Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Which kind of beer would you give up drinking?

Homebrewers, if you had to choose, which would you give up drinking for a year?

Homebrew - 26%
Commercial Beer - 73%
277 votes

A hard decision, but these days I feel like I'm buying less commercial beer than at any other point since I became interested in beer.  I've only been buying beers that are unique or interesting, when I'm at home and I want a beer, its rare that I open anything commercial (unless someone else is there to share it with me).  Commercial beer has become a source of inspiration more than anything else to me, allowing me to taste different combinations of ingredients without having to devote the time and effort to brewing an entire batch.  Part of the decline in my commercial beer consumption is also due to the fact that I simply don't get as much enjoyment out of a great commercial beer as I do from a great beer that I (or a friend) brewed.

There are some times when craft beer is a necessity though, for example when you go out to a bar or restaurant with friends.  I would also really miss the semi-regular beer tastings with my group of friends, getting to share the interesting beers they acquire in their travels or trades (last night it was growlers of Brooklyn's Cookie Jar Porter and Russian River Redemption my friends Peter and Alex shared).  That said, I enjoy brewing and drinking homebrew with the same people even more, so (if I had to choose) commercial beer would be the one I would give up (seems like most of the people who voted agree).

If anyone has any compelling thoughts in either direction let's hear them, and vote in the new poll on homebrew competitions by visiting the blog.


  1. Since I've started brewing the only time I've had commercial beer has been when I'm at a restaurant or bar. And even then I make sure it a) isn't from Molson-Coors or Busch and b) I'm expanding my knowledge of beers. Of course, the exception is when I'm at someone's home and need to be polite.

  2. At one point, I swore off buying commercial beer in favor of having more money to spend on brewing my own.

    These days, I mostly just buy stuff I either really love or stuff I haven't tried and feel I should.

    My biggest problem is I just don't drink very much, full stop. I've been averaging about 3 cases of beer brewed a month, and only drinking a beer or two a week. I need to throw more parties, or something.

  3. Such a choice must be an easy one the US where you have homebrewing supplies all accross the country. For me, it is driving some 150km to another country, chosing from exactly 2 types of malt (pale and dark), 1 type of ale and lager yeast and 2 or 3 types of hops. The only option to buy locally is to buy stolen supplies from the breweries, but I am somwhat not inclined to support this. Sure, there is internet, but shipping all that stuff from the USA or UK is not the cheapest option and not many web shops ship internationally at all.

    Also not too many homebrewers around as well, so commercial beers bring at least some variety.

  4. Atis -

    I saw a post recently about homebrew shops in Spain (though haven't tried any of them). Not sure if any are near you, but I hope one is. Cheers!

  5. I may only be starting out with homebrewed beers, but I would give them up in favour of commercial beers for three reasons - time, money, and choice.

    It costs roughly the same here to make a batch of beer as to buy a case (a rough estimate, it varies a lot, and a homebrewed batch is a greater volume than a case). Many of the beers I like the most (Belgians for example) take a long time to mature - I am impatient. And I will never - even brewing every couple of weeks - brew as many different beers in my life as I can try by buying. And if a batch goes wrong, that's a lot of time, money, and effort wasted. A dud bottle or half pint is negligible.

    I find both sides informative - commercial allows you to explore styles, get an idea what you like, while brewing your own helps you understand where the flavours are coming from, and offers an insight into just how much work goes into what you're drinking. But objectively for me, it's a labour of love, not a practical alternative.