No need to fear an empty beer glass, help is here! The craft beer scene has always been heartily supported by home brewers since day one. In fact, some home brewers go that extra mile and become, in time, professional brewers themselves. More on that story in the months to come. But for those just starting out, there is a lot of information out there, online and in good, old fashioned books and magazines.
When I was learning to home brew, the bible was Charlie Papazian’s ‘The Complete Joy of Homebrewing’, which has been fully revised and updated in 2014. There are also a number of magazines out there in print and with an online presence: Zymurgy and Brew Your Own for example. Some of these offer apps to further enhance your home brew and craft beer knowledge.
I want to thank Margaret Baker, who recently contacted me, for the following link. She organizes a workshop on home brewing out in Prentice. Her workshop attendees discovered a website that gives the novice or want-to-be home brewer at place to start, with a basic overview of the process for beginners and a number of links to other reputable sources for information. It’s on the website improvenet.com, but use the following link:
As much as home brewers love making their own and experimenting with classic and whacko styles of beer, most also follow the craft beer scene in their region and beyond. I like to think this is because people who brew their own beer are natural Beer Hunters, always out looking for the next new IPA, summer Saison or yummy British bitter to taste, and perhaps to try and emulate. For those interested in the bigger process or perhaps considering taking the next step, David McFadden sends along this link, to another useful resource on craft brewing at:
What we have here is online beer making and craft brewing courses from a number of reputable U.S. universities. What’s missing are Canadian links, and there are a number of Canadian institutions doing the same thing. Check out Niagara College in Ontario, Olds College in Alberta or Simon Fraser University in BC, among the many places home brewers are flocking to take the next step.
Starting out, one should also be connected to the Beer Judge Certification Program. You don’t have to become a beer judge, but you can learn to appreciate the wide breath of styles that are out there, download the Style Guideline and learn the details of some of the world’s most iconic brews.
Remember, from just four basic ingredients (malt, hops, yeast, water) brewers for thousands of years have made an enormous variety of beer, and continue to do so to this day. Why? Because beer is an art form, and every brewer is an artist creating their own drinkable works of art!