In 2000, I was in college working mostly on my BAC. A couple of friends and I walked into a little burger joint for lunch and beers and they had scooners of Moose Drool on special. I ordered one, because the name made me laugh, but this turned out to be the beer that changed my life.
Up to this point I had mostly drank Coors Light but Drool opened my eyes to a world of flavor I had never experienced. Soon, I was sucking down oatmeal stouts, octoberfests and pale ales.
Rapidly I figured out I could not afford to drink as much as I wanted of craft beer. I was poor, living in an old singlewide with my brother not far from campus.
There was only one thing to do. I had to start making this kind of beer so we went down to a local homebrew shop and picked out an oatmeal stout, go big or go home.
We had a book on brewing, but of course didn't read it, so we just tossed all of the specialty grains in a pot and boiled them for a little while. Then we strained them through cheesecloth in our bathroom, which was definately the dirtiest place in the house, if not the whole town.
We poured our strained liquid back into the pot and added the extract, boiled, added to the carboy and just waited until it didnt seem super hot. Then we added yeast.
In a couple of weeks bottled and the beer was weak in body, kind of funky but AWESOME. I couldn't get enough and look back on my first beer warmly. It wouldn't win any awards but it opened my eyes to what was possible. I had done nearly everything wrong; I boiled my grains, I didn't wash anything, our sanitation was horrific, I didn't educate myself at all, I pitched warm and I didn't hydrate my yeast but it still turned out ok.
Beer can be forgiving, but it will only forgive so much.