Humble Homebrew Beginnings

Humble Homebrew Beginnings

I've been digging the craft beer scene for the better part of 18 months now (to the detriment of my waistline alas). We are spoiled in Fredericksburg with 8 different breweries in the area. I'm a mug club member and regular at Maltese Brewing which is run by firefighters and will make anyone feel welcome. Red Dragon is ranked on Untappd nationally (and if you've had their NEIPAs or Sours you'll know why). Spencer Devon not only can craft some good brews but sources local ingredients for a full bar menu as well. And Strangeways is always keeping things, well, strange (and awesome) with over 30 taps at any given time. The craft beer scene has also given rise to the food truck scene in Fredericksburg with many regulars in rotation including a good friend, Will Negron whose empanadas and rice bowls are on point.

Last summer I got the bug to start homebrewing. I like to cook and the idea of brewing up beer of my own seemed just so cool. Unfortunately at the time we were still living in a townhouse that was going to make this quite a chore logistically both from the brewing and storing aspects (you don't need a ton of space to homebrew, but a garage or basement of some kind doesn't hurt). Luckily I had plenty of time because my brain was not going to allow myself to dive right in without plenty of research. So I spent the next few months reading everything I could on the topic, watching videos, comparing different methods, and deciding on what my own setup would look like. By Christmas I decided what I needed and headed to the local homebrew shop to grab the equipment and ingredients.


On New Year's Day I brewed my first batch, a Robust Porter. The recipe was given to me by the owner of the Brew Shop where I picked up the equipment. After 13 days in the fermenter it got bottled yesterday and is sitting in the basement carbonating. I've started a brewing blog at if you want to read more about that brew day or the equipment I'm using. It's as much for my own records as anything else but has pictures of the process and each post will be updated as things progress.


Although I have a few more weeks to wait before this batch is ready to be tasted, I did try a sample out of the fermenter. Its hard to tell whether a beer is going to be good or not based on that, keep in mind at the end of fermentation you do have beer, it's alcoholic and all, but it's completely flat and room temperature. But I think it has promise and for jumping in head first at a pretty advanced brewing method I'm proud of it so far.

I'm sure I'll still be a regular at all the breweries here in town but I'm looking forward to sharing a few of my own bottles here and there and experimenting with some ideas that involve no computer screen or code and happen in the kitchen.