Monday, May 9, 2011

Life With A Homebrewer (part 2)

This guest post is by  artist Susan Dorf of

Shortly after we moved into our apartment, the maintenance guy showed up to install some window screens. Entering the kitchen, his jaw dropped as he encountered the kegerator, filling up the spot that the manager had so fondly called 'the breakfast nook' when she gave us a tour of the place. It sits on an oil pan we found at a yard sale, it's classic tap handles from various breweries begging to be pulled to deliver a nice tall cool one. The entire front surface of the kegerator is plastered in bumper stickers from every brewpub, homebrew supplier and brew festival Mark has ever attended, and include slogans such as "I Brew, Therefore I Am," Brew Naked," and "Beer. It's not just for Breakfast anymore."

The maintenance guy lets out a low whistle. "Wow," He says. "My wife would NEVER let me have one of those in the kitchen." Really? I think. You mean, I have a choice? Because it never occurred to me that I could actually refuse. Is there a woman alive who can stand in the way of a man possessed by homebrewing beer? If so, I might like to meet her. I would like to shake her mighty hand.
Because we have moved several times in the past several years I have become familiar with the way his mind works. We find a house we like, and while I am pondering which way we should face the bed or where the bookshelf would fit, Mark is figuring out where the brew sculpture will live, and if the kitchen cabinets can possibly hold all of his beer glasses, or will he have to build more shelves to contain them? He figures the coat closet will be big enough to store his bottles and hoses in, and asks if he can he use the cheese compartment in the fridge to store his pellet hops and yeast.
He can see by the size of the deck that he will have room to brew, but will the chiller discharge hose reach all the way across the living room into the kitchen sink or will he have to get a longer one?
This is a dance we do, this vying for territory that is never quite large enough for our needs but is all we can afford, and any lines I try to draw may as well be drawn in the sand during a windstorm, as I soon find myself tripping over brewing paraphernalia and beer related ingredients begin to spill over from the cheese drawer and into the refrigerator door racks and half the freezer as well.

While I am constantly wishing for more space to create art and longing for the perfect studio, Mark seems to enjoy the challenge of making any place a viable brew space. He has brewed beer out of a tamale pot in a tiny concrete patio in Mexico, outside in the snow on Whidbey Island, in the driveway of a rented condo in Santa Cruz. Sometimes I wonder if he actually relishes the challenge of making it work in what to me seem like impossible circumstances, and I actually envy his drive and persistence.

But when exactly does a passion become obsession? When is enough enough? Is it the moment when he begins to mumble in his sleep about how he has to step up the yeast on his latest brew, or when the question becomes not IF he can use the bathtub to store a few extra kegs, but WHEN?

To see more of Susan's writing on this blog, go to  "Life With A Homebrewer" here.

1 comment:

Chrisizup said...

I'm sure he has already mumbled such comments in his sleep, but that's a good thing. Good beer breeds good friends and as the Irish say, mighty craic. This post makes me miss you guys, maybe it's time for a little roadie!!!!

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