As I am about to embark on my latest brew (a weissbier) I feel the ususal surge of excitement I experience at this point. So I ask myself the question 'what is it I love so much about brewing?' You might think the answer is 'to make cheap beer' Although that was why I started many years ago if that was the only or main reason I would still be brewing from tinned beer kits.
I have been full mash brewing for about 18 months now and everytime I have my latest recipe in the fermenter I am thinking about and planning the next one I will knock up.
An obvious reason for loving brewing is at the end of it I have a stash of beers to drink! Now ultimately this is what I brew for and I love nothing better to sit down and enjoy the fruits of my labour. But I wouldn't get excited before the mash if this was all I enjoyed.
So I obviously enjoy the process. I do enjoy preparing the ingredients, I enjoy the mash; checking the ph levels and seeing the sugars being broken down. I love adding the hops to the boil and the aromas they give off. I love seeing the yeast do it's magical stuff as the sugars are eaten and the ethanol and carbon-dioxide are produced.
But there is more to it. I am taking part in a tradition. I am doing something that has been done by our predecessors for 5000 years. Brewing your own beer was a way of life many many people. You can buy beers from microbrewers and know them inside out. You can go on brewery tours and learn about the brewing process from books. You can be an expert on all the different beer styles and variations but you don't really get into the soul of beer without making it yourself.
There is something very enriching about being part of that process and this is the real crux of it.
Now just to find some time to make this Weissbier!