Brewing my own

Psst… don’t tell the pub’s landlord, but I’ve started brewing my own beer again. The scale of my operation shouldn’t have him quaking in his boots, but it might save me a few quid at the end of the month, if everything turns out right.

Well, times are hard. Wages have suffered their longest drop for 50 years, taking into account inflation, according to the Office for National Statistics. It reckons there’s been a 2.2% annual fall since the start of 2010. On top of that, lower output and shorter working hours have slashed incomes further.

There’s certainly been no shortage of loafers mooching about the pub early doors recently. The endless torrential rain has seen all the builders, roofers, fencers and gardeners kicking their heels for weeks, while tractors gather dust in the barns as nobody can get onto the land.

So, the brewing bucket’s been dug out of the back of the shed after many years of disuse. A homebrew beer kit – a Christmas gift – has been lovingly stirred into a frothing frenzy, and I’ve been lurking around the bottle bank, cadging empties before they get smashed to pieces.

I used to brew lots of beer, years ago. What began out of necessity as a skint teenager, grew into a fascinating hobby for an often impoverished 20- or 30-something. Then, with gradually improving prosperity, the hobby became more of a chore when it seemed easier to slope off to the pub for a pint.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. The tipping point that ended my home-brewing career was discovering five gallons of suicide-strength barley wine had ‘gone off’ before I bottled it. The agony of pouring it all down the drain was a bitter pill to swallow. If that happens again, the pub’s landlord might never have to worry again about his personal pension plans

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