Homebrew For Dummies

Home Brewery

Home Brewery (NB not Brian's kit)

My girlfriend gets regular mentions on here for buying me nice beer related gifts. One of (probably the) best has been homebrew course that I went on this weekend just gone.

Run by a nice Brummie chap called Brian, this homebrew course, in Hove Edge Brighouse, is run without any pretension. Brian is not an expert brewer. He has never brewed commercially, or industrially. What matters is that his homebrew beers, made in his kitchen using pretty basic equipment, are good (good but not exceptional).

The purpose of the course isn’t to set people up to make the extreme beers of Stone or Brewdog, nor the exceptional smart ones of Thornbridge or Sierra Nevada. The aim here is to get passed the scarily scientific language of homebrew books, instil years of experience into new homebrewers and, in essence, just to show you how to do a basic mash homebrew and get beyond those rather uninspiring cans.

It does pretty much exactly what you’d want. Brian talks you through the process from weighing the malt, to mashing the malt, to boiling, to the various ways of bottling and barrelling. We brewed a Moorhouse Pendle Witch and a darker, stronger off the top of our leader’s head. Obviously the time it takes to brew means that we didn’t get try the beers (they’re still brewing at the moment), but the samples of other Hove Edge beers, showed Brian to be a proficient brewer.

The company wasn’t bad either, a couple of brothers from down south, a pair of mates from Chester and, best of all, two very funny, very enthusiastic Irish vets, intent on giving up the business and setting up a brewery under the questionable name of ‘The Horny Brewers’. While I’m not sure about the moniker, their passion was great and their desire to create heavily Belgian influenced beers won my approval.

Has it worked with me? Well, yes. I’ve made one tin-based homebrew before and wasn’t too fussed by it. With the information from this course behind me, all I know need is £100 worth of equipment (which isn’t very much when you consider how cheap it makes brewing beer) and a free weekend. I’m on it, and I’ll share the results of my brews here when I get round to it.

You can find out about and book onto the very reasonably priced (£40 for two days) course here. On top of brewing lessons, over the two days, there’s loads of beers to try, lunch and an infinite supply of tea and coffee.