A sign that read "Brunswick Brewing Supply" caught my eye. I figured I'd stop in for the heck of it and check out what a brewing supply shop might offer.
After some time and thought, I returned to the store and bought a basic brewing set-up. This included fermentation and bottling buckets, a bottle-capper and bottling tube, as well as other paraphernalia to jump-start a brewing session.
My first brew would be an amber ale.
I got started one horrific evening a winter Nor-easter pounded New Jersey. As I set up my ingredients, the wind and rain howled outside our new townhouse. I focused on the delicious creation bubbling in the wort pot.
Lady Brewmaster described the aroma of the boiling grains (pre-hops) as similar to hot "Grape Nuts" cereal.
I had no idea what it would taste like, how it would turn out or what the bottling process would entail. To my delight, the Nor-easter waned without incident and I waited long into the evening for the wort to chill ... long before I ever acquired a dedicated wort chiller. My first brewing session was a success.
From that point on, I slowly invested in equipment, including that wort-chiller I could have used the first night.
Over the next couple of years, I honed my Amber Ale skills and friends curiously sipped from a foamy pub glass after I cracked a bottle. Their smiles told me all I needed to know.
My favorite brew supply source is The Brewer's Apprentice in Freehold, NJ. I've experimented with many styles of beer since those first few months. I continue to explore different flavors and methods, recently giving an all-grain Pilsner a try.
This is a hobby, but at some point my dream is to own a micro-brewery; perhaps offer a good American chow-down menu including cheese steaks and burgers.
And some day, maybe you'll sidle up to a bar and ask for a cold Laurel Highlands ale. I'll be happy to serve you.