Beer is awesome. Making your own beer is even more awesome. I have found homebrewing to be a very rewarding hobby over the past 5 years or so I’ve been doing it. It has even led to a fun and profitable side hustle for me. But just in case you need more encouragement, here are five reasons you should start homebrewing today.
Five Reasons to Start Homebrewing Today
1. Save Money
The craft beer revolution is great. I spent my college years (and too much of my 20s) drinking cans of Busch Light out of a cardboard box stuffed in my fridge. I’m eternally grateful to now have a large selection of better beer, but my wallet is less enthusiastic.
Cheap American adjunct lager (Bud, Miller, Coors etc…) may taste like crap, but it often costs as little as $0.50 per can. Craft beer, on the other hand, can range anywhere from $10-15 for a typical six pack. Where I live, some breweries sell 4 packs for $20 or more!
So how can you enjoy great brews without breaking the bank? Easy- make your own!
Yes, there is an upfront equipment investment, but you can put together a budget home brewery for $100 or less, especially if you pick up some items used. The cost of producing the beer can vary depending on the style and particular ingredients, but you can expect to spend anywhere from $20-40 for a typical 5 gallon recipe. This equates to roughly $0.40-0.80 per 12 oz beer.
Considering the price of most craft alternatives, $0.80 homebrewed beers are a bargain! Plus, if you design your own recipes, buy in bulk, and reuse yeast, you can drive that cost even lower.
2. Brew What You Like
I like having control. Whether it’s designing experiments at work, or building a burger for dinner, it’s nice to choose exactly what you want. Homebrewing affords you the same opportunity with your beer.
During the first homebrewing revolution in the 80s-90s, the reason many people got into the hobby was availability of good beer. At that time, the selection of beer outside of the macro lagers was extremely limited. People started brewing their own beer in order to create styles that they couldn’t readily buy, such as German Pilsners and Belgian Abbey ales. The options are limitless when you get to design your own recipe.
Nowadays, availability is no longer a problem. If you want a Hefeweizen or a Czech Pilsner, even the local grocery store will have it. Still, the ability to create whatever you want is still a nice perk of brewing your own beer.
3. The Social Benefit of Homebrewing
I didn’t know this when I first started brewing beer, but homebrewing is a very social hobby. There’s something about the act of mashing/boiling wort in the hopes of it someday being an alcoholic beverage that invites camaraderie. People love to hang out around a kettle and bullshit, while drinking beers (of course).
In addition, it’s likely that there’s an active homebrew club near you (find yours here). These clubs serve as support groups and a beer-centric social network. The amount of help I’ve received from my homebrew club over the years is incredible. It’s really enjoyable to attend meetings, share our beer, and discuss the techniques and ingredients that went into our creations. Not to mention, club members will often host each other for weekend brew days, where we can share even more beer and further discuss the craft. It’s a virtuous cycle (of beer)!
One final unintended social benefit of homebrewing is the ability to bond over my hobby. I can’t tell you how sick I was of showing up at a party full of strangers and having to talk about my boring career. Who really wants to talk incessantly about what they do for a living to random people?!? Well ever since I started brewing beer and bringing it to parties, guess what? I don’t have to talk about my job anymore! I can talk about my beer, brewing methods and favorite styles instead. For someone who hates meaningless small talk, this is so much easier, and more interesting for everyone.
4. You Are Never Empty-Handed
Speaking of parties- once you start brewing your own product, you’ll never show up to an event empty-handed again. Additionally, hosts and guests will appreciate your homebrew more, since it was hand-crafted with your planning, time and effort. It’s amusing to see how excited people get when you bring your own beer to a party. I think it’s the fact that you’re sharing something that can’t be obtained elsewhere; it creates a unique experience for those involved.
In addition to always having something to bring to a party, I’m also able to contribute to various other events with my hobby. I regularly brew and keg beer for friends’ parties, and neighborhood get-togethers. I also provide my homebrew to my friends’ stags/bachelor parties. I have donated beer and poured it at charity events and fundraisers. I often supply my friends for events that they go to, even if I’m not attending. Bottom line- craft beer has become the universal donor of the party world.
5. Embrace the DIY Movement
I’m a do-it-yourself type of person. I do my own repairs and building projects around the house, I grow my own vegetables, and I brew my own beer. There’s a certain satisfaction and pride that comes from producing your own goods or completing a project on your own. I like the crappy bookshelf that I made 10 years ago better than anything I could buy at a furniture store, mostly because I made it. Homebrewing fits well into the DIY culture.
Another facet of the DIY movement is resourcefulness. I grow hops in my yard for use in my late summer beers. I also have some fruit trees that add a local touch to my brewing, especially when I make sour beers. If my wife picks up too much fruit during her grocery shopping trip, I’ll just add the leftovers to my fermentor and see what comes out. It’s fun to experiment with different ingredients and flavors while honing your brewing skills. Even if your experiments don’t always turn out perfectly, drinking OK beer made at home still isn’t too bad!
So are you ready to get started? Check out my Homebrewing Guide for Beginners for more information on how to start making great beer today!