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Old 06-23-2008, 08:42 PM   #21
the_bird
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If you were to look at the absolute best commercial beers out there - the Russian Rivers, etc. - it's pretty hard to match that.

If you look at the typical micro/craft brew, Sam Adams as being pretty representative - it's not that tough to make a beer that's every bit as good.

The BMC guys are obviously a lot better than most homebrewers at their chosen style, but I've had several homebrewed European pilsners that I think are far superior to most commercial examples (both imported stuff and stuff like Victory Prima Pils).

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Old 06-23-2008, 09:27 PM   #22
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Better? that's up to the taster. Is it worth it? YES! What other hobby takes 4 - 8 hours of your time then makes you wait 3 - 12 months to see the end result?
The creativity, anticipation and the reward of tasting /sharing something that you brewed/created is definately better than going down to the store and picking something off the shelf.

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Old 06-23-2008, 10:00 PM   #23
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Lots of really well-thought positions in this thread! I'm enjoying reading it.

For me, I started homebrewing because I had developed a taste for beer above the BMC norm and there was none of that available in central PA in 1997-8. People thought Michelob Amber Bock was too flavorful. [shudder]

Those days are long over. You can even get framboise lambic in stores in Lewistown. Whoda thunk it? So the impetus for my brewing is gone.

But the fact is that I fell in love with the process. It is like cooking. You have the control, you have the power in your hands. And it totally rocks when someone has one of your beers, not knowing you made it, has a sip, and goes "Day-um!"

But, like cooking, there is a point beyond which my time becomes too valuable. For example, it is now summer. I don't want to be challenged by a beer when I finally put the lawnmower back in the garage; I don't want to appreciate, I don't want to taste. I want an ice-cold fizzy tin of barley-pop. So in my fridge barley-pop can be found. Sure, I could make fifteen gallons of cream ale (that might last me the summer), but why bother when I can get twice as much Yuengling Lord Chesterfield for the price, with 0.00005% of the effort? Now when I want an Imperial pint of mild or bitter, that's another story. Still, if I'm out - which is rare - it's a few minutes' drive to The Ship Inn in Milford, NJ, where the handpump is always pulling bitter.

I don't flatter myself that I can make better beer at home than I made at my various professional brewing positions. I can't. I lack conicals, a yeast lab, a plate-and-frame filter, and lots of other stuff. I lack the wherewithal to make my favourite beer in the world, because I lack their brewery their fermentation chamber, their entire process and facility. But that doesn't stop me from trying every so often. That I haven't even been close - ever - won't stop me! Moreover, I have never been a good enough brewer to make a light, crisp American lager. I do not relish the challenge. So what's the point?

On the flip side, there are commercial beers for which I find my homebrewed version far superior. I think my witbier is superior to every commercial example I've ever tried, including Hoegaarden. Why? Because it's fresh - it's a couple steps from the brewery to the glass instead of a complicated distribution network. There are also beers I can make that I can't easily get commercially, like organic beers and the historical styles and recipes I love to redact.

So yes, homebrew is not better than commercial beer. There is a time and place for both in my life. Frankly, I think that the person who chooses one over the other is unwise to the point of folly; all you're doing is denying yourself one of life's simpler, affordable pleasures.

Cheers,

Bob

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