After four long weeks, my first batch of beer, one gallon of Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Everyday IPA, was ready for drinking. Friends were gathered. Food was made. Pineapple was soaked in vodka (unrelated).

“It takes like beer!” exclaimed my beer-averse girlfriend.

“It’s a lot better than Miller Light or those other beers,” said a jovial friend.

Overall, the verdict was, “It’s good!”

As for me, I realized some nuances of judging my first batch of beer. Yes, it tasted like beer. It was drinkable. It wasn’t bad. It didn’t have a heavy front or a lingering finish. It was a bit hoppy, but not too hoppy. It had a big head and was definitely carbonated.

(Two beers poured into 9oz glasses for tasting. Look at that head!)

If I were to drink this beer out somewhere, would I rush to get another? Probably not. I was hoping it would be hoppier and bolder. It seemed a bit mellow. I would have preferred a longer finish. Also, I thought it was too carbonated.

But was it supposed to taste like this? I don’t know. And that’s the trouble. Did I screw something up along the way? Or is this just a mild IPA? An Everyday IPA?

While I may have conquered the process of making beer, I have a long way to go in gaining the experience to truly understand the nuances that contribute to the end result. Like any craft, from writing poetry to designing services, it’s not just about following a process. Experience and perfection take time.

Since brewing this IPA, I have started two others: a Chocolate Maple Porter (bottled January 28) and a Well-Made Tripel (brewed January 28), both recipes from the Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Making Book.

What is it…10,000 hours to master something? I’m on my way!