Let’s face it, deciding whether or not to brew beer at home is not a life-changing decision, but it does require some thought. The first major question that people want to know is whether or not it will cost them less than buying beer. For the most part, this is the case and if you want to learn more check out my article on the topic of real costs for home-brewing here
What I want to talk about are the real benefits to you and your family because beyond money, brewing beer is an investment of the most important commodity you have, time.
So, why make your own beer at home? Ignoring financial gains, there’re many benefits to you personally in terms of developing skills and a better sense of your own abilities. There can also be several social benefits that bring you closer to your family and your local community. Also, home-brewing can be a healthier option for some.
So, what follows are 28 reasons to brew beer which have absolutely nothing to do with whether it cost more or less to brew beer at home or buy it from the store. I have dug deep and considered all the other more important reasons to start making that amber nectar for yourself!
1: Pursue a hobby in the comfort of your own home.
With all the many time demands that we all have, it’s not always easy to get to a gym or community hall at a set time or day to pursue a hobby. Brewing beer is one of those hobbies that you can do in the comfort of your own abode, and this has several benefits.
Once you have bought your equipment and ingredients, that’s it! No other bits and bobs to buy so that you can continue doing what you love. There’s not a lot of call for maintenance of your equipment and you don’t have to worry about insuring it for vast sums in case it is broken (in most cases).
The fact that you are at home when you are brewing beer can also be a comfort to your spouse. As I always say to my wife when she complains that I’m not an ‘active’ hobbyist, “I could be out and about meeting other women”. Not that I feel the need to stray, but it’s a valid point and could help anyone’s relationship.
2: Brewing your own beer can be healthier
Drinking commercial beer isn’t going to kill, and it would be very difficult for beer to harm you at all unless you drank it in incredible quantities (see my article on the ‘danger’ of beer if you have any concerns). However, there is no denying that certain ingredients used in store-bought beer can give you real physical complaints
When you brew your own beer it is a very natural process, especially if you follow all-grain recipes. You have total control over what goes into your beer and the use of chemical preservatives is less common in home brewing. there are some lager beers that give me a raging headache even before I stop a drinking session, this never happens with more naturally brewed beer.
The home brewing process can, in many cases, help people with certain allergies to the ingredients in beer enjoy a cold brew. if you have a hops allergy, you can try different varieties and hopefully find a strain that doesn’t have the undesired physical effect.
3: Families who brew together stay together
All too often home brewing is seen as a pursuit for middle-aged bearded men who disappear into their basements or garages and shut their families away for the day. If I have described you and you are happy with the distraction, then that’s just fine. However, there is nothing wrong with getting all the family involved in the brewing process.
Brewing can be a fun activity to share with a partner, spouse or just a good friend. You can develop your ability to work effectively together and you achieve something as a team. If your partner or spouse is keen on cooking, then brewing beer is very much in the same boat. Accurate measurements of ingredients are required as are exact timing for the boil.
If you aren’t married or in a relationship, then why not ask that gal or guy over for a very different sort of date? Brewing a beer together only takes an afternoon and can be fun with lots of opportunities to brush us agaisnt each other and flirt. What’s more, it’s a great excuse to ask them back to check out the fermentation and then sample the beer in a few weeks. Plus, it’s alcohol and we all know what that can do for your sex life!
Although your children aren’t going to be able to sample the beer they make (I can’t make this recommendation clear enough) they can still enjoy the experience.
Depending on their age, you can treat the process as a practical activity in learning about money. They can be taken to the brew shop and then given a list and the money to buy the ingredients (with Mom or Dad on hand of course).
As we need particular quantities of ingredients to get the beer we want, this is a great exercise in practical mathematics. If you are working off of a recipe that has a yield too large or small for your needs, you can talk your little ankle bitters through the process of converting those proportions. (Check out my article on how to understand and convert a beer recipe here).
Brewing beer is also a very scientific activity, so kids can learn about how the ingredients are affected by different stages in the brewing process. This can give them a broader understanding of some of the ideas they might be learning at school. Also, it’s fun to see the changes in the wort as it boils and ferments, almost looks like an alien invasion in some cases!
For extended family
It’s also a great experience when you meet up at your next family reunion and bring along your latest beer triumph. Whether this is at a summer picnic or on Thanksgiving or Christmas, you get a real kick from seeing others enjoy your hard work.
4: Bonding with older children/ your parents
Making beer together is also a very good way to bond with your children or, if you are a teenager, to bond with a parent. It’s a unique learning experience that requires teamwork and trust, and if you are old enough, there’s nothing like drinking a home-brew beer with a close relative.
5: Brewing is Good for your backyard
If you have green fingers that don’t only come from handling the hops, your home-brew set up can also help your flowers and veggies.
