I saw a bumpersticker this morning that said, "Wouldn't you rather be drinking a homebrew?" and I remembered back to college, and the days when I dreamt of being a homebrewer…
I used to like beer, and drank it fairly often. I liked the microbrew stuff, especially Harpoon Ale, and I also liked cooking. And I also was very poor. What better way to address all three issues than becoming a homebrewer? There was even a brewer's supply store near my apartment. Surely the universe was harmonizing before my eyes?
A few weeks later, I journeyed to Vermont to visit an old friend, and I shared my homebrew dream with him as we quaffed his own concoctions. "The hardest part about homebrewing," he told me, "is acquiring the bottles."
"Really?" I said, thanking him for his sage advice.
Upon returning to Boston, I spied an empty case of Rolling Rock long neck bottles awaiting redemption. Obviously they needed to be cleaned, so I rinsed them all out and ran them through the dishwasher. I was on my way to homebrewing heaven.
Several weeks later, my housemate was making a run to the liquor store and taking the old bottles with him.
"Don't take the Rolling Rocks, I'm using them for my homebrew!" I said.
"Riiighht," he said.
This scene replayed itself many times over, accompanied by a soft hazy voice from memory, "Acquiring the bottles is the hardest part." Month after month after month. For a year. Maybe even two. The bottles never moved. I never added more bottles to my stash. And I never redeemed it either. The bottles sat next to the fridge in the kitchen, off limits to anyone trying to scrounge enough money to buy another case, until I moved out of the apartment.
I learned one thing about homebrew while I was in college: acquiring the bottles is not the hardest part. It's getting to the store to buy all the supplies and actually brewing the beer.