Without wishing to sound like a pretentious prick, we first got turned on to craft beer one summer in New York.
Before that summer, if we thought of beer, we thought lager. Usually Becks or Corona, something fresh and light. Maybe a Warsteiner if we were feeling fancy. It wasn’t really anything to get excited about, beer was just beer – just a cool refreshing drink mainly reserved for BBQs and festivals. You know, summer.
Manhattan was a revelation. We’d never been anywhere where they discussed beer attributes with the same enthusiasm usually reserved for fine wines or artisan gins. You could even try a bit, to see if you liked it, just like wine. They had seasonal beers, and organic pale ales, and talked about hops. They talked about hops a lot.
When we got back to England, we discovered there had been a whole craft beer movement going on, for ages, right under our noses. Breweries like Cloud Water, and Brew Dog, and Beavertown were producing some beautiful beers.
Needless to say, we’ve been a bit squiffy ever since.
As a birthday treat, we bought a Micro Batch IPA Kit from the Homebrew Depot. Seeing they also offered brew school days, we thought it prudent to have a lesson first, and off we trotted to Hackney.
Doing a day like this is a really good way to start your new career as a micro-brewer. It gives you the chance to see the whole process first-hand and ask questions, rather than starting out with a set of printed instructions.
Instructions are helpful and everything, but if you’ve ever assembled flat pack furniture, you’ll know how hard they can be to follow. Even with pictures.
Plus, brewing comes with its own weird dialect, which isn’t dissimilar from elvish.
It’s certainly essential to start in this way, but it’s a fun, social way to give yourself a head start, and you come away with a gallon of beer ready to bottle at home too. The hardest part is remembering everything you’ve learnt after all the beer you’ll pour down your neck.
If you’d like to go to Brew School, I recommend Homebrew Depot’s day at the Adam & Eve in Hackney.