The hobby of brewing your own beer at home is growing steadily as more people discover how much fun they can have making their beer at home and how great absolutely fresh beer can be. There may be no more gratifying moment for a home brewer than to serve your own fresh beer to your guests iced down in your favorite beer mugs and hear the rave that your beer is as good as the store bought beer they like best or maybe even better!
The Case for Homebrewing
Part of the reason for the huge popularity is that getting set up to make beer and finding good supplies and equipment is neither difficult nor overly expensive. You can find or create the equipment fairly easily or get it discounted from others who have retired from the brewing business.
And right now there is probably a home brewing store in your town ready and able to provide you with the ingredients as well as instruction books and recipes for all kinds of wonderful tasting beers you can make right at home. And with the explosion of web sites, ebooks and articles out there on the internet about home brewing, all the help you could ask for is at your fingertips to help you get started.
The reason different people get into home brewing vary. Some love the social aspect as you join a large local and international community of brewers. Another reason is that it is just great fun to assemble the equipment, learn the recipes and take a stab at making your own home grown batch of tasty beer. Even if you “botch” a batch of beer, its all in the spirit of learning and it just drives you on to learn from your mistakes to make even better beer next time.
A third great reason is you have so much more control over your beer when you brew it yourself. Because you are not dealing with a beer that is mass produced and shipped from hundreds of miles away, you can control the taste, the consistency and even the level of alcohol to make your beer as strong or mild as you want it to be. And you can make changes with each batch with virtually endless variations on the recipes that are available to the home brewing community.
Please check these communities and forums for more details:
The Supplies and Equipment
The supplies you will need to get started are easy to find and not very expensive either. Probably the best way to get a feel for what the best equipment is and who are the suppliers to favor would come from becoming a regular at home brewing clubs and gatherings and making some friends there. If you make it well known that you are a “new recruit” and need some mentoring in how to get set up, you will be overwhelmed with offers for you to sit in on a brewing session or two to get a feel for the process.
If you take advantage of their zeal to help you get started, you will be way ahead on the game when you go shopping for the stuff you need to get set up to make your own beer at home.
The equipment you will need is pretty much only used for brewing beer so you will need to think of storage. The pot for boiling your initial wort and the equipment to handle the beer, filter it and ferment it are all made in sizes and at prices to encourage the home brewing markets. You can find them at retail prices at your home brewing retail outlet in town. You can use the internet and shop second hand shops to get better prices. But many like to patronize the home brewing store that helped them get their start just to make sure they stay in business to keep selling you great fresh ingredients.
You might consider the following three websites great sources for your brewing needs:
- Midwest Supplies – Homebrewing and Winemaking
- MoreBeer! – Absolutely everything for Beer Making
- Northern Brewer – Homebrew Supply
A good Source for the Grains
That same retail outlet will be a good source for the grains, yeasts and hops you need for the actual production of beer. Freshness is the key so communicate with the management of the store to learn of just how fresh those things are. As with the equipment, you can buy these things from the internet and that is fine. But get to know your supplier whoever you use and make sure you are confident you are getting the highest quality materials to make your home made beer. It will make a big difference.