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Think you have it in you to make great beer? Here’s your chance. This Saturday, November 7, is the sixth annual Learn to Homebrew Day, sponsored by the American Homebrewer’s Association (AHA). We got into the game a couple of years ago when our friend Jeff agreed to show us the ropes and, since then, have made three batches of delicious beer. Not exactly a commercial pace of production, but a welcome addition to our refrigerator.
Our experience reflects a national trend. It’s been legal to brew your own beer since 1978, and that change in U.S. law has been responsible for the “Craft Beer Revolution” we’ve seen in this country over the last 30 years. These first homebrewers in the late 70’s moved from their garages to starting the first wave of microbreweries in the early 80’s, and then many like Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman developed their operations into today’s craft beer giants.
This general mania is what we think gets more people into homebrewing each year, but we are sure that the AHA’s annual event has helped things along a bit as well. Just last year, the group claims, 2,100 homebrewers taught 610 people how to brew, producing 2,800 gallons of beer in the process. So give it a try. After all, it’s not all that difficult and requires a relatively tiny upfront investment in equipment, most of which you can find at your local homebrew store or here on the web. If you are not ambitious enough to go out and buy your own carboy and ale pail yet, perhaps one of the local homebrewers’ clubs (DC Homebrewers or BURP) has something going on Saturday.
Meanwhile, there are two stores in the DC area that provide everything you need. We go to the Maryland Homebrew in Columbia and get plenty of advice from Chris and the other helpful folks there. If that’s too far, consider myLocal-Home-Brew-Shop off Route 7 in Falls Church. Happy brewing!