again is really hard! It was sort of like cooking Thanksgiving dinner. You work so hard on it for hours that by the time it is ready, you have lost interest.
- Brewing beer is HARD! Sure, you get the instructions you need with the brew kit but brewing beer is really a science. I totally get why a lot of the brewers here in town were former chemistry majors in college. Holy Cow! A lot goes into it and the more you know, the better that beer is going to be.
- My home is not a brewery. Once the beer was finished, the hubs had a bottle. I had a few sips and that was that. I quickly realized that the allure of craft beer is the actual beer scene itself. Craft breweries are the American version of a community pub in Europe. Families go there. Games are played. Friends are made. There is nothing better than relaxing at a brewery on a Saturday afternoon with the kids all while enjoying a pint of some amazing beer that was just tapped the day before. Sitting at home with a home brewed pint just doesn’t compare to that brewery atmosphere.
Did I enjoy brewing beer? Sure. Will I brew beer again? Probably not. The process showed me that it really isn’t the beer I love so much but brewery atmosphere I love. I enjoy being able to grab a pint after work with friends or just enjoy the company of my husband while trying the newest beer creation by the local brewers.
This is the beauty of this 40 at 40 list. I get to learn new things some of which I will love and some I will not. It is all about growing and knowing that turning 40 isn’t about getting old but about learning about me all over again.