1973. 1st trip to England with my Brit hubby. Fell in love with all things Pub and beer. Took home 2 cans of "Boots
Chemists" malt extract...yes, the yeast was attached. Life ensued and after several moves, decided it was time to make that beer..circa 1977. Followed the directions to the "T". Bottled in carefully collected swing top bottles. Voila!
Nothing, nada, no bubbles at all. Decided there just wasn't any viable yeast there, so we dropped a couple of raisins into each bottle (grapes have naturally occurring yeast on the skins don't you know....and raisins have sugar. Brilliant!!! A year later, went to the basement pantry where they had been forgotten about. Every bottle looked like someone had taken a glass cutter and neatly severed off the bottle bottom with the top completely in tact. Never did completely get all the solidified beer off that floor. (Boy, those Grolsch tops sure do seal though!)
Sometime in the 80's, still missing real ale, got serious. Bought a fresh can of extract and yeast from a real home brew store. Once again followed the directions...but augmented with having read a couple of books...the original "Joy" and Dave Line's "Big Book" I was now armed to make real beer. The secret was obviously more extract!
The beer was surprisingly drinkable (I was intrigued) but I needed a real mentor. I managed to find the Minnesota Home Brewers Assoc. and the rest as they say is history. Those wonderfully amusing and witty guys, with all their cobbled together kegs and dairy auction bits and bobs were the most genuine and fun
group of people I've ever been fortunate enough to spend time with. They embraced a noob (a girl even), without being intimidating. They made suggestions that made a huge difference in my next batch, and several of them even "adopted" me, helping me acquire a reasonable assemblage of usable brew gear on the cheap. Lot's of fun years as a member there brewing some really great beers, winning a few ribbons and learning, learning, learning.
Around '94, all the gear got moth balled as we were operating our own businesses. Besides, you could now "buy" a lot of really great beer and my favorite Pale Ale was even made locally.
Moved to rural Oregon in '05, and by '07 was ready to have another go at it. One hippy co-op with some brew supplies and no local club. Thank gawd for internet shopping. Found a handful of people who were meeting basically to drink home made beer in the summer of '08 thru a small ad. Fast forward...2012. The Umpqua Valley Brewers Guild has hosted it's 1st BJCP sanctioned competition, has 30+ members, some fun activities on the 2012 calendar, a lot of enthusiastic noobs, and a mission to teach and share the greatest hobby on the planet.
Currently, I have beers 3 on tap, one conditioning and two new sight glasses to install. Life is Good!
Thanks to all you guys who have and continue to share so much enthusiasm and knowledge about our beloved brews and brewing. Luv you all.