Bitten by the home brewing bug

No, that's a stupid title. That title implies that I somehow 'discovered' the joys of brewing beer, or brewing beer in my kitchen, or that I've never seen or participated in the process of brewing beer before. I have. I've brewed my own small (11 gal) batches at this cool brew-your-own place in Ohio called Buckeye Brewing, but then the owner sold it, and I never went back, and then I moved... I've made wine at home, so I know what a carboy is, and an airlock, and how yeast converts sugar into alcohol in this miraculous process that, ultimately, ends up meaning so much to me.

I've always been into beer. Well, not always. I've been into beer since I discovered real beer, beer that had been brewed with taste - with the exquisite experience that accompanies the enjoyment of a true beer - rather than profit motive in mind.

Unlike, perhaps, some people, I can't pinpoint the exact time and place of this epiphany. There was in fact no real epiphany. I do remember the first time I had a beer good enough, remarkable enough to remember. It was the very late 90s or very early 00s, and one of my promoter friends had booked Paul Oakenfold to play at what was essentially a club night. One of the stipulations on Oakie's rider was that a chilled case of Hoegaarden be provided backstage for, one would assume, his exclusive consumption - perhaps to improve his beatmatching skills. Regardless of the intent, myself and another dude known only to me as 'DJ Kevin' proceeded to help ourselves to the contents of the case. Hey, they weren't drinking it. Oakenfolds set was done, and it hadn't been nearly as good as the beer. We finished the entire case between us, and the promoter glumly informed me that it had been a $48 case of beer.

I remember thinking, "Hey, that might actually be worth it."

I didn't suddenly cultivate a taste for Hoegaarden, though. I was far too poor, and kept drinking the same things I'd been drinking before: PBR and The Beast. Hey, if you're going to waste your money on domestic beer, you might as well not waste your money on their advertising campaigns as well. Budweiser is swill. Inoffensive, 'drinkable', and certainly consistent, but swill nonetheless. This is a commercial product mass-produced in vast quantities using the cheapest possible ingredients, in the least amount of time.

It is at the opposite end of the spectrum where the beer connoisseur inevitably finds themselves. As Budweiser is to McDonalds, so the craft brewery is to the individual restaurant, a singular creation of a single chef, each dish tailored to a unique taste. Or, one would hope.

Somewhere amid this glow of idealism lies the true state of craft beer in America. From pseudo-craft startups launched or taken over by major domestic breweries, to legitimate microbrewery success stories that sell millions of gallons of high-quality beer ever year, there's a lot to choose from. Some of it fantastic. Some of it rather awful. The rest lies between.

The thing is, nobody in the region (as in, no other micro-brewer) seems to share my particular taste in beer. I feel that there is a void that must be filled. I want things exactly my way. When has it ever been any different? Of course, for now, I have to content myself with research and design spending, and test marketing. Naturally.