Nothing beats a nice cold beer at the end (or in the middle) of a long day. With the continuing demand for small craft beers, it is clear that the microbrew trend wasn’t just a flash in the pan. People are discovering the joys of brewing beer at home in such high numbers; there are thriving businesses solely devoted to the hobby. There are even festivals and competitions for amateur brewers. By brewing your own beer, you can be certain of the ingredients and the quality of your brew, you can be creative and whimsical, and as you become more efficient, you will probably save money. As you develop your craft, your friends and family probably won’t mind being your guinea pigs. So hop to it, and see what kind of concoctions you can create in your own kitchen.
Drink Craft Beer
Drink Craft Beer is a beer snob’s promised land where the intermediate brewer (or dauntless beginner) can learn to approximate the recipes of his or her favorite microbrew, join a beer-of-the-month club, and weigh in on the virtues of this trend or that. Do note: when you click anything on the page, scroll down. The greeting remains intact while the lower part of the page changes according to your choice. That said, the how-to guide to home brewing beer is fantastic—complete with photos of the equipment, the process, and a workspace that is realistic and likely similar to your own kitchen (and bathtub). If you need further advice or you need to get to the bottom of why your home brew has so much sediment, isn’t fizzy, tastes skunky, or whatever else, there is a link to their forum at the bottom of the page.
How to Brew
How To Brew’s home page supplies the aspiring home brewer with a state-by-state guide to locate a brew shop nearby. This information is helpful for beginners and enthusiasts who want to meet other brewers and attend events and tastings. For the extreme DIY guy, there are likely to be nearer outposts that sell supplies (and of course they’re for sale online). From the homepage you will be able to enter the first edition of How to Brew, which features gobs of information in a format that looks overwhelming, but is simply very, VERY thorough. Read the introduction, then use the site map to answer any questions you may have before you get started, then use the step-by step guide as a reference as you go.
Home Brew Zone
Home Brew Zone might not be the slickest looking page, it is a terrific reference guide for those who brew and those who think they might like to try. The homebrew tips are an exhaustive list of do’s and don’ts that are largely overlooked (like don’t use chlorinated water). Then there is a guide to a few dozen different varieties of hops, which outlines the flavor, acidity, and usage of each. Malt extracts are treated with the same attention, and the “bad beer” section will help you diagnose what went wrong in a lousy batch. If these sections don’t answer your questions, check into the homebrew forum to chat with brewers from every skill level. Finally, the collection of drinking quotes will give you something to profess loudly on your porch late at night, thus impressing your friends and neighbors. The introvert may opt to scrawl them on the bathroom chalkboard of his or her neighborhood bar.
Brew Your Own
Brew Your Own is the go-to spot for easy, basic recipes. Check out the possibilities your new hobby will open up, like hard cider, and real root beer. Browsing and trying out these recipes will give you a grip on technique and style that will quickly have you developing your own signature brews, and probably noticing a lot more thirsty friends dropping by. And the recipe section doesn’t even skim the surface. While you can subscribe to Brew Your Own magazine, you can also listen to the brewcast, watch videos, read from a number of brewers’ blogs, look at labels and photos, and so much more. Spending too much time here will solidify your beer-dorkdom for good.
Beersmith: Make Beer at Home
Make Beer at Home is a marvelously stylish site replete with smooth, retro icons and snappy quotes. Even the ads are cool, so kudos for that. However, take a trip into the recipes pages and you might find yourself down a rabbit hole. Do you want to make a beer like Bass Ale? How about a garlic beer or liquid fruitcake stout? Everything from the pedestrian to the esoteric can be found here, as well as a step-by-step outline of the brewing process; the pros and cons of different styles of brewing; some pretty neat charts; and plenty of links to where to get supplies. Interesting story about banned beer labels.
American Homebrewers Association
Home Brewing Videos, as you may suspect, is chock full of videos about home brewing. This page is created by Home Brewer’s Outpost, where you can buy kits, equipment, books, and the like. This site is a great how-to guide with videos and power-point slideshows that you can play on your laptop or tablet as you set up your station. This is simply a great option for beginners who want to get started right away and read about he process later.