Guest Contributor Lori & Andy @
Should you buy craft beer or brew beer yourself? That is a very excellent question and one that I am sure many craft beer lovers/homebrewers have asked themselves over the years. I know that I have many times.
Let me paint a picture: You are talking to a friend and they find out that you brew your own beer. After you have told them about all the knowledge you have gained, all the money you spent, and all the time you allocate for brewing, they always ask, “Why don’t you just buy <insert favorite craft beer brewery> at the beer shop?” If you are a homebrewer, how would you respond? For me, I would respond in one of three ways: cost savings, pride, and uniqueness.
I pulled up a local grocery flyer and there is a special on 12 packs of Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale for $16.99. Simple math tells you that is roughly $1.40 per beer. You can brew a 5 gallon all grain batch of a SN Pale Clone for just about $0.40 per beer or $0.70 per beer with an extract kit. So at best you can save a dollar per beer by homebrewing. Since a 5 gallon brew will give you about four 12 packs (48 beers), you have saved yourself around $50 total. When I share this with people, the light bulb goes off. There are some setup costs involved, but one can typically use the savings from the first 5 to 10 brews to pay for it.
Have you ever built something, made something, created something, and/or developed something and at the end of the process you take a step back and just appreciate all that it took to do whatever it was you did? That is what homebrewing gives you. Well that AND some beer you can drink later. You crack open a beer you brewed, you pour it, you taste it, and it tastes good. That is the sense of pride you get from crafting your own beer. I don’t know about you, but as much as I love cracking open a brewery beer, I don’t feel pride in a beer I bought (unless it is a super rare beer that is hard to find).
There have been a couple of articles on Sommbeer about chasing those “whale” beers. Yes, I am talking about those Pliny’s, those Heady’s, and those KBS’s. Well with homebrewing, you don’t have to chase those brews. You can make them right at home. Now granted, cloning (process of copying a brewery beer) a really good beer is difficult, but it can be done and might have already been created by some other brewer. So you can get those unique “whales” by just brewing it yourself. Some will say, “It’s just not the same.” My response would be, “You are correct…it could be BETTER!” The great part about brewing your own beer is that you can make slight tweaks to the recipes to really cater that “whale” to your own personal taste.
So after all that, I just have one question for you……why wouldn’t you brew instead of buy?
Lori and Andy Bio:
Home brewing couple that love to brew and follow all things pertaining to craft beers…….we hope to one day open our own brewery.
We are always looking for new contributors. Send me a note to start your journey on the Sommbeer team. email: firstname.lastname@example.org – David
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