This year Julia surprised me with a beer brewing kit for my birthday. I had been talking about wanting to venture into brewing our own beer for a while, loving the idea of having a beer that is as local as our own home (although yes, some of the ingredients may not be super local, but I hope to change that). I like the idea that it is one more thing that we make ourselves, that we control and know what exactly goes into it, so we can avoid the preservatives and additives that are going into our store bought goods (yes, even beer have preservatives added to them). Brewing beer fall perfectly in line with our push to a more frugal budget, if you don't count the initial cost of the brewing kit (as that was a gift), with the cost of the ingredients the beer came out to 66 cents a beer. One of the things that helped was that I was able to get all my bottles for free, by going to our local liquor store after they had a beer tasting, and asked for all their non screw-top empties, and my brother-in-law gave me a box of empties that he wasn't using from when he used to brew.
I brewed my first batch of beer, it was North Rim Wheat. I was nervous that it wouldn't turn out, but we have been happily enjoying them now that they are done. I couldn't be happier, it is a deliciously smooth tasting wheat beer.
Now I am dreaming of growing our own hops, wheat and barley (although maybe not barley, as that may not grow so well here in the south, although Walter Reeves says it may be possible, "Outdoor cultivation is more problematic. Barley sprouts very well in October but cold weather can kill it. If you want to grow it for grain, the best planting time is February. You’ll be able to harvest the golden seeds in summer.").
I have now started brewing my second batch of beer. This time I am trying an Amber beer.