|Photo by Joey McKeel|
|The dining hall at Saint Arnold filled with homebrewers, right now mostly sitting down to enjoy a beer.|
Founded in 1978, the American Homebrewers Association is a national organization founded to promote homebrewing and to help homebrewers connect with one another. According to Gary Glass, Director of the AHA, total membership is more than 46,000, spurred on in part by the rise in craft breweries but also by the increased ease in homebrewing. If you want to try homebrewing, but find it intimidating, Glass says not to worry: "If you can make a concentrated soup with water and boil it on a stove, you can make beer." Of course, more advanced homebrewers know it can be more complicated than that, but again, part of homebrewing's popularity is that, at all difficulty levels, it's still possible to brew a good batch of beer you'll want to drink.
Last weekend, the AHA held a rally at Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 2000 Lyons Avenue, a chance for local homebrewers to connect with one another, learn more about local resources for homebrewing, and take an expert's tour of the brewery. (Glass said Saint Arnold was particularly special because the AHA rally program was launched in concert with Saint Arnold; the brewery held the very first rally.) By our estimates, around 250-300 people attended the Rally, which had tables set up for local homebrewing clubs and supply stores, as well as Saint Arnold's usual fine selection of beers on tap.
I learned that the homebrewing scene in the greater Houston area was much bigger than I expected, as I got to meet with the local homebrewing clubs that had a table at the event, some of which have been around for decades. (According to Glass, the Houston area has eight homebrewing clubs in total.) If the rally was designed to help homebrewers connect and learn, it certainly seems to have succeeded: I don't homebrew, so I can't say for myself, but not only were many homebrew clubs represented, but our city has more brewing supply stores and educational offerings than I could have imagined. One attendee described it as "a boat show for homebrewers."More »