On black Thursday, I was walking around Portland when I saw a cardboard sign, "Rogue Garage Sale". I went to the Rogue Brewery to check it out. They had all sorts of stuff for sale: pint glasses, signs, t-shirts, and beer of course. I purchased 2 cases of Young's Special Bitter for about $2.25 a beer (which ended up being a great deal considering they normally sell them for $16 a piece....why didn't i buy more!?) and when I saw that they had kegs of Mocha Porter for $50, I absolutely had to buy that too (friend has kegerator). Anyway, the YSBs came in very nice 750ml ceramic swing tops. After I drank them, I felt the bottles were too nice to throw out. So that's what made me go out and decide to brew my own beer. So I became a homebrewer.
...3 batches later...
My company always gives an "employee appreciation" gift at the end of every year (if the year went well). Today, I find out that the gift this year is nothing other than a 54 quart stainless steel belted Coleman cooler. I could understand if other employees were thinking, "what the hell am I going to do with a cooler in the middle of winter???". But I was just thinking that it was a message from the beer gods...."Brew all-grain". It was the absolute perfect gift. I still have a lot to learn, but the fate of that cooler is sealed. Once I get a feel for the brewing process, I have to go all-grain now. I'm not going let that cooler sit in the closet and just take up space for 8 months a year. Gotta put that thing to work.