Whenever you start a major new hobby, its best to take a few minutes and think about what you are getting into. A lot of new hobbies require a significant investment of time and money. This is certainly true of golf, skydiving, scuba and home brewing. So along with a plan on how to get started, its good to have a good plan for getting ready to plunge into home brewing full scale. If you have a road map for “checking it out”, you can determine if home brewing will fit into your lifestyle and your budget.
“Looking before you leap” means that you find out what it means to be involved in the hobby or sport as a full time member of that hobby community. When it comes to home brewing, that will only happen when you too can make your own beer at home. And when that time finally gets here and you can play with the recipes and make the taste of your own beer very unique, that will be an exciting moment for you. But a mature approach to this very adult hobby means checking it out and knowing the investment of time, money and space in the home before you spend your first dollar to get set up as a home brewer.
An easy and fun way to ease into the hobby of home brewing that doesn’t cost a cent is to begin to network with those who are already well into their passion for making beer. You can find forums online to use to learn more about getting started. And there are almost certainly a number of home brewing societies and clubs in town that you can find out about online or through your local retail brewing supply store. These social connections will be people who are very much “evangelists” for home brewing because they know the fun of it. So you will get plenty of chances to sit in with a new friend to step through the brewing process and not only learn what equipment you will need but how it is used as you get training from an “old pro” in home beer making.
Once you have gotten some basic training the free route through home brewing gurus, the time will come when you are ready to consider buying your own equipment and taking a stab at it yourself. But you have already witnessed that home brewing is a big event in the house filling up the kitchen, the refrigerator, making a mess sometimes and requiring places to store, refrigerate and ferment the beer in the various stages from ingredients to finished product.
So it is important that the hobby of home brewing not just be your solitary passion but if at all possible you get the family into the act. If they can attend meetings at the home brewing club or go to competitions or other events that are all about home brewing, they can catch the same enthusiasm you have. That enthusiasm will be very important particularly in your significant other because each brewing session will be a major event in the house involving the kitchen with lots of pans and bottles and equipment. So having your wife or husband fully onboard with the process and even working on it together makes the fun of home brewing even more fulfilling.
Another area of looking before you leap is to plan out not only how you will use all of the equipment you will buy but how you will handle issues of storage. It’s a very pragmatic concern but if you bring in this arsenal of beer making equipment. Between batches it is going to have to be somewhere. And while you will enjoy that equipment a great deal, you don’t want it to dominate the home.
By getting a feel for the equipment when you are preparing to start your home brewing hobby, you can prepare a storage space for the equipment when it is not in use. Think ahead about storage for the fermentation phase of brewing as well as storing up to five gallons of beer per finished batch. But by thinking ahead, when you become a very active home brewer, you will have your family and facilities all ready for the changes. And that is looking before you leap into the exciting world of making and enjoying your own home made beer.