We didn’t produce a homebrew day video this year (check out our video from last year here). This year’s video contest entries are posted and I have been watching them all morning (here) on YouTube and it’s making me thirsty.
Fortunately our newest contributor (an actual writer!) Dan spent National Homebrew Day at his first brew day event, in Maple Shade NJ. Here’s his story…
MAPLE SHADE, NJ – The cast iron bell had rung and then was rung again for good measure. It was the sign that the Barley Legal Home Brew club reached its 100 gallon goal in the parking lot of the Iron Hill Brewery. Home brewers from the Philadelphia region pitched their tents and set-up their brewing equipment on a steamy blacktopped parking lot as a tribute to National Homebrew Day.
National Homebrew Day’s lineage dates back to 1988 when Congress proclaimed May 7 to be a celebrated day by beer geeks across the country. With that said, home brewing goes hand in hand with the founding of our country. You only have to look back to our founding father Thomas Jefferson, who kept a small brewery in his home.
Under the blistering sun, Chris Lapierre, the head brewer at Iron Hill’s Maple Shade, New Jersey location, cut a steady path from the brewery to the festival assisting local home brewers with water and other supplies to make sure the event got off the ground. Wearing his brewing galoshes and wiping sweat from his brow, Lapierre said Iron Hill played a critical role in providing the space, but local motivation was the catalyst for the event.
“This how I started out – I was a home brewer before I got into the business. Two out of the three owners of Iron Hill use to brew beer and play soccer together, that was their passion and that’s how they go into this business,” Lapierre said. “We have a great following from home brewers and they are our best customers, so we do as much as we can to support them.” Lapierre said Iron Hill offers second runnings to home brewers and provides the home brew club, Barley Legal, with its back dining room as meeting place.
As the music blared and grills were turned on high, about 30 home brew teams were working on a variety of different styles of beer. Dave Greenbaum was doing his part for the celebration by brewing a wheat beer and keeping an altbier and scotch ale on tap to quench his thirst while laboring over the mash and monitoring the brewing process.
“I got into brewing back in 1993 and really enjoyed the camaraderie that is created with other brewers,” Greenbaum said. “There is no competition out here, just a bunch of guys enjoying the day talking, creating and drinking beer.”
Close by, Vince Masciandaro and his son were brewing an American pale ale. He spoke enthusiastically on the benefits of home brewing.
“We are brewing beer just as good as the big guys and this is an economical way to drink beer,” Masciandaro said. “Look at this, you got all these guys out here sharing ideas and having a good time and speaking the same language.”
As the day winded down Lapierre looked back over the parking lot and admired the equipment that many of the brewers trucked in from all over the region.
“I’ll tell you what, a lot of this equipment is really impressive and I’m jealous of some beer that is being brewed our here today.”Tags: contest, homebrew