Tutoring the Tutor (About Beer)!

John Life

My kids are getting into my favorite hobby as they grow older; in fact, it is my only hobby. I game up everything else, including sports, movies, music, and reading (except how to start a brew pub) for beer. When I discovered that you could have your own setup, I was ecstatic and rushed out to buy all the required gear. I am still adding equipment. It takes up room in the house. So what if we don’t have any more closets. Forget the former work area in the garage. The wood bench has moved out back. Beer is everything and my children get it. They talk about it as much as I do.

For example, one of them was being tutored by a local college student as he was getting a little overwhelmed by the new math. He was a great guy who rocked up and pulled all sorts of items out of his modern college backpack as he tried to get my son to focus on the subject at hand so they could work problems. It was a new Backpack Style that I hadn’t seen before, and when I quizzed him on it, he said he’d found about the brand on Facebook. It took a while and I was tempted to move things along by offering a beer to get everyone relaxed. That would wait until later. I offer anyone in my home of sufficient age a homemade specialty.

Whatever kind you like, dark or light, I have it. Ale or lager your penchant? I have it. Meanwhile my son was droning on about fermenting and malt beverages. He explained clearly and correctly what they meant to the beer-making process. I was super proud of his acquired knowledge. He also talked about organic beer, barrel-aged and wood-aged varieties, not to forget gluten free and kosher types. I loved listening in to hear about the history of ales and lagers going back hundreds of years (ales back to antiquity). He must have looked it all up online, or maybe he was reading my books. He has redeemed himself for his failure in math – perhaps even enough for me to start to look into getting him a new .

The tutor started to ask specific questions about home brewing and what I fancied the most. Then I got into the conversation. I went into detail about pale and brown ales, pilsners and dark lagers. I spewed everything I knew. He lapped it up. I talked about techniques and the use of yeast—the difference between top and bottom fermenting. He picked it up fast being a smart guy. Then it came time for sampling my wares as I taught about hybrids (beers fermented at low temperatures using ale yeast or the converse) and specialty varieties (which are practically limitless).

I gave him several types in small steins not wanting to get him drunk. I assumed that he was driving. After some snacks to sober everyone up, I got up to bid him farewell. I grabbed a good book on brewing and handed it to him with a big smile. “It was great sharing,” I said as he slipped the tome into his backpack. “Next time I see you, I expect to encounter an expert,” I blurted to which he answered, “Of course.”