Giving Back to the Homebrew Community

October 10, 2006 at 12:00pm

Author(s): Charlie Essers

One more hobby and my wife is going to leave me.

"You got that right, dear."

We are the odd house on the block that, among other things, has strange smells coming from twelve gallons of wort boiling vigorously in the garage every three weeks or so.

One thing connects these hobbies, all of which I started knowing nothing; the new guy, making mistakes and asking for help. The connection I see is the obligation to give back to those who are now just starting and casting around for guidance. Remember those days?

One of the online forums I participate in recently locked the ability to register new members. I couldn't believe it. The reasoning was that they were getting too many people who were just dabbling in the hobby and weren't really that serious about it.


To me an elitist position like that is simply appalling. Don't they remember what it was like when they were starting out? Thank goodness people didn't shun them just because they were new and asking questions that had already been heard dozens of times.

I probably will stray back to that forum now and then to see what's new, but I find myself drifting to more inclusive sites that welcome new members and share knowledge willingly.

Better Beer

The simple fact remains, if we share as much knowledge about brewing as we possibily can -- helping others with those things we struggled with, passing on every new trick or recipe -- we all get to drink better beer. Let me repeat that: We all get to drink better beer.

I encourage you as brewers to share everything you know with your peers and help in anyway you can. I believe most of you already do.

So to those few who tire of the newbies, hoard their knowledge or simply cannot be bothered to help out on a partial-boil extract batch I say step back and think about the fantastic return on investment when that new brewer rings your doorbell one day with a bomber of their gold-medal barley wine and says, "Thanks, man. I couldn't have done it without you."

"By-the-way, we're going golfing tomorrow for the first time. Come with us!"

To which the love-of-my-life raises an eyebrow and I find myself smiling and replying, "Thanks, but last night's starter is at high krausen."

Charlie Essers lives in the high deserts of Southern California with his wife and twin daughters. He is known as Push Eject on far too many forums and can be reached at