A Brewing Society
One of the reasons the hobby of home brewing is so popular is that you are not just taking up a pastime, you are becoming part of a closely knit society of home brewing that has its own culture, language and social structure that is unique to brewers alone.
Of course, the social aspect of drinking beer is well known. The infrastructure of pubs and bars that offers to patrons a place of comfort, friendship, fun and relaxation is about a lot more than just tipping back a delicious drink,. It is a part of our social fabric that goes back to revolutionary times when our most important documents were hashed out over a beer. And the importance of sharing a beer is just as powerful today as we all enjoyed thinking about that bar where "everybody knows your name" called Cheers.
So just as the social aspect of enjoying a beer with others is strong and well entrenched in our culture, so too is the art of making beer a deeply rooted part of society that goes back generations. That popularity has regular revivals and we are seeing a surge of interest in brewing today as all over the country brew pubs are springing up around delicious home grown beers that in many cases are far better than the mass produced beers that are heavily advertised during the Super Bowl.
This well developed and sophisticated brewing subculture not only will be of great help to you as you start to learn about becoming a home brewer yourself, it will become a society that is a lot of fun to be part of and where you may make friends for life as you share with others your love of making your own beer. In America the grass roots level subculture of home brewing is growing fast. This is no small concern to the big retail brewers who cannot possibly make the quality and rich kinds of beers that can be made at the local level. But this is a natural evolution as we follow our cousins in the UK where keg beers made locally dominate the world of beer consumption in a culture where pubs are a central part of the fabric of society.
One reason home brewing has such an appeal is the tremendous diversity of beers you can produce and the control you have over flavor, consistency and alcohol levels. In most cases, once you have your basic equipment for brewing beer, it is cheaper to make your own beer. And there is something satisfying about brewing up a big batch of beer to put back to ferment as you enjoy a five gallon batch you made last month. Beer brewers can become quite obsessed with flavor, color and "punch" and always be looking for new ways to become better at this fun and interesting hobby.
Whatever level of involvement in beer making appeals to you, you can probably find new friends in the beer brewing society that you can share your hobby with. There are beer brewing radio stations and ham radio channels devoted to helping amateur brewers share their secret recopies and solve each other's problems. And there are home made beer competitions that can really put some challenge that all on you to make that blue ribbon beer that rally makes the judges sit up and take notice.
So as you find yourself getting more and more enthusiastic and "caught up" in the fun of home brewing, don't be embarrassed by that because you can find a diverse assortment of other beer making enthusiasts to share your hobby with. So have fun, make friends, make good beer and above all, share your beer and your knowledge with others. Because beer is about more than good drink. It's about good times with good people as well.