Having grown up in San Diego and being in the immediate vicinity of great local breweries, I still failed realize just how awesome this city is when I comes to beer. My home brew adventures began about 13 years ago when I walked into my local home brew shop, Home Brew Mart. At the time, this small hole in the wall shop was overwhelming to me but I picked up a small brew kit, ingredients and rushed home to make a go of it. Not knowing much about beer, let alone brewing beer, my lack of patience brought an abrupt end to this trip. My first and only batch of home brew was dumped and I have no idea as to the fate of the brew gear I had bought just a few weeks earlier.
In early March, I was having with dinner and beers with friends at Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing Company. Given all the pints showing up at the table, our friend SP began to tell his tale of home brewing. At the time, he had only brewed a couple of batches, yet seemed to be selling his practice as if his life depended on it. I quickly realized, man, this guy is such a beer geek. I gotta check it out. By the end of the night, I had plans to see his next brew day in action. Two days later, I showed up at his house and began to experience what I had once started so many years ago; but this time, it seemed so much more legit.
I asked what he was brewing and it turned out to be a Red IPA extract kit with steeping grains from Austin Homebrew Supply. He gave me a quick rundown of the ingredients, process and served up cool vanilla crème ale he had brewed a month earlier. That was definitely a good way to kick the session off. There was brew gear everywhere. Brew kettle for the partial, bucket with sanitizer, thermometers, extract, steeping grains, a vile of yeast, pellet hops, wort chiller, scale to weigh hops and other things I was not that familiar. Without knowing much about what I was seeing, the brew day seemed to go smooth and before I knew it, he was pitching that vile of White Labs yeast into the carboy. A few hours after arriving, I left with inspiration to brew and a copy of The Complete Joy of Home brewing by Charlie Papazian. I have some reading to do and most importantly, some brewing to do.