The fun of any private hobby or passion is knowing the secret language that goes with it. So if you had someone come to you and say, “You are really into that zymurgy stuff, aren’t you”, you may not know whether to thank him or slap him. But if you are beginning to get excited about the art of making beer at home, not only are you getting into “that zymurgy stuff”, you probably know a few major zymurgists as well. Zymurgy, for the trivia buffs, is the art of fermenting that leads to the production of beer.
There is a lot of fun in the hobby of making beer. Not only is it not a difficult process to learn, it’s rewarding to bring out bottles of rich tasting beer for your family and friends that you made yourself. And since most batches of home made beer produce five gallon brews, you will have plenty of beer for a small fraction of what you would pay for commercial beer.
But there is another level of fun about becoming an amateur brewer and that comes from discovering this whole new world of other brewers who are out there spreading the gospel of home brewing far and wide. The network of people who love to brew their own beer is extensive and well organized. Zymurgy is actually an international passion that goes back for thousands of years and reaches into just about every society. So by now as you begin to just discover the huge social world of brew makers, you are going to be amazed at the diversity and size of this culture that has existed right under your all this time.
The first group you should become a part of to become connected to the larger world of home brewing is the American Homebrewers Association. They operate an interesting, informative and up to date web sites about home brewing at http://www.beertown.org/ba/index.html. One of the best things you will discover on the AHA’s web site is a list of upcoming home brewing events all around the country. The odds are that somewhere in your geographic area there is an event being planed to bring home brewing enthusiasts like you together to trade methods, share recipes and generally celebrate this exciting hobby together.
As soon as you get connect to the AHA’s web site, your knowledge of beer making and the amount of information that is available to you will go through the roof. In fact, you will no doubt quickly want to get the AHA’s bimonthly magazine coming your way. Not surprisingly, that magazine is called Zymurgy. Through Zymurgy magazine and by surfing beertown.org, you will also find out about special days set aside just to celebrate the big community of home beer enthusiasts such as National Homebrew Day held the first Saturday in May. Congress actually set aside this day to celebrate the love of home brewing. No doubt a few senators and congressmen brew up their own blend at home as well.
Along with publications and festivals, there are regular beer brewing competitions you can keep up to date on through the AHA and through a local affiliates as well. These competitions are great fun but you may feel timid about entering your newest beer concoction to be judged. But it’s all in fun and by striving to make your brew genuine competition quality, it just makes the excitement you already have for home brewing even more fun and engaging between contests.
But perhaps the greatest service the national organization can be to you is to point you to local contacts to help you move along more quickly in developing your love of home brewing. This is the kind of networking you need to find the best local brewing supply shops so you can get stocked up on the grains, malts and hops you will need to make your next big batch of home made beer.
But more importantly, you can connect with the home brewers association in your own community and become part of this very active and fun loving community. And as you learn the insider tricks and taste their blends, you will move along much more quickly toward making your own beer that will really taste the way you want it to. So get out there and have some fun with people who love home brewing just like you do. You will never regret it.