Thirsty? Why not Brew-it-Yourself?
Not too long ago I realized every beer I’d ever consumed had been in vain. In my defense, beer can be pretty seductive. That occasional rich note of caramel. The blooming hoppy aroma. Really, it’s not my fault that I’d never thought about how makes it from a distillery to my pint glass. I’d been viewing the craft beer scene through rose colored beer goggles. Also, I figured the brewing process was far too intricate for my understanding which is why I’d always admired the industriousness of the at-home brewer.
Beer making requires a divine amount of attention to detail and timing – after all, there’s a lot of chemistry involved in crafting any batch of beer. Considering I’d hung on by the skin of my teeth in every science class and math class since, like, the 6th grade, I’d never considered the idea of brewing at home. Admittedly, the idea of brewing intimidated me, and if we’re being honest, it always seemed kind of seemed like a boy’s club affair to me.
That is until I signed up for Brew-it-Yourself, the only Brew-on-Premises (BOP) location in San Diego. It’s lead by Jenny and her husband Trey. Brew-it-Yourself (BIY) is a hands-on educational workshop where novice Brew-Masters can learn the ins and outs of home brewing. At BIY, you are provided with the space, equipment and set up to brew yourself a quality craft beer without the intimidation of going at it alone, or the clean up.
How did it get started?
Trey has been an avid at-home brewer for quite some time when his passion for at home brewing was literally spilling over into his and Jenny’s bath tub. A client of Jenny’s had turned her on to the idea of these Brew-on-Premises facilities that were growing in popularity on the East Coast, but not so much here in the craft beer capital (go figure).
BOPs are like DIY Beer making labs, completely at the brewer’s disposal with no discrimination to brewing experience or level of expertise. These BOPs often offer a knowledgeable staff to assist you through the brewing process and sometimes help the brewers select recipes. Generally, these facilities provide everything a brewer needs from recipe and ingredients to equipment and expertise.
For Jenny and Trey, this meant opportunity as far as finding a safe home for Trey’s brews, but also an opportunity to bring the joy of at-home brewing to those who may lack the space, experience or desire to clean. After pitching to a few facilities, Helm’s saw this as an excellent partnership and brought the couple on. BIY has been gaining traction in the San Diego home-brew scene ever since.
What to expect?
Upon checking in, you’ll receive a very warm greeting from Jenny who, in tandem with her husband Trey, navigate the BIY workshop. They will likely entice you with the idea of grabbing a beer and hanging out until your fellow Brew-Masters for the day arrive.
A huge perk to signing up with Brew-It-Yourself is that BIY is sponsored by Helm’s Brewing Co. so you’re literally brewing in a state-of-the-art facility. As an added bonus, one of the head Brew-Masters gives you a tour of the facility while you’re waiting for your batch to cool. I personally thought it was kind of cool when we were able to sample the different types of grains that create everything from the flavor or caramel, to chocolate, to coffee in some of their brews like my personal favorite, the Beerucino.
Once everyone arrives, you’ll be escorted to your pre-set brewing station where you learn to follow a simple, but delicious recipe emphasizing the importance of recipe purity and timing. Jenny walked us through the steps of how to steep our grains, measuring out our hops, implementing them in the recipe, and adding malt in proper form. Both Trey and Jenny are very knowledgeable about the process and happy to answer any questions you may have about the brewing process. Once your beer has cooled, Trey shows you the proper way to bottle your beer and provides you with a complete kit for at-home bottling.
I was surprised at how easy brewing can be and how fun the afternoon had been. Having never dabbled in brewing before, I didn’t know what to expect. In the days leading up to Brew It Yourself, I had visions of complex titrations, shattered erlenmyer flasks, and adding so many hops that I ended up with swirling IPA of death. Turns out, all you really need is a pot, an accurate scale and large spoon. With the oversight of BIY, you’d really have to put in a collegiate level effort to screw it up.
I was also extremely impressed with how warm and approachable Jenny and Trey and the entire Helm’s staff was. All made excellent hosts for the afternoon and proved to be extremely knowledgeable resources for us newbs.
If you’ve always been curious about home-brewing, I highly recommend signing up for a BIY workshop. It’s a fun and casual way to spend Saturday afternoon. They also accommodate birthday partys, bachelor(ette) partys, and, really, any party involving people over 21. If you’re curious about crafting your own custom brew for a special event, say, like a wedding, Jenny and Trey can help tailor a recipe.
Signing up is easy. You can simply sign up through the BIY Website to set up a brew date. Grab your friend, clear your schedule, and start brewing!