The closest I’ve ever come to having a “Murakami Moment” was during the celebratory dinner after my high school graduation. We went to the Crescent City Brewhouse in the French Quarter. I’m not sure whose genius idea it was to take a bunch of 18-year-olds to a brewpub, but we had dinner (no booze, of course) and then went to Tipitina’s for an all night party: The real goal of the dinner and celebration was to keep us all out together somewhere safe with a moderate level of supervision.
But the damage had been done: As we were leaving the brewpub I caught sight of a giant mural on the wall that depicted the entire brewing process from grain to glass. (I can’t remember what it looked like, but in my mind it’s rendered by Diego Rivera.) I decided then and there that I would brew beer that summer.
Although the Internet was still in its infancy, John Palmer had already uploaded his book How to Brew, which had all the information I needed. Fortunately I also had two friends up for the challenge and a local homebrew shop that was willing to outfit us. (Alas, that homebrew shop did not survive Katrina. RIP Brew Ha Ha.)
We bought kits, boiled them up, threw them in a carboy, and sure enough they fermented for us. We never measured anything and only barely kept the fermentations at reasonable temperatures. That’s how I brewed for a long time until—13 years later—I finally managed to get through Ray Daniels’ Designing Great Beers and upgrade to an all-grain brewing setup.
But going all-grain wasn’t easy. You can still buy all-grain kit beer, but I was determined to brew less blindly than I had been before. It was also frustrating to dig through the resources for building equipment, many of which assume endless supplies of money.
Once I got everything going, I started putting together my own explanations. The result is “Goldilocks Homebrewing.” I’m not a great homebrewer (yet), but I am a good teacher and a decent writer, and if you’re just getting started, I can help you.
Pre-order now, and the book will be out on November 1st, which is conveniently Learn How to Brew Day!