It may come as a surprise to some that making beer is a little bit of everything. It’s art, expression, science, alchemy, experimentation, and, ultimately, discovery. It brings out the hippie, the wanderer, the mad scientist, and the underground rebel in you with every delightful moment. And when the time comes that you sample a new sensation that was crafted by your own hand, there are no words to describe the delight.
We live in a world where many people expect formula to equate results and the absence of formulate to equate to the absence of results. It is often expected that if you do X and Y with approved methods A and B, you will achieve result 1 and 2. Anything other than those results is a failure.
But making your own beer steps outside this boundary. It asks humbly that we forget the rigid boundaries of our linear thought processes and consider that the labels we have in the world are self-invented and that the world doesn’t always rest neatly into the boxes we created for it.
I discovered this truth when I tasted my first beer that I had crafted with my own hands. I had been planning on following a formula and expected a specific outcome, but I had to make some adjustments because I did not have some of the ingredients I needed, nor the foresight to inventory my needs ahead of time. I thought it would be a failure but I was determined, instead, to supplement my missing items with similar ones. I tinkered with sugars and fermenting times in the past, and I was worried that having done so would result in a waste of time, money, and most importantly, beer.
When the time came, I sampled my work and I was blissfully surprised. It was in that single moment that the epiphany hit me. I knew that the world of boxes and boundaries that we have created to confine our understanding of our world were little more than guidelines — and that’s being generous!
Today I finished a Blonde Ale and I didn’t follow a recipe at all. I had the basics I needed down, I had the idea of what I might do, but I really just winged it. Today I sampled this brew and I let out the kind of sigh only a crafter sampling the results of his craft can let out. I am blessed, my friends, and I hope that you all find this same simple joy.
What if we lived our whole life this way? Live our lives while not being so obsessed with boxes and boundaries, with labels and formula? Imagine how much larger and amazing the world would be when it is beheld as a single masterpiece and not a set of diced up pixels or droplets across an endless canvas! Imagine how vast the universe will feel when we bring down the walls of category and behold it as a single entity.
Imagine how beautiful life will feel when you realize that the internal and the external worlds are the same.. and that we are an expression of all that there is just as assuredly as the stars and the sky.
I breath deeply today, my friends, and I exhale knowing true happiness.