Home-brewing became legal in the United States in 1979, when Jimmy Carter was president and light lagers ruled. Thirty-five years later, the American Homebrewers Association estimates that over 1.2 million people are now making beer at home, and craft-beer culture is thriving all over North America. These days it seems everyone is getting into home-brew—even President Obama. In 2011, POTUS bought home-brewing equipment for the White House. It wasn’t long before leaked reports of White House Honey Ale and White House Honey Porter had both politicos and the nation’s beer geeks buzzing. Along with baking your own bread, making your own craft beer is one of the most creative and satisfying food adventures you can have at home. To get started, or to add to your existing set-up, check out these great online shops.
AUSTIN HOMEBREW SUPPLY
This Texas-based online shop offers a wide range of beer recipes (including President Obama’s Honey Ale), equipment, and ingredient kits. There’s a flat shipping rate of $7.99.
This Chicago-based home-brew shop offers Brewer’s Best and Brooklyn Brew Shop ingredient kits (with some flavors no longer featured on Brooklyn Brew Shop’s site, including Peanut Butter Porter and Coffee & Donut Stout) and a wide range of unique flavorings, including fruit purées, cardamom, and cherry honeycomb. If you’re anywhere near Brew Camp’s two brick-and-mortars, you can enter the ingredients into a recipe builder app and they’ll mill everything you need for you.
BROOKLYN BREW SHOP
The offerings are compact compared to some other sites, but Brooklyn Brew Shop’s ingredient kits are unique. One-gallon kits include ingredients and starter equipment, with creative recipes like Jalapeño Saison and Grapefruit Honey Ale. Ingredient kits range from basic (Everyday IPA) to interesting (Chocolate Maple Porter).
This online store from Minneapolis has one of the largest selections out there, including beer kettles, glass and plastic carboys, and equipment kits that come with a free instructional DVD.
Based in Concord, California, this site is great for beginners—there’s a wide range of starter equipment kits (ranging from $69 to $494) and good beer ingredient kits (including gluten-free!). Free shipping for orders over $59.
• How to Brew Small-Batch Beer in Your Kitchen
Photo by Chris Rochelle