Teaching brewing

My wife’s a teacher here in Half Moon Bay. Every year they hold an auction to raise some dough for the school. For the last two years, I’ve put forth a brewing class for bid. It makes a little scratch for the school and it’s made me think about how you teach a complete novice to navigate a brew day. For this year, I decided to demonstrate an all-grain, 10 gallon, batch sparg brew. I wrote up a “Field Guide” and walked them through each lovely aspect of how the days goes. If you ever want to know exactly how much you really know about brewing, teach someone else to do it. I made sure I had several books on hand to look up the more interesting questions including, “How to Brew” and “Designing Great Beers“, though I only needed to reference How to Brew once, which made me feel kind of good. In writing up the guide, it was really a challenge to figure out what information was necessary, and what I should leave out in order to not confuse the “students”. When I started brewing I did it by following a one-page list of directions, which was great, but it didn’t tell me anything about why I was doing what I was doing. I chose to include a one-page set of directions, but then added some “color commentary ” about mash rests and strike temperatures, etc. My hope was that, if they decide to try this on their own, it will pique their interest a little more and get them hooked a little faster.

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