Eric Scheske says National Homebrew Day is coming soon, and I have no reason to doubt it. I mean... it was on the internet! And I'm just too lazy to take the trouble to confirm it. I suppose you could declare any day you like National Homebrew Day, though, and nobody could really do anything about it.
So, last night I broke open a couple of homebrews to celebrate... umm... getting all the wallpaper peeled off the walls in the downstairs hallway! Yeah, that's it.
This beer was the first batch of homebrew I had done in years, and getting it bottled turned out to be a kind of comedy of errors. I was a little rusty, you might say. It turned out (a few weeks later) flat, green and undrinkable, and so - taking some advice I found on the internet - I let it sit in the bottles and age for several months. It has improved considerably and is now drinkable (at least). I would be mortified to let anyone else taste it, but it does now qualify as beer. It would likely continue to improve for a while, but I'm drinking it, anyway.
There is some moderate carbonation, the beginnings of a good head of foam, and even a little lacing down the side. There is also a bit of an off flavor that I chalk up to contamination (which is why I would never share it with any friend I wanted to keep), but - as I say - it is drinkable, and if I were alone on a desert island I would be mighty glad to have it.
Alcohol content must be pretty good, because I got a decent buzz from just two beers. I woke up with a little headache this morning, though, which is likely also due to some contamination. Quality varies a good bit from bottle to bottle, which comes from A) trying to bottle directly from the fermentation tank (which resulted in widely varying amounts of yeast sediment getting in the bottles) and, B) from adding the priming sugar to each bottle individually, rather than in one homogeneous batch.
I made note of numerous small ways to improve the process, and have already purchased a secondary tank for priming and bottling, which should make the job go much more smoothly and ensure better and more consistent quality next time around.
Even given all the negatives, it is nice to be drinking my own brew, again. Brewing beer is one of those things that people should never have stopped doing for themselves, like baking their own bread, growing at least some of their own food or raising and educating their own kids. The only way to reclaim some of these things is for individuals to begin doing them again on their own initiative. There is no use waiting for some new social movement to take shape, and big government - along with big business - actively (but quietly and steadily) discourages such independence.
Do it anyway. Just go ahead and start. Plant something. Brew something, even if it tastes crappy at first and is cheaper from the store. Find a way to sit down with your kids and make sure they know the things you want them to know about life, even if it feels awkward and you think you'll do a poor job of it. They are your kids, and the primary responsibility (and privilege) of their education is yours, not anyone else's.