Dec 11 2009

Charlie Papazian, and Just Brewing and Getting a Little Better at It Each Time

I was quoted today in a Charlie Papazian article in The University of Virginia Magazine


The connection between those two is that Charlie Papazian graduated from UVa in 1972 with a nuclear engineering degree.  If you don’t know anything about Charlie, do yourself a favor and read up on the father of homebrewing, and find out about the significance of his hard work for the homebrewing movement. Here’s a few of the thoughts I shared with the magazine:

When I got my first homebrew kit back in 1995, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing book came with it.  This was before the internet and, later, during the early years when we didn’t know what to do with the World Wide Web. Unless you could hang out in the local homebrew shop, or buddy up with a more experienced brewer, not having that book was like not having an instruction manual.  You were lost.

Books have come out since that time that are more technical, and go much deeper into the science of brewing, but he was the first American to write a book that taught the novice how to brew.

And he gave us the phrase: “Relax, Don’t Worry, Have a Homebrew.” That might sound trite or too hippie in today’s society, but it was just what the new homebrewer needed to hear. Brewing great beer requires meticulous sanitation and attention to detail and, if you think about it too much, you become overwhelmed and paralyzed with worry.  Charlie gave you the confidence to just brew, and get better at it each time.

In the big picture, he founded the Association of Brewers, which later turned into the Brewers Association, and the American Homebrewers Association.  These are important organizations that protect the rights and interests of craft and homebrewers.

The brewing industry has changed, too. Every year the big American breweries lose market share, but craft breweries are growing in leaps and bounds.  These craft breweries were started by homebrewers who were bored by what the big boys were making.  These craft brewers went pro, which is every homebrewer’s dream, and they embody Papazian’s creativity, work ethic and sense of fun. 

He’s the father of American homebrewing, and he continues to be important to homebrewers and the brewing industry today.

But you know all this already don’t you?  Don’t you?

The University of Virginia article about Charlie Papazian