GUNNY G's: BEER, HOMEBREWING, FORUM, Etc.
BREW YOUR OWN BEER!
Back in California, I guess it was in the eighties that I first took notice of the new microbrewery/brewpubs, but I paid little attention to them. Later I found that they had spread to the eastern states, not just coo-coo California. (Well, by now, I guess I'd have to agree that all America is as nutty as Califonia was back then--oh well, that's yet another story.) Most of those brew pubs were basically combination restaurants and microbreweries, or something similar. This was where I first discovered new and different kinds of beers, and also how I soon became aware of and interested in homebrewing. I suspect this has also been the case for many other present and future homebrewers. Otherwise, I never would have considered homebrewing beers like the usual Budweisers and other nothing beers of America--well....maybe Sam Adams, and a few other notable beers that have come along since then.
I got a "Mr Beer" homebrew kit about ten years or so ago on Christmas, and became a homebrewer on and off since then. Later, I started using a 6.5 gallon bucket system for larger batches. Nothing real fancy or complicated like the bigtime, uppity homebrewers with their glass carboys and other equipment, just extract brewing (preferably DME, maybe LME if I can get it fresh). And still later I learned to also use some specialty malts that only have to be steeped (like making tea, not "mashed"), and simply added to the wort, but it makes a big difference in the finished beer.
Remember, back during prohibition people were brewing their own beer in their bathtubs, washtubs, etc., and getting by OK. And, back through the ages, beer has been brewed--by both master brewers of the day, and by the common folk using....God only knows what primitive methods. During prohibition this was done illegally. Since President Jimmy Carter's time, it has again become legal for Americans to homebrew their own beer, within certain limitations.
Hombrewers sometimes like to name each and every kind of beer they brew. Probably a good idea since recipes are often modified from one individual to another, and from one batch to the next. Myself, I simply refer to all my brews as McG's Ale by Gunny G! (Since I brew only ales--good fer what ails ya)
Many "advanced " homebrewers turn their noses up at the thought of basic extract brewing, and certainly also things like the Mr. Beer kit, for example, etc. (Nothing wrong with the Mr Beer keg/fermenter, and you can buy your makings other than Mr Beer if you want to).
They (the uppity, snob homebrewers) have more dos and don'ts than a dog has fleas--some of these are all well and good, but too much snobbery involved for this old Jarhead! Myself, I like to go by the old KISS method in most things--Keep It Simple, Stupid! (KISS). I am content with the more simplified methods and I brew some pretty darned good Scotch Ale, Irish Stout, and Pale Ales, etc. I've learned a lot, but still consider myself an amateur who makes some good beer to meet my own tastes/standards only. Understand, I am neither an expert on homebrewing by any means nor am I qualified to advise anyone as to specifics on this topic. I would, however, like to see more people get involved in the craft, and whatever information I post here is solely for your information and discussion, etc. only and not intended otherwise.
Lately, it seems to me, that there are more and more folks getting into homebrewing, and more websites and local homebrew supply shops springing up (except close by where I presently live). I recall, while living in Rochester, NY back a few years, there was a fantastic place called "Beers of The World." They claimed over 2,000 beers of the world available on the premises; and I believe it, having become a regular visitor/customer there. In addition, they had the best stocked homebrew supplies I have ever seen. Now, there are many Internet, order online, homebrew supply sources for homebrewers. Right now, there is a shortage of hops, hops being one of the four essential ingredients for beer--water, malt, yeast--and hops. In addition to economic considerations, many homebrewers 'brew their own' due to being able to choose for themselves, experiment, and tailor their brew according to their own likes and dislikes, and they (we) all say it's fun.
And a bad year for hops, due to weather or whatever, and now made worse by the fact that much of the hop-growing world-wide has converted to growing corn--this due to the present ethanol (from corn) craze. This is causing more demand than supply, along with resulting price increases, etc. Some say this is expected to also affect the entire beer industry in that the production of grain itself used exclusively for malt in beers is also affected. All of the above factors are bound to result in even higher prices for beer down the line, I think, and likely that more people may turn to the hombrewing alternative.
Already, many homebrew shops are restricting the amount of hops sold to each customer. Some homebrewers already grow their own backyard hop plants, and, I suspect, more will begin to do so. So, since I already have a number of websites regarding various other topics, I decided I would now add a site on homebrewing. The following are some links to various homebrewing and beer-related sites that I have found useful. I may continue to add more links as I find good ones.These links can explain far better than I can the various ins and outs of beers and homebrewing.
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R. W. "Dick" Gaines
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