“Both of my parents worked, so we figured we could boil it up and transfer to the glass carboy before either of them arrived home. Unfortunately, our plan was foiled. The beer took ages to boil -- then boiled over. My mom came home just as we were adding the aroma hops. Once they splashed the surface of the boil, they unleashed a pungent aroma that I was sure could be smelled throughout our whole suburban block. My mother forgave me for using her 5-gallon pot, helped us clean up the boil over, and promised not to tell my dad.
“We hid the carboy in our garage, tucked behind several blankets on an old workbench. My father wasn't very handy; he never found it. On the day we bottled the American Ale, however, we brewed a Russian red ale recipe from Oak Barrel and left it in the same place. A week into fermentation my father happened upon the glass carboy.
In a rage, he picked up a baseball bat and threatened to smash it to pieces.
“‘Wait!’ I pleaded. ‘Here's our first batch -- try it.’ He loved it, and agreed to look the other way as long as he had access to the fruits of our labor. We considered it a fatherly excise tax.
“My parents were conveniently out of town the next weekend, so Brian and I planned a beer-debut party. It was the first time I'd ever tasted beer (or any alcohol for that matter). Drinking beer I had brewed myself at the age of 16 was one of the most divine things I've ever experienced.”