About two decades ago, Ireland went to a professional meeting for his job and met a home brewer. He tasted the man's homemade beer and the rest is history, he said.
"I wanted to make that beer," Ireland said.
Ireland continues because he enjoys the challenge.
"I used to do it so I could have a good, drinkable beer," he said.
There is something very satisfying about drinking beer that you have made yourself, Ireland said. Absten agreed, saying there were few things he found more satisfying.
Ireland is most commonly asked how long it takes to brew beer.
"On average, it takes anywhere from three weeks to six weeks," he said.
Both men say they have to convince people that a home- brewer can turn out a high-quality product.
Ireland said starter kits work well for beginners, who sometimes advance to more complex systems. But he believes the people who stick with the hobby the longest have basic kits and make basic beers.
"It's not about the equipment," he said. "The equipment is nice, but it's not what keeps you doing it (brewing). Some of the best home brewers keep it very simple."
Absten and Ireland have helped start an organization dedicated to the beverage, the Kanawha Regional Association of Zymurgy Enthusiasts or K.R.A.Z.E.
Zymurgy is the applied science related to fermentation. The group, which is made up of beer enthusiasts and home brewers, meets monthly to discuss craft beer and the art of brewing, Absten said.
Novices are encouraged to join.
"This isn't just for home brewers," Absten said. "It's for people that want to talk about good beer."
The group has a Facebook page with 59 members. Anyone wishing to join the group can submit a friend request on the organization's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.
The group gives enthusiasts a chance to gather monthly at various locations in the city, Absten said. The easiest way to join is to come to a meeting, he added.
The next meeting will be at Bruno's on Leon Sullivan Way at 7 p.m. Nov. 8. There is no fee to join, but the group accepts donations from members.
"We're always accepting new members," he said.