I really like brewing beer, and I really don’t want to become one of those homebrewers.

I joined a local homebrew club back in May, thanks my friend Lucas (the only person I knew in Chicago when I moved here). I’d always wanted to try brewing, and finally got into it because he’s on the board and talked me into coming to one of the quarterly parties (aside: it shouldn’t take much convincing to get me to a party with a bunch of beer and friendly people, but I was saying no to a lot of things and being generally anti-social for a long time there).

Anyway, I joined the club, and I’m really glad I did. For one thing, I’d only met a few people in the city when I joined. Through the club, I’ve met a whole bunch of people, and have become closer friends with some. For another, I learned a whole lot about brewing really quickly. I can only imagine how I’d be doing if I tried figuring this all out on my own at home; having a bunch of experienced brewers around has been invaluable.

And I’ve found that I really, really enjoy brewing. As I’ve become more comfortable with the process, I enjoy doing it a lot more—at least partly because I don’t spend the entire time worried that I’m forgetting something. Plus, it’s a great excuse to hang out with people and sample beer that other people have brewed and put on tap at our brewhouse. As far as we know, we’re the only homebrew club in the country with a dedicated, shared brewhouse, and having all that shared equipment (and a concrete floor that can be hosed down) makes the entire process so much easier. Price-wise, it probably doesn’t work out in the long term: if I saved the money I’m spending on membership and spent it on my own equipment, I’d probably break even in a year or two. But, it’s well worth the cost to have club members to hang out with, the space to brew in, a reason to get out of the house on a regular basis, and a hobby that isn’t basically the same thing I do for a living every day.

But, the point here is that I don’t want to become one of those people that’s obnoxious about homebrewing. Homebrewers tend to be categorized among marathoners and vegans and people who have rescued a shelter dog or do Crossfit. I have honestly tried to keep my trap shut about it, beyond the “yeah I’ve been getting into brewing,” because holy crap no one cares. Once in a while, someone will ask me more about it, but I’m really trying to avoid being one of those overbearing twits, and I hope you’ll help keep me honest.