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Homebrew: For the love of a brew(er)

My expensive wooden dining table would have to have been among my most prized possessions. I polished it regularly, buffed out any imperfections and always did my best to protect it from alcohol spills, food scraps and biro imprints along with anything else that had the potential to scar it for life.

So you can imagine how pleased I was the night I came home and found a homebrew fermenter perched smack-bang in the centre of my highly polished wooden pride and joy. Wrapped in a wet towel atop a few plastic supermarket bags sat 23 litres of my partner's carefully concocted pale ale. Alongside it stood a pedestal fan offering the fermenter a cool breeze for further relief from the heatwave Melbourne was enduring.

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After I confronted the man responsible, I found myself on the receiving end of a comprehensive lecture about the vital role temperature control played in the science of homebrewing. He then went on to explain that his homebrew headquarters the designated room at the rear of our garage was far too hot for such a critical stage in the brewing process thus requiring immediate intervention on his part. How my table got caught in the middle I'll never understand.

Interestingly enough, a similar argument had been used a couple of days earlier to justify why dozens of recently bottled stubbies and king browns now graced every cool, dark place our house had to offer. Surely I knew that bottle temperature during secondary fermentation had just as much influence on the taste, he quipped, when I brazenly quizzed him about it.

Planning my life around beer is something I've grudgingly grown accustomed to since I moved in with an avid homebrewer a few years back. Cleaning up bottle tops, beer bottles and other homebrew paraphernalia subsequently became a regular part of my daily routine mainly because if I didn't do it, no one would.

Nevertheless, livid was how I felt from the moment I noticed the patch of bubbled, water-soaked wood that replaced my perfectly refined dining table once the fermenter was eventually shifted to the floor. And all I can say is it was lucky for him that he works shifts and wasn't home when I made the discovery.

A few days later, while still contemplating leaving him and his homebrew to live happily ever after, I was surprised to learn that I was not alone in my homebrew blues. At yet another social gathering (solo, because bottling his latest Hoegaarden clone was apparently much more important than catching up with friends) I happened upon other women whose lives had also been turned upside down by the good old liquid amber.

One woman, for instance, explained how her husband literally kicked her out of the house whenever he put on a new brew because he refused to tolerate her constant questions, commentary or any other interruptions that broke his concentration. As a result, she conceded it was best for her sanity to "stay away on homebrew day". And just in case she had any thoughts about returning home before he was ready to welcome her back, he confiscated her house keys to remove the temptation.

Then another friend divulged that for the past two weeks she had shared a bedroom with not only her husband during the heatwave, but also the homebrew fermenter he had placed in front of the air conditioner beside her bed. Rolling her sleep-deprived eyes she mimicked the constant "bloop, bloop" of the air lock that had kept her awake as it bubbled away defiantly all night, every night. All she could do was count down the days until bottling time when she hoped to function like a normal human being again after getting a full night's sleep.

As we continued chatting and laughing our way through our loathing of hops, malt, yeast and barley, a couple of us gasped when we spotted another party guest knocking the top off a tinnie of the mass-produced variety.

"I don't know how anyone could drink that," one of the girls commented. "Do you think he knows how many preservatives are in that can?" another asked.

It was around that time that we all agreed that living with a homebrewer did have it's advantages. For a start, we all loved beer and appreciated being able to reach into the fridge and enjoy a wide variety of craft brews at the drop of a hat.

And the best part was that we never had to pay a cent for it, which in my case was just as well considering I now had a new dining table to save up for.

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Posted in Other Recreation Post Date 06/26/2017


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