Home Brew Happy Place
Have you ever experienced what it feels like to be with someone in their happy place? A zone where everything has a function, a reason for being. The people within have a sense of calm, presence and purpose.
My friend John has such a space. You go over a mountain, wind down between trees and up a small valley to get to John’s man cave. Half of his double car garage is set aside for his life’s work, beer. Here, beer is brewed with and for family and friends, with love and attention.
A Spiedel Braumeister stands front and centre. A workhorse of a home brew setup, ready to take on anything that John dreams up. On this day Rhubarb is sliced, diced and added to the boil, hoping for some colour extraction and fruit character in the final “no fruit allowed” beer.
Once you have mastered the art of brewing as John has, the process of brewing becomes very spacious and relaxed. With the recipe predetermined, ingredients sourced, clean equipment and Braumeister programmed there is lots of time in between the short bursts of important brewing activity to sit on an empty keg, beer in hand and talk, but mostly listen. A brewer’s life, never dull, always a good story, always good beers wrapped in those stories, like how John met his wife.
Right on cue as the beer is drained into the fermentation vessel and equipment begins to get cleaned John’s family arrives home. The Mini slides into the other half of the garage. Kids jump out, squeal, grab scooters and race around with abandon, popping wheels and working on tricks. Hanna, name tag still pinned to her blue medical work shirt makes a B-line for the Saison tap and pours herself a well deserved glass of her wedding anniversary beer.
At one point Penny jumps off her scooter, squats down in front of the clear fermenter and declares the colour to be a “pretty orange-brown”. Far from the target “pink”. At least it doesn’t have fruit!
Through the rearview mirror John’s home recedes into the distance and the question arises: “Do people who make and sell toothpaste for a living have such a place and so much love for what they do?”