By Trooper Ramsey
Everyone that loves a good beer has had the thought “I should learn how to brew.” Or maybe even “I could brew this.” Mental images of yourself chilling in the front drive, cold beer in hand and your kettle at a nice rolling boil. The fragrance of hops is in the air. You waving to passers by as you casually wait to add the next addition to your brew. All the while telling your significant other “Don’t worry babe this will save us money in the end look how much beer it makes.”
First I want to address all the significant others out there that have a partner telling them this little white lie. Let me assure you, set your mind at ease, so that you two can move forward with this new grand adventure. It will not save you money. It will take up a lot of your free time on weekends. It will lead to more expensive toys. But the benefits of learning this ancient form of alchemy is priceless so get over it and get involved. It is so worth it in the end.
Do remember that from the minute you crack the grain until you pour the first pint of Home Brew there is a lot of manual labor. Every step requires sanitation, cleaning, scrubbing, etc.
Brewing is like being a janitor to some degree. But it is a labor of love.
So you have thought about it long enough right? It is time to go out and buy what you need and start this life of your own beer in the fridge to show off to all your friends. Hold the press! Let me chime in with some well needed advice for the first time brewer that I wish someone would have told me. Sit down in front of your computer, lap top, ipad, whatever you use to search the world wide web and start searching.
Go out and have a craft beer while you do the research.Try Eureka in Indian Wells or Babes Brewhouse at the River in Rancho Mirage or Schmidy’s in Palm Desert; all are great craft beer destinations.
My first advice is to find a local home-brew club, Here locally it is Coachella Valley Home Brew Club. They have a web page and are well spread out throughout the valley. Send them a message and get out there on a brew session. Every one that I have met from the club has been very accommodating. You will find all levels of brewers, see all styles of set ups and systems and this will give you a good feel for what will work best for your situation. A word of caution here, do not run out and buy the biggest system out there right away. Give home brewing time to prove itself something you will stick with and learn to love. Then go crazy. When you send them a message, tell them BeerCulture webshow sent you.
Next the home brew supplier I recommend is More Beer in Riverside, California. Just give them a call and talk to Rob or Dan. They are very knowledgeable, super friendly and ready to help you get started. They pretty much have everything you need for the novice on up to pilot batch and beyond.
I started with extract kits. I just read the recipe and followed the steps. This is a great way to just focus on the basics of brewing for a while. Before long you will be creating your very own recipes and wowing your friends and family.
Home brewing is an amazing hobby with endless rewards; it has been the incubation process, the laboratory for the Craft Beer movement. The majority of the small breweries that you love were started by home brewers including our very own Coachella Valley Brewing and La Quinta Brewing.
So get out there do the research, start brewing and when you get something amazing send us a sample.