One of the nicest things about homebrewing is the ability to share the results with others. As a believer in committing random acts of kindness, I am always looking for opportunities to enable people to enjoy a good malted beverage.
When my family and I moved into our current neighborhood, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that it has an annual block party. That year it was held just a few months after we arrived, while we were still unpacking boxes. It was a great way to meet our neighbors, and to our delight they were quite friendly and nice. The organizers had supplied a keg of commercial beer as they had done every year. Additionally, I brought some of my homebrew to share. I set up a table with signs describing the different brews and I gave out samples. In a short time people were asking me to fill their cups, and before I knew it I had a line of people waiting for refills. I tried not to let my head swell with all the accolades I was getting. Anyway, the upshot was that the commercial keg remained mostly full, and the organizers requested that I supply the beer at all future block parties. I have gladly accepted this task, not just because I'm a sucker for an ego boost, but because I brew so much that the occasional one-day consumption of 5 or 10 cases doesn't deplete my supplies. To give you an idea of how much I keep in reserve, here's a picture of just part of my stash (this is all homebrew; disregard the brewery names written on the boxes):
Our community holds a yearly adults-only party at the pool, with lobster and steak for dinner and dancing and water volleyball afterwards. At the first one that my wife and I attended, the hundred or so guests were supplied with two commercial kegs of beer as well as 20 bottles of wine and a case of rum. Though they didn't need any more drinks, I just couldn't show up without homebrew. I brought 80 bottles, thinking that maybe half would get consumed because there were so many other beverages available. It was the best party I had been to in more than 10 years. Our average age was about 40, and yet we danced until well after midnight like a bunch of college kids while the DJ played late-70s/early-80s vintage rock that most of us remembered from our teens and twenties. It's nice to know that being middle-aged doesn't mean that your party years are over! Anyway, as I gathered up my bottles and coolers in the wee hours, I discovered that every single bottle was empty. Curious, I went over to the kegs, and, sure enough, they were about three-quarters full. The following year I brought 103 bottles to this event, and again my neighbors drank every bottle. People showed their appreciation for something homemade, and I was glad to be able to share it with them.
Sometimes people show their appreciation with more than consumption and compliments. My friends Jerry and Karin are big fans of the beer I make. When they got married in 1999 they asked me if I'd brew a special beer for them. I was only too happy to fulfill this wish, and I even created a special label to put on the bottles:
A few months later UPS delivered a fairly large package to my house. I opened it and there to my delight was a 5-gallon oak cask. My friends had sent it as a thank-you for supplying their wedding beer. Here's a picture of it:
Now that much of the wood flavor has been used up, it is taking longer and longer for beer to acquire it, so I decided to do a long-term project: I bought 5 gallons of the cheapest vodka I could find and filled the cask with it. I plan to tap this keg of "visky" (or is it whodka?) in the year 2022, at which point it will have been aging for 20 years.