This past month I brewed my 50th batch of homebrew and called it a good run.
|Once more, into the brew|
It was not the first time I let go of a hobby. When I was deployed to Iraq and then Afghanistan I took up fly tying.
Just as it was satisfying to drink a beer I had brewed it was fun to catch a fish on a fly that I tied. While both were fun at some level I realized that there are some good lessons in letting go of hobbies.
|Sweet carp success|
You Only Save Money If You Enjoy the Time
It’s possible to save money by tying your own flies or brewing your own beer – but only if you make that your focus. It’s tempting to do some easy math and think that you save money on beer. For example, even with doing partial extract brewing where I buy a lot of liquid malt extract (the most expensive ingredient) I can brew 5 gallons of beer for around $56.
An 5-gallon keg of decent craft beers are averaging $70 so for a while I convinced myself that I was at least making money. However, I soon realized that this calculus neglected the 4 - 5 hours to brew and 1 - 2 hours it was taking me to bottle the beers.
And once I had kids time for hobbies came at a premium. While homebrewing was fun, I realized I would often rather be running or catching up with the kids and house projects.
Keep Fun Time Fun
It also started to feel like a chore to bottle the beer. I could have bought a kegging set-up and gear. But this felt like throwing more money after something that I was questioning. For some people brewing is a creative outlet to try really weird flavor or to make really world-class beer. I was brewing good beer but beer that I could buy in a store and that seemed questionable.
Finally, it takes mental space to maintain gear for brewing. Since I was down to brewing once or twice a year I would often find that some key piece of gear had broken the previous time and I hadn't replaced it. Or the kids had walked off with it. Our house had not missed the gear yet.
|So long and thanks for the beer.|
We'll Call It a Sabbatical
There was still a part of me that held on for a year or so after I thought about retiring. I feel the sunk cost of the equipment and time getting my experience. But at 50 batches of beer I can at least say I gave it a good run.
At the moment, I am phrasing it as a sabbatical from brewing. I still enjoyed it and might someday return to it when the kids are older or gone. Just like I might one day tie my own flies again. But for now I will focus on other priorities.
|Someone's ready to brew.|