November 7 Is Learn to Homebrew Day — Just Brew It!
So you like to drink all the wonderful and diverse beers that are available today? Why not up your beer experience by learning how to brew beer yourself at home during the aptly named Learn to Homebrew Day, an event-centered day established 16 years ago by the American Homebrewers Association?
For those wanting some hand-on experience with friendly and veteran homebrewers, head over to BX Beer Depot in Lake Worth this Saturday, November 7, starting around 11 a.m., where several local homebrewers of varying levels of experience will be brewing batches of beer in the Depot's backyard.
"This event is free to the public, so feel free to invite friends and family to come and witness the brewing process," Sally Parsons, owner of BX, told me. "Even if you've been brewing for years or you've just barely started your first batch, this event is perfect for you. There is always something to learn from talking to homebrewers. A few BX employees will be walking around to help with the education about processes and ingredients. Come thirsty for knowledge about beer."
Experience comes in the form of fellows such as Sean Christianson, who will be brewing the latest in "hip" techniques, the Brew-in-a-Bag method. Sean won first-place people's choice winner and second-place judged winner at past BX Homebrew competitions.
In addition, Jason Matta from Dixie Grill & Bar will be around to show off the Grainfather all-grain brewing system, and the gentlemen from Brewmance Brewery, a group of three guys who love to brew, will be brewing on their All-Grain System.
Parsons believes that these sorts of events are important to build community. "Having people of all levels getting together to share and enjoy their knowledge and love of brewing with people that haven't brewed helps spread the word of what the brewing process is all about. On the day of the event, people bring their brewing set-ups and will be there answering questions about the brewing process."
Can't make it out to Lake Worth on Saturday? Head a bit farther south and grab some equipment from the Funky Buddha Homebrew Supply in Boca Raton.
As a bonus to you, dear readers, Funky Buddha Lounge brewer Kevin Squires has some sage advice for novice brewers. "The best advice I can give to someone is to do a little research before starting your first brew. There is a lot of good information available today on the internet on brewing as well as plenty of bad advice. Find a reliable source like the American Homebrewers Association website or a published book at Barnes and Noble or Amazon. My first brewing book, which is my personal favorite, is a book called How to Brew by John Palmer and is a great start as well as a lifelong reference book.
"As far as kits go, you can find a package deal with all the equipment you need for about $100 to $150. It takes the same amount of time and energy to brew one gallon as it does to make five gallons, so while it’s tempting to start small, I suggest making at least three gallons. If it’s good, it’s nice to be able to have enough to share.
"For a first beer, anything hoppy or a hefeweizen is pretty hard to mess up, since the flavors in these styles are more likely to hide any minor imperfection there might be in a beer. Other than that have fun, experiment, and never stop learning. Almost every great brewer started as a homebrewer with no clue where to begin, so don’t be afraid to jump right in and start brewing."
Finally, if you're a complete wallflower, then the American Homebrewers Association has quite a bit of online resources as well.
What are you waiting for? It's easier than ever to brew now.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.
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