Tomorrow, 19 January 2011, marks the 21st anniversary of my first batch of homebrew. It was an extract kit that my mother gave me, a barely drinkable, barely carbonated soup of syrup, hops, and yeast, brewed on an electric stove in the tiny kitchen of my San Leandro apartment.
I got better at the process, and by October I was ready for my first all-grain batch: gak & gerry's #23: Anteater Porter. I used the classic two-bucket mash tun; failing to own a drill, I used an awl to punch 1,200 holes in the bottom of the inner bucket. The awl had no handle; my hands still have the scars.
I eventually told Mom that she had created a monster, and I left my high-tech career in search of a brewing job. With stops in Hawaii, several Wisconsin cities, and back home to Nebraska, and after working in six small breweries, I find myself almost back where I started: in search of a brewing job.
But the upgraded Öchslebräu is operational, and I'm celebrating 21 years of brewing with a ten-gallon batch of Princess of Darkness Porter. This beer will be contributed to the South Omaha Brewers barrel project at the end of the month.
So here's to 21 years of beer!