I enjoyed very much the whole beer-making experience of this class. I had a little bit of personal experience with brewing, as my brother is a winemaker in Napa and amateur brewer, and we’d made several beers and wines together before. However, we had always used more makeshift tools than the ones we got to use in class, like a taped-up bendy straw for an airlock, and an old used wine jug for a fermenting tank. So, it was really neat to me to get to see more professional tools being used in brewing in the class. One part of it that was cool to me was the forced carbonation of the keg. My brother and I had always just skipped the carbonation entirely, or made attempts at using priming sugar to create carbonation, so to see the way the CO2 gas is “mixed” in to the beer through the pumping and shaking of the keg was a cool new experience for me. The inclusion of the different methods of fermenting were also interesting, with the various clay pots and degrees of openness to outside bacteria. While they could certainly not hold up to the control batch in an ultimate taste test, I was quite surprised at how well the beer in the homemade clay pots actually fared. It seemed counter-intuitive to me and was therefore very interesting. While I was already somewhat interested in brewing before this class, this new hands-on experience has certainly deepened my curiosity for trying my own home-brews in the future.
-J. Wolfgang Paulson