Posted to rec.crafts.brewing, 12/6/95, by Cathy Watters (


by C. A. Watters
You are a home brewer. Your current batch of beer is refusing to ferment, and you want answers. What do you do? You can phone a brewing supply store--during business hours if there is one in your area. You can take some books out of the library, if you have the time--and patience--to skim through them. But if you want answers NOW, the quickest way to find them is to turn on your computer and access the internet.

Stephen Johnson, a homebrewer at State College, Pennsylvania, USA, subscribes to rec.crafts.brewing. It's a place where homebrewers can exchange information and socialize, regardless of location.

"Almost everyone I know that brews," says Johnson, "quickly starts making beer that is more expensive that what he or she normally buys."

While many people start out with the intent to save money, the more they learn about the craft, the less important this becomes.

Christopher Hill of Reston, Virginia, says there's a feeling of satisfaction that comes from making beer.

"Like most American home brewers," he writes, "I'm doing it primarily for the enjoyment. It's a hand craft, it's fun and we get to drink good beer."

Marina Heye of Austin, Texas says the cost of buying equipment and supplies is paid back with the first case of beer you make.

"As soon as you taste it," Heye says, "it's all the reward you need."

If you're not a home brewer, you may not realize just how popular this hobby is.

"It's like learning a secret handshake, and being amazed how many people already knew it," says John Girard of Manhattan Beach, California. He estimates that his latest batch of beer cost him about $5 (US) a case to make.

Belonging to an on-line newsgroup has many advantages: you can socialize over the 'net and exchange information; you can get answers quickly and at any time; and the responses come from all over the world.

John Boots of Vancouver, Washington, says that he likes the feeling of community the on-line newsgroup provides.

"I learn something about brewing almost daily," he says, "and I'm able to pass on some of my knowledge to those with less experience."

Other sources of information that may interest the homebrewer include: brewing magazines such as Zymurgy and Brewing Techniques; local brewing clubs; Homebrew Digest, an on-line brewing magazine; and the Brewery web site at