Kids in the Brewhouse

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If you are a family man like me, you would know the tightrope you walk in trying to get the balance right between family time and me-time. In most cases, the family time wins, as it should, but that also means that me-time activities such as brewing beer tend to suffer. Luckily we have Brewie now…see what I did there!?!?

With most hobbies, like golf, fishing or wood working, it’s easy to make them more family oriented, or at least include the children in them while you give your wife some me-time…how’s that for a multi tasking and working up some brownie points with the wife!

However, with brewing, I feel like there a little bit of hesitation for us brewers to invite our children into the brew house…I mean, we are making alcohol, after all. Or, that the narrow view of how some outsiders see it and therefore make us think twice about inviting children to participate.
I don’t really see it that way, and in fact both my son (14) and daughter (10) like to get involved in all elements of my brewing on a regular basis. Yes, I agree that we are making alcohol, but home brewing is so much more than that.

This is how I see it…young minds are sponges, looking for new information to be soaked up everyday. As a parent, it’s important to try and help them find more positive sources of information, like books, and less negative sources. I’m looking fair and square at you, YouTube, with all your RoBlox and “reaction” videos that you serve up to my daughter!

With that in mind, I like to find alternative sources to help them reinforce what they might be learning in school. See where I am heading here? Homebrewing is a living and breathing Science and Maths lesson, with some creative thinking thrown in for good measure. I like to get my kids to help me prepare my ingredients, they weigh out the malt and hops, use jugs to measure the water required etc. My daughter especially likes being able to use my power drill with my malt mill to crush the grains, and my son loves to rock the fermenter to aerate the wort once brewing is done!

Explaining to my kids how the yeast do their work is something my son used to find hilarious, I would tell him that the yeast eats the sugars and “poops” out the alcohol, and their “farts” were the beers bubbles…he still remembers that to this day. How’s that for a science lesson, although I could never really explain properly to him how that little bag of dried yeast we tipped on top of the beer was actually full of living organisms. He didn’t quite get my reference to Sea-Monkeys…remember them?

Anyway, the point I would like to make here is that the hobby of Homebrewing shouldn’t be frowned upon in terms of inviting your kids into the brew shed. There are so many great things to learn from home brewing that it’s actually irresponsible of us as parents to exclude them.
And if that doesn’t convince you, perhaps the opportunity to have a few extra hands on bottling day to help you clean, sanitise, fill and cap those pesky bottles…that’s gotta be a good thing!

Chris Lukianenko

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