A crowd of curious beginners and seasoned homebrewers gathered at the Homebrewer’s Pantry in downtown Conway on Nov.1 for National Learn How to Homebrew Day. Started by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) in 1999, this so-called “holiday” is the first Saturday of November each year. And the Homebrewer’s Pantry celebrated by hosting brewing demonstrations, homebrew tastings and chicken bog (provided by the Crafty Rooster).
We arrived around 3 p.m. to find a crowd of folks around the back table talking, tasting and watching store owner, Thomas Lucas, go through the procedures for homebrewing using an all-grain setup. He was brewing an English pale ale and explaining the process as he went along.
Co-owner Melissa Lucas was brewing an extract batch of pale ale on a hot plate beside the table as she spoke with other brewers and assisted customers purchasing kits and ingredients. MASH (Myrtle Beach Area Society of Homebrewers) member Andrew Jones arrived shortly thereafter and began a cider brewing demonstration. He explained that the process didn’t require any grain steeping or boiling, but instead was more mixing – and the results were still a delicious fermented beverage.
“We had a great turnout for National Learn How to Homebrew Day. About 30 or so people came to learn this great hobby. They even had a chance to watch me break my mash tun and nearly screw up my all-grain "East Kent Hooligan" pale ale – but that's OK. Melissa's "Oatley Tap" oatmeal pale ale extract batch went off without a hitch. Andrew and Andy each made ciders, too. All-in-all, it was a great day,” said Thomas Lucas.
If you weren’t able to make it out to the Homebrewer’s Pantry, there’s another event – Brewing at the Beach – happening this Saturday (Nov. 15) that will also point those looking to get into the hobby in the right direction.
Now in its fourth year, Brewing at the Beach is the largest event put on by the area’s homebrew club, MASH. Held inside the brewery at New South Brewing, the event invites brewers of all levels – from the novice to the advanced, to come together and taste each others’ creations, watch brewing demonstrations and learn about the art and science of making beer at home.
This year’s demonstrations will feature an extract/partial grain batch by the aforementioned Jones – a great way for beginners to get started – as well as an all-grain demo by Kristen West – for those who may have a few batches under their belts and are looking to step up their game. There’s also a short slide show presentation by Mike Nagle that touches on the science behind brewing.
Saturday’s event also has a brand new feature – a homebrew competition that event-goers will judge – with the winner announced late in the afternoon.
A few months ago, local craft beer-supporting businesses were paired with local homebrewers to create a beer that was intended to best represent the spirit and nature of their business. Recipes were collaborated on, brewed, fermented and now ready to be unveiled and poured for the thirsty crowd at Brewing at the Beach.
Event-goers will be able to taste each beer and vote on their favorite. Entries are: Hurricane Maggie’s and Kristen West’s Belgian stout, “Billy’s Cinna-Raisin Stout”; Atlas Tap Room and Steven Riddei’s brown ale, “Big BOS Brown (Bourbon Oak Smoke); J-Mike’s Jerky and Joe Baxter’s imperial IPA, “The O.G.”; Handley’s Pub and Royce Green and Mikkel Green’s witbier, “Orange Blossom Special Honey Wit”; Homebrewer’s Pantry and Andrew Vovou’s imperial IPA, “Sponsored by a Homebrew Store Imperial IPA”; Bumstead’s Pub and Jack Lamson’s pumpkin ale, “Pumstead’s Bumpkin Ale”; Mellow Mushroom and Ana-Hayley Jacob’s IPA “Green Dragon” and the Piggly Wiggly at Market Common and John “Jilly” Garner’s (that’s me) tart berlinerweisse “Straw-Burly-Ner.”
Each guest will receive a program book that will have one ticket – which they will use to award to their favorite beer of the day. If you want to learn how to homebrew – or just want to come out and support our local craft/homebrew beer scene, the event starts at 1 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
New South Brewing is at 1109 Campbell Street, Myrtle Beach; www.newsouthbrewing.com.
• On Friday, Liberty Brewery & Grill is hosting the release party for Ana-Hayley Jacob’s homebrew competition “Wanna Get Tapped?” winning beer “Morning Glory.” This coffee-infused American pale ale has a nice hoppy backbone that balances out a nice coffee flavor. It will be completely different than any beer you’ve ever had. The release is during Happy Hour, so come try it.
• The Crafty Rooster’s fall beer festival, Crafty Fest, is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Farmer’s Market in downtown Conway. Enjoy oysters, music and 100 different beers from more 25 different breweries, including. Abita, New South, RJ Rockers, New Belgium, Sierra Nevada and more. Hours are from 5-10 p.m. Friday and Noon-10 p.m. Saturday.