You've been thinking about it for some time now. You like beer, you like drinking it, and you like the good stuff, and you've always thought about making your own. Well, today is National Homebrew Day, and if that isn't the kick in the pants to get you off your arse and into the kitchen... then there's no hope for you, boo, go home!
Since 1988, Congress has recognized May 7th as National Homebrew Day, and brewers everywhere (legal or not, I'm looking at you Mississippi and Alabama!) celebrate the freedom of being able to create their own beers. Many famous and successful commercial brewers started this way, including Steve Dresler of Sierra Nevada Brewing.
Today, why not jump start your brewing hobby?
Buy a Kit
Head on over to your local brew shop, like Funky Buddha (2621 N Federal Hwy, Boca Raton, FL 33431), BX Beer Depot (2964 2nd Ave N, Lake Worth, Florida 33461), or Miami Beer and Wine (9500 NW 79th Ave, Suite #8, Hialeah Gardens, FL 33016) and pick up a starter or beginners brewing kit. For the lazy, you can even order online, from sites like Northern Brewer. Ranging from $50 and up to the mid $100's, these kits will have everything you need to start your quest for the perfect pint: carboy, sanitation equipment, bottles and, most importantly, the beer making ingredients of hops, malt and yeast. It'll be a malt extract kit, so a lot of the work has already been done for you. You just start boiling some water, add in your malt, do your hop additions, and you're off to the races. Just follow the directions and you'll have a decent beer in about 4 weeks.
Join the American Homebrewers Association
Already a homebrewer? Member of the AHA? NO?! For only $38 a year, you'll have access to hundreds of recipes, receive the bi-monthly Zymurgy magazine (that's the study of fermentation) packed full of geeky beer knowledge, and tons of other stuff, like discounts at local breweries. If you've brewed more than a couple of beers, this is the best bang for your buck. Plus, you get a cool card to impress your friends.
Join a Homebrew Club
If you're still doing it solo, why not join up with some like minded people and brew as a team. Set some goals, do some competitions, and get creative. Search for a local homebrew club such as the Palm Beach Draughtsmen or the Fort Lauderdale Area Brewers. Beer makers are a friendly bunch, so reach out and find a group that fits your needs.
In 1978, home brewing was legalized in the United States, and Floridians are allowed to produce 100 gallons of the beverage per calendar year per person. In 2012, homebrewers made more than 11,200 gallons of beer on National Homebrew Day at registered events.
Get out there and brew!
Follow @ CleanPlateBPB