Having worked in bars and restaurants through my late teens and early twenties, it would be impossible to count the number of beers I’ve tasted, served and seen thrown over blokes faces (moonlighting in the Rovers Return). It’s fair to say that I have a relatively good palate these days, I know what I like and I know how to find those beers that really hit the spot. So here’s the problem… It turns out I have incredibly expensive tastes and being born with a natural love of super hoppy (American style) strong ales has proved to leave me fairly tight when the rent is due. The way I see it, I have three options:
Settle for cheaper inferior beer. (No thank you!)
Take out a bank loan. (Somehow I don’t think Halifax will understand my struggle.)
Grow a beard, tie my hair into a topknot and learn how to brew my own beer.
Hang on, that last one minus the beardy hipster doesn't sound so bad, I mean how hard can it be? Every time I go into a pub there’s a new microbrewery showcasing it’s fantastic new porter. So what’s next? Well, here’s my step by step guide to becoming a hop loving beer brewing hipster, or as I like to call us: ‘Hopsters’
1. Google everything!
A good one to start with is ‘How to make beer’. This will give you the basic understanding how beer is made. Once you see there’s only four basic ingredients it seems even easier!
2. Buy yourself a homebrew kit
WARNING! These things don’t come cheap at all so now is the time to commit. I've scoured the internet for the best starter kit and the homebrew forums seem to conclude that you get what you pay for and anything over about £40 should be of good quality (there are bound to be exceptions I'm sure). This often does not include your first set of ingredients so be aware that this will be an extra cost
3. Read the instructions
Then read them again, and again, and once more for luck. Make sure you understand every word before you start because once the process has started you may not have time to go back and understand what is happening.
4. Source your ingredients
There are loads of homebrew forums and guides all over the internet with great recipes and tips, so as a hop lover, I ordered a small batch of citra hops as they match my pallet and in pellet form it seems you can just add them to your brew.
So this is as far as I've got, my only criticisms so far would be the cost involved before I know what my beer will taste like and the fact that the ingredients available seem to be in much larger quantities than I need to “dip my toe” in home brewing. Having said that, I have my kit and ingredients and it's fair to say that I'm excited to get started. Watch this space to hear about my progress.