This is the space where I hope to document my experience of turning a patch of my country vegetable garden into an estate ale and all the projects and processes associated with that goal.
Beer: it’s fairly inexpensive, easy to find and is pretty tasty. So why would anyone want to make something you could pick up locally at a reasonable price? Well, lots of reasons, but for me the reason is the satisfaction that comes from making something with my hands that I, as well as others, can enjoy. And the fact that it’s fun doesn’t hurt either. When I share it with my friends, who happen to be some pretty awesome beer geeks, we share our thoughts, learn from one another and our knowledge and appreciation for beer grows.
Great, so if I already brew beer from ingredients that are readily available, why would I go through the extra hassle of growing stuff — that will take months — that I can get from my local home brew supply shop or online at a very reasonable price that only takes a few days to go from wherever I ordered it right to my door step? Much like the reason I enjoy brewing, watching something grow that started as a tiny seed grow into its first leaves and then into a plant I can harvest then turn into something else with little more than some patience, sunshine, water and a little luck is also very satisfying.
Anyone who has ever grown a tomato in their backyard will probably tell you their tomatoes taste way better than anything you can get at the supermarket. They are probably right too! Unlike supermarket tomatoes, you know exactly what has gone into growing them, you pick them when they are exactly ripe, and transport them from your yard to your kitchen (if they even make it that far) and enjoy them. While I doubt I can grow better barley or hops, I can control exactly what goes into them and the processing they receive before they find their way into my brewing equipment on their journey to become beer.
The pride that comes from making something, and the enjoyment that comes from growing something, combined with knowing exactly what is is I’m drinking is appealing to me. It combines some of my favourite things. Beer, brewing, and growing stuff. When people ask that question “what would you do if you won the lottery and you could quit your job?” I don’t even have to think about. It’s been the same answer for a long time now. I would be a gentleman farmer (its a real thing! someone who farms for the enjoyment but who has another source of income). The idea to grow my own beer seems like the natural meeting of three of my hobbies. I’ve had the idea for a while, and after successfully growing some hops that were way more productive than I could have possibly imagined I’ve decided it’s time to pursue the idea further.
At the end of the day, its all for the love of beer.