Learning to brew
Is the coolest thing
Making a wort
That’s worth drinking
… Hasta La Vista, Tom Petty …
Recently I reconnected with some old friends (hi Rob & Dom!). It takes not long to determine that I am obsessed with beer and brewing and even dabble in the alchemy we call homebrewing myself. Therefore, one of these old friends asked me how to get started in this hobby.
I was happy to provide some starting advice and it occurred to me that I really hadn’t written up anything like that on this blog. I’ve talked about the homebrewing adventure and some of my experiences therein but I have not included any kind of resources for anyone wishing to delve into this hobby. Therefore, I hope a few of the following notes will be of assistance to any who wish to get started. Once you’ve begun, well, doubtless the DIY zeitgeist will possess you and then there are many other resources to be found to help you build your system. So this is just for the novice.
And, please, if you are a home brewer reading this and you think of a resource or advice that needs to be added, please leave a comment. Thanks & Cheers!
Home Brew Supply Store
If you have a homebrew supply store near you (and by that I mean in the town or city within which you dwell), fantastic! This store will be full of all the equipment and ingredients you need to begin homebrewing. More importantly, the owners of the store will likely be experienced home brewers who can answer your questions and walk you through your brew day. If there is not one nearby then you’ll need to consult the all knowing oracle of our time, Google.
I use Brewers Connection in Phoenix, AZ. There’s also More Beer. No doubt you’ll be able to find one in your state that can ship you the things you require. These online outlets may also have various books and brochures available that describe the brewing process. Buying online may give you the ingredients but likely you’ll still need, or want, tutoring.
For pointer, experience and encouragement you need go to your local brewery. Make friends with the owner(s) and brewer(s) there – in fact, with the entire staff. This crew will be very knowledgeable about beer making, beer styles, beer appreciation, beer everything. They will be ridiculously happy to help you in the homebrew journey.
Homebrewers are usually among the most ardent supporters of the local. The staff of the local, likely homebrewers themselves, can point you in the direction of the homebrew community in your locale. Maybe a club even meets at the brewery. All of them will be able to give you superb guidance to making the best beer possible. Your local may also be able to act as a surrogate home brew supply store on a brew day that goes wrong, too.
I’ll take this moment to give a shout out to Kingman’s local, Black Bridge. The crew there is outstanding and I am indebted to them for furthering my beer knowledge. For a very long time, I thought I knew this town and beer. The local has helped me to realize both those postulations were false. The best lesson you can get is that you know nothing. Then you can move on. So, thanks to everybody there!
American Homebrewers Association
This is a national organization dedicated to homebrewing. They have a vast database of recipes, lots of tutorials, lists of home brew supply stores and they sponsor Learn To Homebrew Day. This occurs annually on the first Saturday of in November. This year that falls on November 4 and its express purpose is to propagate the home brewing community. If there’s an event near you this is a wonderful opportunity to be exposed to a larger community of brewers.