Over the years I have stumbled across some important lessons about brewing beer at home and not all of them have been about the brewing processes. Some lessons have come in the form of important tools for a tranquil home life. It is easy for me to become so self absorbed in my hobby that it sometimes overshadows some other important parts of my life, specifically my relationship with my wife. I can sometimes overlook the simplest of domestic responsibilities as I endeavor to make up a batch of beer and keep my kegerator well stocked. I forget that another person occupies the same living space and should be considered when spreading out the materials and equipment to do battle in my makeshift brewery.
So, I have come up with a list of do’s and don’ts that have served me well over the years and I would like to share them with you here. As a side note I want to make clear that although I am referring to my wife, these tips are useful to consider for whoever you live with. These are not in any particular order of importance but all should be remembered on brew day and applied as needed.
1.) Cook up your starter on the kitchen stove when she’s gone. There is nothing that will irritate a loved one more than having the kitchen completely taken over as you maniacally protect your newly sanitized starter. I have noticed myself placing my body between my wife and the sink I’m using as an ice bath for chilling, in order to protect my precious, sanitized wort starter. She won't understand that you're just trying to keep the starter from being contaminated. It's also a good idea to air out the room thoroughly when your done. Odd smells create unnecessary suspicion.
2.) Schedule with her well in advance of brew day so she can mentally prepare herself. If she is warned of the big day, the chances are she won't expect anything from you for at least eight hours while you create the 'holy grail' of pale ales.
3.) Make sure you have everything you need outside so you don’t come and go into the house. Coming and going through the garage door (in my case, leading to the kitchen) can be irritating even when they are forewarned.
4.) Brew some beers she enjoys and make sure you tell her that you are brewing it for her even though you will probably be drinking 95% of it. It shows you care.
5.) Keep your brew area organized and well stocked. Make it look like you expect to be homebrewing for many years, it will help her get used to the idea.
6.) Tell her you love her more than beer (really). I mean it, she probably suspects differently.
7.) Don’t let empty beer bottles accumulate around the kitchen sink. One day is o.k. but not longer.
8.) Use your kegerator for storing large qty’s of hops instead of the refrigerator in the house. The fridge is usually full to begin with. You don’t want her to unload bags of groceries to discover that the precious real estate is lost to several pounds of half used bags of hops wrapped with rubber bands.
9.) Don’t fill the cupboards with your collection of pint glasses from around the world. Even though you have a lot of pride and unique stories about each one of them, they can quickly crowd out the regular household glasses. She may not want her morning juice in a pilsner glass.
10.) And finally, tell her again that you love her more than beer (I’m really serious). Sometimes just saying it once will be looked upon as manipulative, repeat it as often as you remember.
I'm sure there are more suggestions to help. Leave a comment below.