World Of Brewing

Snapshot of my life

Early life

I was born in Oregon in the 1970s. I grew up and went to school in the same city I was born in, and spent most of my life here. As a teenager, I realized I wanted more out of life than my current city offer me. Some of my family left for Portland in search better jobs and more activities. I always considered it the perfect place if you are retired, or raising a family, not if you want any seleccion.

Over the years I have lived in Oregon (Salem and Portland area), Washington (Vancouver and Seattle area), Alaska (Anchorage), Illinois (Chicago), and Virginia (Norfolk). With the exception of 5 years in a few states, all of my life has been in either Oregon or Washington.

Computers

At any early age, my brother introduced me to computers. I still don't know what sparked his interest. He told me that I was watching TV and he wanted to watch something, so he showed me a game on our Atari (I don't know which games it was), and I was instantly hooked. That was more than 30 years ago.

From the time I became hooked on hobby computers, I continued to learn and explore what all these machines were capable of. This came in the form of programming, operating bulletin boards, playing games, and anything else I could find.

I was not an early adopter of the Internet. In fact, a was rather late to it. My brother told me about it in 1995, but I had no interest. He said I told him I was only into the BBS scene and it had everything I needed.

Roughly a year later, he showed me early video conferencing, chat rooms, and some other features of the internet, and I was hooked.

Starting in the late 90s, I was able to get out of the food industry, and into the field of computers, starting with technical support, gaining more experience, and moving into service operators and highly level jobs.

Saving and investing

I started learning about saving and investing after the financial crisis of 2007-08. I recall about 2005, a supervisor I had at the time recommended the book "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki, and told me what it was about. I thoguht it sounded great, but at that age, I knew I had plenty of time.

For several years I completely forgot about the book, until one day I saw someone reading it. He mentioned many key points about the book and praised it for explaining finances to him. I decided it was time to read it.

I read almost the entire book in a single night, and while much of it seemed like made up stories, I learned a significant amount about spending and why we have poor, middle, and rich class, and their spending habits.

From that book, I found out I needed to learn how to invest money. Robert made a point in the book and said that rich people have their money work for them to make even more money, while poor people spend everything. At that time I knew I needed to learn about saving and investing.

Over the next few years I discovered two other financial advisors that I still listen to and have read some of their books. Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey. While many people attack Suze, her advice is rock solid. I have watched many seminars and talks with both Suze and Dave, and learned an incredible amount.

Starting a few years back, I become interested in investing, and needed to find an affordable method. Not everybody has $10,000 to invest.

The stock market seemed the most affordable, but some advice I received from family in previous years was really bad, so I stayed away. Now I was thinking, if the market is so bad, why do so many people invest? I did about 6 months of research into how it works, and decided the advice I was given earlier was really bad, given by someone who didn't understand the market.

Over the next 3 years I developed my a strategy. My first buys and sells made me money, but the next few were major losers. I still own those stocks today as a reminder of the mistakes I made.

I began listened to multi-millionaires, such as Dave Ramsey, Kevin O'Leary, and Warren Buffet, and learned new strategies. In the beginning, I didn't do enough research, and mostly went by what other people said. My strategy has been significantly refined, and I consider myself a disciplined investor, even if my funds are limited.

Something that still haunts me to this day. I look at many stock charts for all types of companies, oil and gas, real estate, technology, food, and more. Had I taken it upon myself to study the market and learn how it worked, instead of listen to advice from someone who didn't know, I could have bought many stocks over 10 years ago when prices were much lower, and I could be in a much better financial position today.

Cheap beer eventually leads to brewing

I went to a gravel pit with my brother and a several of his friends when I was a teenager. Not sure why I was brought along. They had a large amount of cheap beer and some wine coolers. I hated the beer, but loving the wine coolers, and downing many bottles. All of his friends were a few years older than me, and the peer pressure to get drunk was pretty high.

A few years after that night, I had a roommate whose friend was a heavy drinker, and he only drank cheap beer. He would share beer with anybody to have a drinking partner. From that beginning, I mostly drank cheap beer. I thought that was how all beer should taste. Basically, corn and rice were normal in beer, but I really didn't care, all I wanted was the buzz.

This thinking continued for several years. I actually did visit a brewpub once in the mid 90s, but wasn't really in touch with beer or the different styles, so I would have a microbrew, then go back to cheap beer. Ultimately I ended up stay with everything cheap. I saw microbrews in the store, but most were double the price of the domestic low quality beer, and I couldn't justify the higher cost since I didn't know it was better quality.

About this time, I was also talking to a few locals, and the subject of brewing came up. I had no idea a private person could make their own beer. I was under the impression that only breweries could make it and very expensive equipment was required. However, even knowing I could brew my own, we have such a huge selection of beer in the Pacific NW that I didn't see a need to brew, I could buy quality beer all day long.

More years passed, and I was visiting my brother one day. He gave me a wheat beer microbrew. I still remember it to this day. I tried it and loved it. Over the next few years, I would slowly quit drinking the cheap crap, and began converting to microbrew. By now I was fully aware of homebrewing, but like I said, good beer was everywhere, so why would I want to make my own?

In 2003, I ended up taking a job (and I later regretted), which took me to a city outside Chicago. At the particular place I was living, good beer was hard to find. Cheap beer was everywhere, and that is just about all anybody drank. Before arriving, I was convinced that good beer was everywhere, and I would never have a problem finding it. This is not to say that all beer in Chicago is bad, but in my particular location, it was near impossible to find. I did visit a couple breweries near Chicago, but the most easily accessible beer was all cheap, so I resorted back to drinking that during my stay.

The next stop was Norfolk, which ended up only being a few months. Quality beer was available, but it was mostly sold at higher end grocery stores, so I made special trips to get my microbrew. I had enough of the low quality, mass produced, rice and corn adjunct beer.

By this time I remembered the conversation several years earlier about making your own beer. Why not try it? Since I no longer had easy access to an abundance of qualityy beer, now seemed like a good time to brew my own.

I found a homebrew supply store near me and decided to check it out. The owner was very helpful and knew all the beers back home I talked about. He asked me if I wanted a single or two stage fermenation kit? What is the cost difference? The two stage was about $20 more. What is the benefit? Do I need a bigger kit? His answer was, if my first beer is a failure, will I continue? I told him that I understand anything quality takes time. He then suggested the two stage kit.

I bought the kit, but didn't use it, and soon moved back home. The kit went into storage where I forgot about it for about a year, then after remembering it, decided to make one batch, see what the proecss is like, possible sell the kit, and move on to another project.

That first batch of beer ultimately turned into a 10 gallon, stove top brewery with about 14 fermenters and over 20 kegs. More recently, the brewery was upgraded to 30 gallon (20 gallon batches) kettles, propane fired, counterflow wort chiller, brewery pump, over 20 buckets and carboys, and over 70 kegs. It is homebrewing out of control. The brewing bug has overtaken my life. It is my only real hobby, and perhaps someday, a brewery.