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Hobbies To Consider For The New Year: Cody Gabbard Shares His Passion For Homebrewing

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Heading into the first weekend of 2020 might be the perfect time to add a new hobby to your life. All week, our listeners have been making their pitches, and today - the case for homebrewing beer.

CODY GABBARD: My name is Cody Gabbard, and I currently live in Portland, Ore. I started homebrewing beer when I was just out of college. A friend of mine visited a group of us, and he had a s'mores beer, which at the time was, unfortunately, undrinkable. But then he also had a strawberry-flavored beer that was absolutely fantastic. So that kind of gave us the bug. And then a few years after that, a friend invited me to help him brew one of his first batches, and that's what hooked me. And me and him started brewing together, and since then, I've never stopped.

(SOUNDBITE OF GLENN JONES' "GREAT PACIFIC NORTHWEST")

GABBARD: The hardest thing about brewing beer is trying to nail exactly what you envision in your head to taste on your palate. That being said, brewing beer is not hard at all (laughter). So there is all different kinds of levels of how deep you actually want to get into it. And it can be as easy as, you know, dumping in some syrups and some hops and then a little yeast at the end of the day, and in a few weeks, you have a drinkable beer.

(SOUNDBITE OF GLENN JONES' "GREAT PACIFIC NORTHWEST")

GABBARD: Since I've been brewing, I actually drink a lot less. I mean, it's rare for me to have more than one pint unless it's a, you know, really sessionable low-alcohol beer. When I'm brewing, I think about how it's going to go with my dinner. So I'm always trying to brew something that's easy to drink but is also compatible with food. I just think of it as another component of what I'm consuming.

(SOUNDBITE OF GLENN JONES' "GREAT PACIFIC NORTHWEST")

GABBARD: What brings me back to brewing is that it really uses both sides of my brain, really. This is kind of like cooking. You're combining science and art at the same time. So I can make something that is, you know, very analytical from a recipe standpoint, but then you can add your own flourishes as far as, you know, specific flavors or textures just to kind of suit your own palate or, you know, someone that you're brewing for.

(SOUNDBITE OF GLENN JONES' "GREAT PACIFIC NORTHWEST")

GABBARD: When you look at the kind of people who do brew, it's almost always engineers or people that are in the IT industry because they're used to doing problem-solving, and that's 100% what homebrewing is. I'm an analyst, and, really, all day I get questions about how to extract a certain type of data point or how we can display something in a meaningful way. So I think it kind of draws on those types of folks. So if you're just a born problem-solver, there's all kinds of stuff you can do with homebrewing. It's really something that just about anybody would enjoy doing.

(SOUNDBITE OF GLENN JONES' "GREAT PACIFIC NORTHWEST") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.