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My website and blog have had many impacts on my life. The most positive is the friends it's brought me. From all over the world.

This isn't a detailed travel report. Just a few impressions of an event that impressed me deeply. A party at a homebrewer's house in Washngton DC.

Me and the family have just spent five days in Washington. The DC one. A city I had no interest in visiting when I lived in New York. Stupid me. Very stupid me.

Like many defining events, it has its random elements. A fragile chain of unlikely happenings that led to deep and enduring friendships. I needed Craig to remind me of how it all started. Way back, when my kids were still small enough to control physically without the need for police intevention.

I would bore you with all the details. But it's late, I'm lazy and that beer just isn't going to drink itself (a Bell's Porter, in the remote chance that you might be interested).

BURP. That's the name of the Washington hombrewers' club with which I've become enmeshed. A lovely group of people. Who brew some exceptional beers. I know that for certain. Dolores is a far more critical judge of both beer and character than I'll ever be. And that's her opinion. (I've learned never to argue with someone who has been trained in the use of weapons).

Dragging myself back to this piece's theme, various BURP chums had a party on Friday. Gordon and Holly were hosts. In a way that makes me blush in shame at my own half-arsed attempts at hospitality. Crabs, shrimp, bocce ball and a whole stack of homebrewed beer.

I knew I was in for a good evening when I spotted the two beer engines. Serving Mild and Bitter. Yes! I could use my stock answer to the question "What would you like to drink?" seriously for once. "A pint of Mild, please." How do you think it tasted? Good, of course. I wouldn't have bothered mentioning it, had it been pants.

The nice BURP people plyed me with their beer all evening. None of it worse than good. Much of it pretty damn good. Better than most of the stuff I pay money for. In all sorts of styles, but, the odd strong Stout excepted, at the rational end of the alcohol scale. Drinks flowed, but the legs continued to function.

Are homebrewers the future of beer? On this showing, they're the present.

I have to give a mention to Jamie and Paul, who generously housed me and my crazy kids during our stay. Great people and great brewers. I slept in their basement, home to a better beer selecton than Kulminator. Luckily, self-control is my middle name.