From the HBD Archive
From: Steve Anthony <steveo@Think.COM>
Subject: Brew Humor
Date: 1989-06-13 19:07:46 GMT

The following is a copy of a Dave Barry article, where he recounts his
experiences with home brewing. This was copied without any permission
whatsoever, other than that it's funny and this forum might enjoy it.

A BOY AND HIS HOBBY

Recently, I began to feel this void in my life, even after meals, and I
said to myself: ``Dave, all you do with your spare time is sit around and
drink beer. You need a hobby.'' So I got a hobby. I make beer.

I never could get into traditional hobbies, like religion or stamp
collecting. I mean, the way you collect stamps is: Every week or so the
Postal Service dreams up a new stamp to mark National Peat Bog Awareness
Month, or whatever, and you rush down and clog the Post Office lines to buy
a batch of these stamps, but instead of putting them to a useful purpose,
such as mailing toxic spiders to the Publishers Clearing House, you take
them home and just sort of *have* them. Am I right? Have I left any
moments of drama out of this action sequence? And then the *biggest*
thrill, as I understand it, the real *payoff*, comes when you get lucky and
collect a stamp on which the Post Office has made a *mistake*, such as
instead of ``Peat Bog'' it prints ``Beat Pog'', whiuch causes stamp
collectors to just about wet their polyester pants, right?

So for many years I had no hobby. When I would fill out questionaires and
they would ask what my hobbies were, I would put ``narcotics'', which was
of course a totally false humorous joke. And then one day, my editor took
me to a store where they sell beer-makeing equipment. Other writers, they
have editors who inspire them to new heights of literary achievement, but
the two major contributions my editor has made to my artistic development
are (1) teaching me to juggle and (2) taking me to his beer-making store
where a person named Craig gave me free samples until he could get a hold
of my Visa card.

But I'm glad I got into beer-making, because the beer sold here in the
United States is sweet and watery and lacking in taste and overcarbonated
and just generally the lamest, wimpiest beer in the entire known world.
All other nations are drinking Ray Charles beer and we are drinking Barry
Manilow. This is why American TV beer commercials are so ludicrously
masculine. It's a classic case of overcompensation. You may have seen, for
example, the Budweiser or Miller commercial where some big hairy are
standing around on the side of a river when a barge breaks loose and starts
drifting out of control. Now *real* men, who drink *real* beer, would have
enough confidence in their own masulinity to say: ``Don't worry; it's
probably insured.''

But the men in the commercial felt this compulsion to go racing off on a
tugboat and capture the barge with big hairy ropes, after which they make
excited masculine hand gestures at each other to indicate they have done a
task requiring absolute *gallons* of testosterone. Then they go to a bar
where they drink Miller or Budweiser and continue to reassure themselves
that they are truely a collection of major stud horses, which is why you
don't see any women around. The women have grown weary of listening the
men say: ``Hey! We sure rescued THAT barge, didn't we?!'' And: ``You think
it's easy, to resure a barge? Well, it's NOT!'' and, much later at night:
``Hey! Let's go let the barge loose again!'' So the women have gone off in
search of men who make their own beer.

Some of you may be reluctant to make your own beer, because you've heard
stories to the effect that it's difficult to make, or it's illegal, or it
makes you go blind. Let me assure you that these are falsehoods,
especially the part about making you go bleof nisdc dsdf,sdfkQ$$%''%.

Ha Ha! Just a little tastless humor there, designed to elicit angry letters
from liberals. The truth is, homemade beer is perfectly safe, unless the
bottle explodes. We'll have more on that if space permits. Also, it's
completely legal to make beer at home. In fact, as I read the current
federal tax laws - I use a strobe light - if you can make your own beer,
you can claim a tax credit of up to $4,000, provided you claim you spent it
on insulation!

And it's easy to make your own beer: You just mix your ingredients and
stride briskly away. (You may of course vary this recipe to suit your own
personal taste.) Your two main ingredients are (1) a can of beer
ingredients that you get from Craig or equivalent person, and (2) yeast.
Yeast is a wonderful little plant or animal that, despite the fact that it
has only one cell, has figured out how to convert sugar to alcohol. This
was a far greater accomplishment than anything we can attribute to giant
complex multicelled organisms such as, for example, the Secretary of
Transportaion.

After the little yeats are done converting your ingredients into beer, they
die horrible deaths by the millions. You shouldn't feel bad about this.
Bear in mind this is *yeast* we're talking about, and there's plenty more
available, out on the enormous yeast ranches of the Southwest. For now,
your job is to siphon your beer into bottles. This is the tricky part,
because what can happen is the phone rings and you get involved in a
lengthy conversation during which your son, who is 4 1/2, gets a hold of
the hose and spews premature beer, called ``wort'', all over the kitchen
and himself, and you become the target of an investigation by child welfare
authorities because yours is the only child who comes to preschool smelling
like a fraternity carpet.

But that's the only real drawback I have found, and the beer tastes
delicious, expect of course on those rare occasions when it explodes.
Which leads us to another advantage: If you make your own beer, you no
longer need to worry about running out if we have a nuclear war of
sufficient severity to close the commercial breweries

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