I will never forget the first time I homebrewed. I was well aware that when we tasted it the results would likely be less than spectacular. In fact, given the cost of ingredients (around $110 for 10 gallonms worth of materials) and the many, many hours of labor that went into it, I am quite sure that it would have been both more economical and better tasting to spend another $20 or so and just go and buy four cases quality craft beer. But as I thought through the experience of brewing and bottling I realized that the pay off for homebrewing is much more ineffable.
As I watched the yeast swirl in the carboy of IPA, I was struck by the realization that I was watching something living (Virginia Madsen’s poetic monologue on wine in Sideways comes to mind).
In fact this process of brewing became a spiritual experience for me as I came to understand that I was taking part in the miracle of creation. This is a two-fold joy in that we not only creating something new, unique and living, but also something that would be shared with only a few people, most of whom are people I know very well and care about. So, while the produce of our “Church Basement Brewery” may be less than professional from the standpoint of taste, I still look forward to that moment in February when in one moment we all share something unique… something that was created out of the bounty of the earth and came into being because of our divine impulse to both create and in turn, find joy in that creation. So, even if it the taste in only mediocre, it is still our creation. May we look upon it and know that it is good.