I'm not the first to admit it, but I'm going to say it – I love homebrewing.
The thought of crafting a delicious style of beer from nothing more than water, grain, hops and yeast simply fascinates me and leaves me yearning for more. That's not to say that I don't have my days.
Yes, there are days that the idea of pulling all of my equipment out, sanitizing it, mashing, sparging, boiling and cooling, followed by cleaning it all and storing it again, by myself, is daunting. I'm sad to say that it has, on occasion, delayed some brew days.
The answer to that, of course, came on its own. As soon as friends heard I was brewing, they were more than happy to come and drink beer with me and help as I brewed. Brewing with friends, or as I like to say beering with friends, is always a step up and a pleasure.
Beering with friends has helped me progress from kit-brewing to all-grain. As one of my fellow brewing buddies frequently says, “You figure it out, and I'll help you do it.” Those brewdays are infinitely more epic than those that stand alone. This is only the beginning though.
For several months now, many of my beer-related friends have been asking me if I have met a certain individual. Let's call him Johnny. My fateful rendezvous with “Johnny” finally happened a few short weeks back.
Johnny is a fellow homebrewer who, at the time I met him, was just getting ready to jump up to all-grain the very next day. After some sharing of homebrews and conversations, an inevitable yet intriguing idea came up. We should have some brew days together.
Which leads me to the point of this post…
Beering with friends is a wonderful experience. You can teach what you know, get more people interested in brewing, and share in the mistakes along the way.
But brewing with fellow brewers who have carved their own path gives you an added bonus! Now you can learn from each other. As you see how the other person addresses, say, stuck mashes, you can incorporate that knowledge with your own. Yes, SHARING information, making each other better.
I cannot tell you how exciting this whole prospect is for me. There isn't really a homebrew club in my neck of the woods. So while the idea was out there, it never stuck with me how valuable said clubs can be. So reach out to friends and clubs in the area. Get together and make great beer!
To take it to another level, imagine now the levels of beer geekdom you can accomplish. Johnny was just gifted an old bourbon barrel from a distillery. He said, “that's going to be a lot of brew days to get that full”.
Now, with the power of TWO set's of equipment, that barrel can fill up quicker! Epicness will indeed follow!
How far do you take it?
The next logical course of thinking would be to start sharing expenses with equipment. 2+ people's funds could buy bigger and shinier things than one person's funds could.
Here's where the debate starts. Sharing information is great and I am all for it. However, if you share resources and buy equipment, who gets them? I mean, friendships could deteriorate, people move. When that happens, who get's the goods?
I can see going in together with several people on consumables, and getting better deals on grain bills and hop purchases, etc. Equipment though, I'm not sure. That's where the power of the community comes in.
What do you think? Should equipment be purchased together? Where is the line drawn?