I like beer. I have liked beer for about as long as I've been exposed to it, and allowed to drink it. I actually liked it for some time before I was officially(legally) allowed to drink it. I drank the first beer I liked in June of 1994, in the town in Gruissan, in the south of France. I was fifteen years old, and I was handed a bottle of a French beer called Lutzbrau. Up to this point, drinking beer had been something of a chore for me.
But, there were women present - French women - so I felt obliged to put on a show for them. I turned the bottle upside-down, and emptied it down my throat in about ten seconds. To my great surprise, I did not choke on it, nor did I have any trouble gulping it down. I enjoyed it, and I wanted another one.
In the ten years that followed that incident, my love for the most unlikely potable mix of ingredients in human history has grown, and matured. Through stupidly keeping sixpacks of beer under the seats in the family van, a couple brushes with the law, and the most ridiculous period of beer drinking in my life(college), I sharpened and honed my appreciation for the drink so callously named, in our language, "beer."
I have traveled around these United States, and sampled beers from one coast to the other, and many many beers brewed in between. Boston, Portland, Denver, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Nashville, and my own home city of Kansas City, all have astonishing arrays of beer, as I have seen and tasted when visiting them. I have picked up some friends who share the same fierce appreciation for the art of brewing: Carl, Alex, Dave, Steve, Renae, Joel, Matt, Geoff, Louis - along with my brother Brian, and my sister Julia.
On a less monumentally capitulating note, I visited beer-loving friends Joel and Susie in New York in September of this year, and while enjoying some delicious East Coast beer, Joel and I agreed that what with all these people making delicious beer, and us doing nothing but drinking and critiquing it, we needed to produce some beer of our own. We shook hands on it, and drained our glasses. After the sluggish reality of purchasing over $200 worth of equipment and ingredients, we had our "Deluxe Brewing Kits," courtesy Minnesota's Northern Brewer.
Joel managed to get his brewing done two nights before I did, and got an excellent picture of his finished product, fermenting merrily.
I brewed on Saturday night.