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Until I graduated from college and landed at my first job with Motorola in Scottsdale, AZ, I had no idea that one could homebrew beer or that it was even legal. There I met my buddy Paul. At first I thought it kind of strange that a guy right out of college and living in an apartment was getting bottled water delivered. Then I saw what he was doing with all those empty 5 gallon glass jugs!  That brown gurgling mess sure looked gross but the results were delicious. (Well, at least sometimes!) Homebrewing back in 1980 was a dicey proposition. There were no beer supply stores on every corner (next to Starbucks!) and brewing in the desert heat on a shoe string budget was a challenge. Paul knew he stuff though. He had gone to college in Boulder and actually took a homebrewing course from beer god Charlie Papazian!

It took a few years of drinking Paul's stuff to pique my interest in trying. Also, as he talked about it, I began to realize (2nd credit to the internet) that getting supplies and good quality ones was becoming much easier.  My wife gave me a homebrew kit fifteen Christmases back. It was to what I do now like Folgers is to Starbucks, but it got me going. While that first batch was brewing I bought and read Charlie Papazian's "The Homebrewer's Companion" and then followed that with Dave Miller's "Homebrewing Guide".   Both books are highly recommended. They made me realize that most of the directions in the beer kit I had gotten were totally wrong relative to making good beer. The results of that batch were drinkable, but barely. I made one more "extract" batch ("instant beer") which was a noted improvement.  After that I switched to all-grain brewing. This is like brewing your own coffee vs. instant. I've liked some batches better than others but they've all been drinkable thanks to top notch ingredients and good sanitation habits.

In spite of my comments above, if you're interested in trying out homebrewing, starting with an extract kit is fine. The one I got was pretty mediocre but the kit business has improved greatly in the last couple of years. The current starter kits are a bit more expensive than the one I got. However, they're worth it in that all the components you get will still be usable even if your interest takes you to greater heights.  As a starting place you can't do better than checking out the links below to Northern Brewing or Williams Brewing mail order. Their on-line catalogs are excellent.

This has made me thirsty.  I'm heading to my basement beer tap to pull a cool, fresh Howling Cat Brown Ale.   Ahhh...refreshing!!!

HOMEBREWING- You Can't Beat This List of Resources

  1. Annapolis Home Brew
  2. Homebrewer's Assoc.
  3. Beer Info Source
  4. Brew Your Own - The How-To Homebrew Beer Magazine
  5. Briess Malt (Everything you ever wanted to know about malt)
  6. CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale-UK drinkers unite!)
  7. Home Brewery  (Mail Order)
  8. HopTech   (Mail Order)
  9. Kegman - If it has to do with dispensing tapped beer, it's here!
  10. Liquid Bread (Manufacturers of the Oxynator and other goodies)
  11. Maryland Homebrew, Inc.  (MailOrder)
  12. Northern Brewing (My Favorite Mail Order Beer Store)
  13. Party Pig (Manufacturers of the Party Pig beer dispensing system)
  14. Redhook Ale Brewery
  15. Real Beer Page (Best Source of On-line Beer Info)
  16. Brew Magic- New and used kegs
  17. Siebel Institute (Learn to Make Beer Here and You're Set!)
  18. White Labs (Yeast)
  19. Williams Brewing  (Mail Order)
  20. Wyeast Labs (Everything you ever wanted to know about yeast)

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