COLUMBIA — On Sundays you can find Jeff Menter* in his backyard shed brewing and drinking beer. Jeff has been brewing his own beer for several years now, but he's just getting started and has no plans of stopping.
One of the most rewarding parts about brewing beer for Menter isn't just the moment where you can savor the batch you just brewed, but being able to share and enjoy it with friends and family.
In a cramped shed at 9 a.m., empty carboys sit waiting to be filled, bags of grain wait to be cracked and Menter fills an empty keg with water to begin the boil for making beer that day.
Menter didn't get into brewing until he started drinking good beer, he said. In fact, he didn't even enjoy the taste of beer at first.
"Throughout my teens and my twenties I just didn't like beer at all, I thought it tasted horrible," Menter said.
It wasn't until trying beers such as Chimay Grande Réserve Blue and Stone Ruination IPA that Menter became interested in beer and brew culture. Soon after his interest in beer sparked, Menter bought a beer brewing kit and began making beer in his kitchen.
"I got a kit and made a batch of beer and it wasn't the greatest beer in the world, but it was beer and from then on I was pretty hooked on making beer," he said.
Menter eventually reached a point where his beers were just as good as the ones he could buy. Once reaching that milestone it was hard for him to stop brewing.
"Being able to make beer that's really good and you like it and your friends like it, that's pretty amazing and a pretty cool thing to be able to do," he said.
While brewing beer has been a rewarding and exciting experience for Menter, it didn't always come as easy as it does now. Starting out, brewing beer appeared to be a very daunting process and certain aspects of the brew process can still be difficult.
"The most difficult part in brewing by far is just having patience to let the beer become beer," Menter said. "There is a tendency to want to bottle it too quickly and drink it. Giving it a month or two of just sitting there turns it into an entirely different well-rounded beer."
Menter and his neighbor Holly Henry eventually decided to combine their brew systems and brew together on Sunday. Menter then created a group on Facebook and began inviting friends over to help clean, bring food and have a good time.
"(Sunday) seemed like a good day," Menter said. "It's sort of our religion, like going to beer church, and we invited people and they brought food and beer and it turned into a regular Sunday thing. It makes it easier and makes it more fun and it's cool seeing people get interested in making beer."