Return On Investment For the Homebrewer

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This article originally appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of Zymurgy Magazine

By J.B Zorn

Brewing is a lot like cooking,” I’ve said many a time. “You just have to wait somewhere between a month and a couple years before you try your recipe.” Not everyone cooks, though. Most everyone has found occasion to boil water to make pasta from a box, but not everyone has rolled out the dough for their own ravioli. When two people who like to cook meet each other, there’s a recognition and a chance off the bat for some real camaraderie. It’s like that among brewers, vintners, and makers of meads, too. There’s the happy resonance of “Ah—you’re one, too!” And there’s the chance of having not only lucked into a new friend, but a new friend who has stories. Brewers tend to have stories. I’ll tell you one now.

It’s always a treat to meet another brewer, and it’s always a bit wistful when someone leaves the fold. I was looking for a refrigerator to use for lagering and found someone ready to let one go. He was a brewer, too, and he’d already fit the thing with taps and handles. Score, thought I, maybe he’s upgrading. Maybe he likes the build-out as much as the end result and makes a hobby of it. Plenty of homebrewers are tinkerers, too. But, as it happened, he was retiring from the craft, and like the signs say, everything must go.

The man showed me into a spacious and immaculate garage and walked with me to the fridge. It hummed. It was large, it was quiet, and it was clean. He opened the door. Inside sat a lone sixtel keg, clean and unlabeled…

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