If you are using an all-grain recipe you can use your spent grain in your compost as it will still have a lot of nutrients which as brewers we don’t require. Also, if you have a mishap with your beer and you don’t want to drink it, this can also be used in the backyard to help salvage dying grass or keep away pests. I go into more detail about this in another article about over 20 ways to use stale beer.
6: Become part of a community
Sometimes in life, it’s difficult to break out of the routines and social groups we find ourselves in. This can be especially true if you work long or unsociable hours and need to prioritize your family. It can be difficult to meet people who aren’t colleagues or aren’t the parents of your kid’s friends.
Brewing beer is an incredibly social activity in the sense that it’s a steep learning curve and the best way to learn is to get involved with local or online communities. As craft beer has become so popular around the world in the last 5 to 10 years, home brewing is less of a peripheral pastime.
The great thing about the online community is that everyone is there to help. They are supportive when you have a problem, they praise you even in your failures and are just generally a pleasant bunch of people. I was even chatting to a total stranger today for about an hour on messenger about a question I had.
7: The prospect of fame and travel
When you really get into this hobby and start to produce consistently good beers and even start coming up with your own unique recipes, there is the prospect of rubbing your awesomeness in other people’s faces!
The homebrewing community has a number of local and international brewing competitions and meetups throughout the year. If you want to mingle with like-minded people you can certainly go along and enter your beer and have the chance of winning some surprising good prizes.
What’s more, this can give you an excellent reason to travel out of town and see a bit of your local state, country or even another country entirely. Wow, beer bringing people together as always!
8: Give your interpersonal skills a boost
If someone told you that beer could make you a better employee you’d probably think they were drunk, but it really could!
Brewing beer takes a lot of skill which a new brewer will quickly develop. Different stages in the brewing process will teach you how to focus on certain tasks which improves your ability to prioritize.
The very particular way that beer has to be brewed also will improve your ability to plan ahead and to anticipate common problems or eventualities. The importance of keeping to an exact schedule when dealing with hops during the boiling process will also supercharge your ability to manage time and multi-task.
Even before you begin to brew beer, you need to learn a lot of information in order to understand the process and ingredients that you require. This is excellent training in the ability to research technical details and work off that newly gained knowledge.
Also, as with many things in life, you can do everything right but still have a huge problem you need to deal with. In brewing, it can be anything from an unexpected final gravity in your beer, to stuck fermentation, to a funky taste due to bacterial infections (links to articles I have written on these topics).
9: If you really need a win!
You can never underestimate the importance of achieving something that you have actually worked for. The brain seems to be wired for this, and I believe that brewing beer is a very healthy way of achieving this dopamine fix
When you are able, especially as a newcomer, to follow a complex recipe and produce a finished beer which is both tasty and looks the part, well you can’t really put money on that feeling.
Just like how making your bed in the morning is a notorious trick used by life coaches to trigger a sense of confidence in their followers, so too is brewing beer. If you can do this, then why couldn’t you finish a marathon, or go for that promotion or take the risk to get the partner of your dreams.
So, yeah, beer can give you bags of confidence even without having to drink it!
10: Feel like a kid before Christmas again!
The way we live our lives nowadays is very much instantaneous. Much of our desires and needs can be met within a very small amount of time. Want that new cell phone? Get it through the mail in a day with Amazon. Want Chinese food at 4 in the morning? Just click on the Uber Eats app.
The same cannot be said of brewing beer. Although your part in the process may be limited, you cannot rush the natural processes involved. So, after you spend half a day brewing the beer on brew day and then racking it after fermentation there is a lot of time of patient observation.
I personally find this thrilling and it really gives me something to work towards when other demands in my life are getting me down. It’s not the alcohol I’m craving, no, it’s the anticipation to see if everything has worked as it should. So, how many times can you have Christmas a year? It’s really up to you!
11: The gift of beer
Beer, for the most part, is an excellent gift both to receive and to give. Now, I’m not suggesting that you give your wife this on your 10th anniversary, but your hubby might actually appreciate a nice IPA beer kit (hint, hint honey).
In all seriousness, a home brewing kit or even some beer which you have made yourself (and tasted to check for any off-flavors) can great gifts for birthdays or when invited to a barbecue. Your guy friends will love it and any hostess will be surprised at how many dishes beer goes with.
12: An incentive to cut back on your beer consumption
If you have started developing a bit of a beer gut and want to get back into shape, it can be difficult to entirely forgo beer. Rather than encouraging you to drink more, brewing your own beer can be a unique way of controlling your beer consumption.
The fact that beer takes several weeks to be fully mature and ready for drinking may give you the incentive to take a short break from all those delicious yet fattening craft beers available. Then you can ration yourself to drinking only the beer that you have made. if it hasn’t been lovingly brewed by your own hands, then you don’t get to drink it.
