Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Photo by Jennifer Mathis

Now that spring is here it’s time to decide what you would like to drink during those warm summer evenings on the deck. For a majority of people the answer it’s “beer” or “wine”.  Ask them “what kind?” and you’re likely to hear “well I usually have. …” Then they’ll go on to say something run of the mill like a Lager or Chardonnay. Most people are apprehensive about trying something new because they are nervous that they may not like the new brew. When I first started brewing beer I was the typical new brewer. If the style of beer could not be found at the corner store I assumed I did not like it. However things have changed. My goal this year is to try two new original beers and a wine that I have never made before.

A big problem I find with brewing is what I call the “safe factor”. It’s the way of thinking “if it’s not broke why try to fix it?” After making my many batches of Canadian style light I decided to try a new kind and took the “big step” to blonde. I know what you may be thinking— ooh! Big step. Nevertheless, to someone that likes to play it safe this was a big step. It’s the same for wine. I see many people come into our store and buy the same wine or beer kit every time. The best step I ever took as a brewer was the day I put on my first brown ale. It was the event that opened my eyes to trying new things. Until that fateful day I had stuck with my old reliable and favourite Brew House kit—Red Ale. I still make lots of my Brew House Red Ale, but I usually alternate and try some new styles in between batches. Sometimes I’m disappointed but more often than not I’m happy with what I make. Then there’s always the chance that I’ll  make this super brew that will change my life! What if I make a brew that I just don’t like? My theory is that you will always find some kind and generous person willing to assist you in your quality control. They will selflessly drink whatever  you’ve made so you can take notes and try to improve on your craft.

I’ve been pretty good at mixing things up with wine. I do love Cabernet Savignon and tried most of the common varietal wines. However last year I  was introduced to blended wines which consists of two or more varietals.  Some of these have been the best wines I have ever made.

Even though I’ve been trying new styles of beer and wine lately, my goal is to take it a step further. Total custom brews. I am thinking of doing a blueberry style beer and maybe some kind of beer with peach in it. I’ve often thought about doing a blush wine. There is no better time for me to try it then now. My advice for the brewing community is to step outside your comfort zone once in a while and try something different. You may end up being pleasantly surprised with your new creation and find yourself liking this new brew more then your old favourite.

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