I recently played a basic icebreaking game with a class in which the speaker made three statements about him or herself, two of which were true and one which was a lie. My "lie" was "I run marathons for fun." It was a lie because although I do run marathons, I don't think there's anyone who does so "for fun." In my explanation (and experience), most marathoners run them because they're compulsive people who are willing to engage in a deliberately injurious activity out of a desire to do something relatively extreme - it's where people who want to exercise and also have addictive personalities end up.
I've started to think it's the same with homebrewing.
Does This Sound Familiar?
I've brewed beer while kegging/bottling a beer so that I have somewhere to put the beer I'm brewing right at that moment.
I couldn't tell you the exact date of five of my six nieces'/nephews' birthdays, but I can tell you the exact OG of the beer I brewed two days ago.
I've adjusted the heat/AC in our house to aid in fermentation temperature management (in the days before I had a temp controller).
I have two or more refrigerators on at least two levels of my home, plus two more in the garage.
I've scheduled social and professional events around when I need to be at a local homebrew shop to get supplies for a batch.
We have more than one room or area of our house explicitly dedicated to (and decorated for) homebrewing.
A solid majority of my friend group is comprised of members of my homebrew club(s).
I deliberately shop at three - no, wait, FOUR - different homebrew shops so that in a pinch, if I need something rare or special, I can call on a favor from an employee or owner at those shops.
Since I started brewing beer in April 2007 I've never - not once - been without beer of my own to drink.
Does this sound familiar? And does it sound sane? I'm seriously asking. I hang around with mostly homebrewers, and that's like being a coke addict who mostly hangs out with insomniacs with ADHD - you start to lose track of what's objectively normal.
Rubbing the Lamp
Fine - so we live in a pretty involved and involving subculture. But it's still culture, right? I mean, sure, this chews up time that could be spent at a museum, or hearing live music, or visiting family, but honestly, when was the last time anything constructive ever happened in any of those places?
Because say what you want about however you spend your time, but at the end of the brewing day, you know what I have? I have beer.
And that's like rubbing the lamp with the genie in it and being smart enough to ask for more wishes. When you're the guy/gal with beer taps coming out of your walls and with the fridge full of bottles and the head full of know-how, the world beats a path to your wort-stained door.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go pack up some herbs and yard clippings I've been drying on a windowsill for use in a hay-themed Saison for a Homebrewing Secret Santa brewing challenge.
And then maybe I need to make an appointment with a therapist.
Keep it simple.
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