Also, when you see the process involved it gives you a better understanding of what is in beer. You can also see exactly how many calories are in the beer you make, and this can open your eyes to just how much you can drink and still stay in shape. I’ve written an article about how to calculate the calories in beer so that you can remain in total control of your own diet.
13: Pay the bills with beer
The production of beer is a multi-billion dollar industry and it is entirely feasible that you could get a slice of that pie.
Not only could you set up your own local brewery, but you could also generate an income online by helping others to brew beer more effectively.
Although I wouldn’t recommend getting into brewing beer purely for profit, it is still possible that the skills you develop could one day be paying your bills. Every brewer started somewhere and there is still plenty of scope to build a profitable and enjoyable career in brewing excellent beer for others. If you are interested in finding out how to set up an online business, check out incomeschool.com for a full training guide (it totally works!).
14: Become a beer connoisseur
As a homebrewer, you are going to interact with beer in a way that the average beer enthusiast won’t. By dealing with ingredients and the different processes in brewing, you will develop a deeper appreciation for the beverage and the art in brewing it.
Another bonus for most brewers is that their ability to taste beer improves too. It’s important to train your palate so that you can quickly identify any off-flavors in your wort. However, by working with different ingredients over different brews, you can also identify the subtle aromas and flavors that we do want in our beer.
All in all, the entire experience will broaden your knowledge of beer varieties and the ingredients used in each type. You’ll also become much better and describing the character of the beer you are brewing and will enjoy its varied flavors and smells. I go into much more detail on how to train your beer palate in another article here.
15: Teach someone to like beer
Another reason to brew your own beer is so that you can help a close friend or relative to enjoy beer the right way.
Although some people are genetically less likely to enjoy the taste of beer, often they have just had a bad experience with it. If you are really passionate about sharing your passion with that special someone, you can actually brew a custom beer for them. Once they get over the error of thinking all beers are the same, you can go on to sample the full spectrum of available beer recipes.
If this is something you really would like to do to help your friend, I’ve written an entire study on the topic. Check it out here.
16: Cultivate your creativity
Brewing beer is unlike many other sports or group activities because it really concentrates on the individual skills of the brewer. Although there are several kits and recipes out there which are just fine to follow to the letter, many brewers feel restless. They want to try new things and learning is best done by trial and error, so go for it!
Not only is changing up standard recipes a good test of your ability to get creative, when you brew these unique beers you need to christen them. Coming up with descriptive or even enigmatic beer names is great fun. Also, if you have an artistic flair, you can go the full hog and design your own beer labels and logos for your unique brews. It’s great to get friends and family involved and is another wonderful way to bond with those your love.
17: Invasion of the clone beers
Have you ever been on vacation to another state or country and tried their local beer but never been able to find it back home? This is a perfect excuse to try and recreate that beer yourself.
A clone beer recipe is an attempt to replicate a beer and you can often get a very similar result. Even if it’s not 100% accurate, there could be some happy discoveries in the process. I’ve written a complete article on this topic where I give you an example of a great clone beer recipe to start on. Check it out here.
18: Mark those special days in a personal way
In addition to giving beers as gifts, you can also use them to mark special occasions. This may not work for all beer varieties, but if you brew a Belgian style beer with a higher ABV content, then you can lay those bottles down for years and bring them out to celebrate graduations, Christmas, wedding anniversaries and even births. All in all, it’s a great excuse to try and brew a beer which really needs some aging in the bottle to do it full justice.
19: Teach your children about alcohol
Not only can brew days be an excellent way to encourage your children’s numeracy skills and appreciation of scientific principles, but brewing beer can also be an excellent lesson in respecting alcohol.
All too often kids are shielded from alcohol and the correct way to enjoy it, in moderation and as an accompaniment to food. So, by involving your children in the brewing process you can take the opportunity to explain the right way to enjoy beer and why it shouldn’t be chugged down at a kegger with no appreciation for its quality and harmful effects.
I know that this will be a controversial subject for some parents but all I can say is that I have been brought up in a binge-drinking culture (the UK) but lived most of my adult life in countries with a very different approach to alcohol and the exposure of children to it from a young age (France, Italy, Belgium). Do what your conscience tells you but know that knowledge and experience are better than fear in most cases.
20: Win a Nobel prize with beer!
If you work hard to provide for your family or just for yourself, that continuous stress and active concentration can be very harmful to your health and effectiveness. You need to learn to relax and take time away from the daily grind. However, many people find it impossible to just do nothing.
Brewing beer is an excellent way of relaxing without feeling that you are idle. Although the first few brews will require all your attention, you will find that later on, the tasks will become almost unconscious. This is a great way to let your brain work on solving problems in the background while you brew beer.
