Dear Mr. Beer Man­ners

A modern-day guide to en­joy­ing craft beer … with­out be­ing a jerk about it.

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - The Mash -

Dear Mr. Beer Man­ners, New­ly­wed here, and we’re go­ing through some grow­ing pains. I’ve al­ways loved his home­brew, and even though I am not a brewer my­self, I have a lot of fun hang­ing out and help­ing him on brew day. But now there’s equip­ment all over the house. Stir plates on the kitchen coun­ters, ket­tles in the din­ing room, and hoses and…

other stuff…in the liv­ing room and bed­room. It’s not a mat­ter of him be­ing a slob; it’s just that he brews so of­ten that he doesn’t see any rea­son to put it away, and be­cause we work such long hours, it’s not a pri­or­ity for him to take ev­ery­thing down to the base­ment for stor­age. I don’t want to be that per­son—you know, the one who says it’s me or the beer—but I can barely make din­ner at night. He doesn’t want to brew in the garage be­cause he’s wor­ried about con­tam­i­na­tion, but there’s no way we can keep this up with­out a loss of san­ity down the road. Is this just a phase? How can we make this work? –Lost in Dal­las Dear Lost, You have to say some­thing. Con­sider it the first step in your mar­riage to­ward a life where you are mu­tu­ally con­tribut­ing to the idea of main­tain­ing an or­ga­nized home. I rec­om­mend mak­ing it a part of a larger re­or­ga­ni­za­tion ini­tia­tive. Per­haps start by buy­ing some bins to sort, or­ga­nize, and put away your own stuff. Maybe buy a rolling cart to make mov­ing the gear from room to room eas­ier. And I also rec­om­mend buy­ing a la­bel maker (and ex­tra la­bels). If he’s any­thing like the home­brew­ers I know (my­self in­cluded), he’s likely pretty into gad­gets and this might turn or­ga­ni­za­tion into more of a fun ac­tiv­ity than a chore. Good luck. Dear Mr. Beer Man­ners, I lent some equip­ment to a co­worker to brew with, and when I got it back, I got a nasty sur­prise. He’d hosed things down, but the lines were sticky and grow­ing funk on the in­side, there were grains still stuck to the mash tun, and there’s a re­ally nasty ring of scorched some­thing on the bot­tom of my boil ket­tle. And did I men­tion the bent false bot­tom? Who freak­ing does that??? I wasted an en­tire Saturday de-gunk­ing ev­ery­thing, an ac­tiv­ity that dis­tracted me from fly­ing into a black­out rage (I’m try­ing to find the sil­ver lin­ing). I’m ob­vi­ously never go­ing to lend him my equip­ment again, but I feel that some­thing should be said. The thing is, as you might have no­ticed above, we work to­gether. Do I let it go and keep the peace at work, or do I risk some ten­sion and let him know what a pain that was? What the Funk? in Bos­ton Dear WTF, I feel your pain, and I’ve had sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences. At this point, I think you have to let go. It’s bet­ter to ad­dress these types of si­t­u­a­tions as they oc­cur rather than wait­ing weeks or months to bring them back up af­ter re­sent­ment has been al­lowed to man­i­fest it­self. For ex­am­ple, when you no­ticed that the funk was grow­ing in your tub­ing and you were go­ing to have to spend sig­nif­i­cant time and en­ergy on clean­ing your sys­tem, you could have reached out to your co­worker to come help you clean the sys­tem (maybe, just maybe he doesn’t know how to thor­oughly clean a brew sys­tem and would be grate­ful to learn). If he ever asks you to bor­row your gear in the fu­ture, that would be the ap­pro­pri­ate time to bring it up with him. Let him know that the last time he bor­rowed the equip­ment, it wasn’t re­turned in the con­di­tion you ex­pected. For now, how­ever, I rec­om­mend putting it be­hind you.

There is a prac­ti­cal method for pre­emp­tively avoid­ing these types of si­t­u­a­tions. I have a num­ber of brewer friends who have de­vel­oped a check­list for prepa­ra­tion and clean­ing of their brewing equip­ment. They use the check­list them­selves, but they also make sure it ac­com­pa­nies any equip­ment that they loan to friends. It’s not a fool­proof sys­tem, but it’s a proac­tive step in set­ting ex­pec­ta­tions for tak­ing care of your equip­ment. San­i­ti­za­tion is a mind­set. If you have a ques­tion for Mr. Beer Man­ners, please email him at mr­beer­man­ners@beerand­brew­ We re­serve the right to edit your ques­tion for length and clar­ity.

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