The booming U.S. craft beer industry (up 15 percent in sales in 2011 and 12 percent in 2010) can trace its spate of stardom to enterprising do-it-yourselfers. The American Homebrewers Association estimates that at least 90 percent of the country’s professional beer makers began by mastering their skills in their houses. It’s a patriotic pastime, after all: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson left behind recipes. And yes, home brewing is lawful, as long as you don’t sell your suds. Post-Prohibition, President Jimmy Carter made it legal in 1978 on the federal level, leaving states the final say. Georgia legislature finally caved to enthusiasts’ lobbying in 1993.
Stores like Wine Craft of Atlanta (220 Sand Springs Circle, Suite 109, Sandy Springs, winecraftatl.com) and Ale Yeah! stock beer-making supplies that range from $33 to $55 for ingredients kits and $47 to $142 for beer equipment kits, as well as specific ingredient mixes for making tripels, lagers, and pale ales. Looking for beer buddies? These active groups bring together novices and veterans who exchange tips, enter competitions, and, naturally, share in the foamy rewards of home brewing.
Brewmasters of Alpharetta
Seventy-five-member group that usually meets the second Friday of each month at the Taco Stand on the Old Alabama Road Connector. brewmastersofalpharetta.blogspot.com
The oldest home-brewing club in Atlanta (which started meeting before 1993, hence the name) convenes the third Tuesday of every month at places like Twain’s in Decatur. twitter.com/covert_hops_atl
Bob Sandage, who now operates the Wrecking Bar Brewpub, started
this group in 2005. It meets the last Tuesday of every month, usually in the
Little Five Points area. finalgravitybrewing.com
South Atlanta Homebrewers
Based in Fayetteville, the group gathers one Saturday evening each month; a recent outing included a tour of Westside’s 5 Seasons Brewing. sabrewers.net
This article originally appeared in our June 2012 issue.