Albert Einstein is famous for coming up with some of his most groundbreaking theories while working in the Swiss patent office. He found that ‘menial’ work allowed his brain to actually get to grips with the problems he was trying to solve even more efficiently than if he had spent all day thinking about them. So, you may find sudden inspiration when brewing a ‘Serendipity’ clone beer!
21: Beer helps you sleep, but not in the way you were thinking
One great advantage of working with fresh hops is the powerful sedative qualities that it has.
If you are the sort of person that tosses and turns in bed, then you can use some of your excess hops (or order some extra in) and place it is a muslin bag in your pillow. This will help you drift off to sleep faster. If you were to mix in some lavender with those hops, even better.
If you really love beer and you have an understanding partner, you can even wash your pillowcase (don’t do the entire pillow) in a hoppy beer such as an IPA. If the beer has been dry-hopped the effects seem to be the same as using hops in the pillowcase. I’ve never tried both methods together, so there is always that to experiment with yourself at home
22: You can do a lot with a tight schedule
Although brewing beer involves a steep learning curve and a lot of research if you are going to grasp all the nuances of the art, it doesn’t actually involve a lot of hands-on brewing time.
In fact, apart from the initial brew day, racking days and perhaps a few minutes to siphon the wort or add hops, the rest of the time the beer just gets on with the job without you.
By far the most time you are going to spend brewing beer will be spent supervising various processes or cleaning your equipment (which you could outsource to kids in need of an allowance).
So, even if you have very limited time on your hands, you can still be a home brewer a few days a month.
23: Brew almost anywhere
Although many of the cooler brewing setups that you’ll see online are in large garages or basements, you can actually brew in a fairly confined space and with the bare essentials.
All you need really is a container to mash your grains (if not using an extract recipe), a kettle for boiling, a carboy for fermenting and bottles or a keg to carbonate and age your beer slightly (and the space to store it of course). This could all be done in the space an average downstairs bathroom takes up.
You could even brew outside in the woods if you could find a space to keep your fermenter at a regular temperature and then keep your bottles out of direct sunlight. So, there really isn’t any excuse apart from a particularly uncooperative spouse.
24: Support your local economy
In most places in the world, you will find a local brew shop which will provide you with almost everything you need. Although you can also get ingredients and equipment online for less, a brew shop is a great way to get expert guidance and advice.
The added bonus is that you are sure that your hard-earned buck is going to real beer enthusiasts in your local town and not some big cooperate giant in some far off city or country. Keeping the local economy strong is beneficial to everyone in the area as it can help keep business open and house prices high. So, why not spend a few extra dollars and a bit more time going to the local brew shop if you can? Well, it’s just something to consider.
25: Get more followers on social media
If you are mad about building a following on Instagram or want to get likes to your own personal Facebook page, then you can share this cool hobby with the net.
Posting your latest beer creation or the weird stuff growing on the top of your fermenting wort can be incredibly shareable content for the world wide web.
There’s nothing like showing how badass you are for brewing the perfect beer from nothing but plants and water! #beermaster
26: Even bad beer has many uses
You may be worried that you spend all that money to make beer but then you make one mistake or something happens which makes the beer nigh-undrinkable. Now you have 5 or 6 gallons of useless beer, what a waste, right?
Well, not exactly. Even the worse tasting or flat beer can still be reused for a myriad of practical things. That state beer can be repurposed for anything from shampoo to bug spray to a foot spa treatment to the key ingredient in beer cocktails. Check out my article where I go into 20 plus ways to use beer that has not worked out to plan, it’ll really surprise you!
27: Minors, it’s only illegal to buy alcohol, not brew it!
Now this one you didn’t hear from me, Ok? But, as far as I can see in my research it is not illegal to buy the key ingredients needed in brewing beer. Nor is it illegal to buy the equipment you need to brew beer. However, is it illegal to brew beer?
Well, you’d have to check your state or national law, but there is nothing I found which expressly said that brewing beer and then consuming it was against the law as a minor. Only buying and selling beer to a minor is going to get you locked up. So, this may be something which a certain demographic may be interested in. But again, I am not saying that anyone should do this I just thought it interesting I couldn’t find a law which clearly said what I expected to see.
28: Have the ultimate home bar that your neighbors will hate you for!
OK, everyone has that one neighbor which gets on your nerves. They always have to have the perfect lawn or the best car or their kids are just too darn polite. Well, you can out do they at your next killer barbecue when you show them your home bar with its own freshly brewed guest ales
As Mr. Rogers sits down on your bar stool and feels the reclaimed wood bar top and then sees you pour a beautiful beer from a real English-style pub beer pump, he’ll shrink with envy of your awesomeness. You might even get along after a few perfectly balanced ales, maybe.