My 100 plus drinking buddies
When people learn you make your own beer or wine, their first thought is “How much do you drink?” This question is usually couched inside a condescending voice saying “You must be an alcoholic!” When they hear my answer, “a couple of beers a week” their reaction is usually shock. Where does all the alcohol I make go? In my case, it goes to my 100 plus drinking buddies.
The social neighborhood
My neighborhood, Bradburn Village, is unusual in that it is very social. It is a new urbanist neighborhood, where the design encourages interaction between neighbors. The design includes front porches, recessed sidewalks, several parks, and nearby businesses to increase walkability. These features also encourage the neighborhood to be much more social.
A neighborhood like this is perfect for the homebrewer. An average homebrew batch is usually 5 to 6 gallons, which makes about 40-48 pints of beer. Averaging one beer a night usually means that a batch will last more than a month. Maybe less than a month if there are two drinkers in the house. A 5 gallon keg of my beer might not last the full length of one park party.
At first a bunch of thirsty freeloaders might sound like a bad thing. It really isn’t. I am not interested in hoarding my beer. Homebrewing is a hobby that I get to share with my friends. It does mean that I get to drink less, but it also means I get to meet more people. We usually come out for park parties every Friday night during the summer months. This allows the neighborhood to come out and meet each other while the kids run around and play. Everyone gets to let loose a little after a long week, and everyone is close enough to walk back home. No one has to drive after a few beers.
What’s in it for me the homebrewer?
But why is this great for a homebrewer? I like many different styles but without my neighborhood, I couldn’t possibly try making every one. Since I go through several kegs of beer a month, I get experience making many different types of beer. I can get a feel for which recipes are worth making, which ones are easy or difficult, and which recipes I like.
I usually make the beer right outside my front porch. It encourages people to stop by and see how the beer is made. Since the neighborhood is still in development, I’m sure it attracts the interest of prospective homebuyers – for better or worse!
At each neighborhood party I also get honest immediate feedback on my beer – sometimes too honest. For example one lady approached me at our local Oktoberfest; we throw a final party to end the summer each September. She informed me that she did not like the Tripel (a Belgium style beer), because she liked beer with flavor not alcohol. When I asked her what beers she preferred, she replied “Coors”. You can’t please everyone.
Even without the feedback, I can tell how popular a beer is just by how fast the keg is drained dry. I have even encouraged several other people in the neighborhood to start homebrewing. This means I get to try even more different beers, and it creates a local homebrewing community. That is really what the beer is about, community.
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Credits and Links
I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby!