If beer is known as a social drink, then brewing beer should be known as a social activity as well. Interest in learning to homebrew beer has exploded along with the craft beer industry. Luckily for those who want to learn to brew, this Saturday, Nov. 3, has been designated National Learn to Homebrew Day by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), a division of the Brewers Association (BA). The event, which was established in 1999, will be observed in Jacksonville by Just Brew It at 2670 Rosselle Street.
Members of the Cowford Ale Sharing Klub (C.A.S.K.) – a local Jacksonville homebrewing club – will be setting up their rigs and putting on brewing demonstrations in the parking lot of Just Brew It for anyone interested in the craft. In addition, if you want to try your hand at brewing your own beer, you can purchase equipment and ingredients at Just Brew It and receive expert advice from the store staff and from the brewers outside. You can even set up and brew a batch with the rest of the brewers if you desire.
The AHA was founded in 1978 by Charlie Papazian in Boulder, Colo. Since its humble beginnings, the association has grown to more than 30,000 members and employs a full-time staff dedicated to assisting homebrewers through education and representation. The association produces its own magazine called Zymurgy that is devoted to informing advancing the skills of the homebrewer.
Homebrewing has a long and storied tradition in the United States. In colonial times, homebrewing was common and many of our founding fathers including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin were all homebrewers. Back in those times, water was not always safe to drink because it contained bacteria and microbes that could make people sick. Beer was brewed not only for flavor and enjoyment, but also to provide a safe alternative to hydration.
Today homebrewing is a fun activity that yields a final product the brewer can be proud of. Many who begin brewing enjoy it so much that it becomes a regular activity. Clubs, such as C.A.S.K. have sprung up around the hobby and sponsor frequent interclub competitions.
Walter Rasko of Just Brew It says that National Learn to Homebrew Day is, “Basically some guys doing both all-grain and partial-mash batches. It’s a watch and learn type day.” Rasko, a long-time brewer himself, went on to say that attendees can, “Expect 10 to 15 guys from C.A.S.K. to be brewing. We will probably brew a kit, as well to show how easy it can be.”
Those interested in learning more about homebrewing can visit the AHA’s website at: www.homebrewersassociation.org.
For information about meeting and how to join C.A.S.K. visit their website at: www.thecask.org.
Brewing at Just Brew It begins at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 3.
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