If you read no further, then I’d at least like you to leave this page knowing that Homebrewing in the UK is thriving. If you want to know why I think this, then read on. Apologies in advance that this post is ‘link heavy’, but my intention is that this is a point of reference.
The Craft Brewing Association (CBA) (@CraftBrewingUK on Twitter) is a national organisation run by volunteers, which exists to maintain the craft of brewing in the UK, with an emphasis on supporting homebrewers to improve their beer. Check out the site for information on learning to brew, recipe ideas, technical know-how and as a general signpost to other useful sources of help. Two that I use and can recommend are The Homebrew Forum and Jim’s Beer Kit, as well as many homebrewer’s blogs (too many to link). The CBA also produce Brewers Contact, which is the only magazine dedicated to homebrewing in the UK.
As well as the CBA there are a number of regional groups that meet regularly and provide homebrewers with an opportunity to share their knowledge and their beer. This list is taken from the CBA website and I’ve added a few more groups that have formed in the last year. Affiliation with the CBA varies, but most, if not all recognise the CBA:
Scottish Craft Brewers, Northern Craft Brewers, Midlands Craft Brewers on Twitter @MCBA_Beer, Cheshire Brewer’s Group, The North Cotswold Amateur Brewers Association, Severn Valley Brewers, Oxford Brewers on Twitter @OxfordBrewers, The Beeston Beer Circle, Norwich and Norfolk Craft Brewers, Shed Brewers, County Beer Makers, Durden Park Beer Circle, London Amateur Brewers also on Twitter @lonbrew and North Hampshire Brewers.
Not currently on the CBA website: Bristol Craft Brewers, the Bristol Brewing Circle @bristolbrewers on Twitter, @DerbyCraftBrew, Pembrokeshire Union of Brewers @PembsBrewers, Manchester Homebrew or @mancshomebrew, and Leeds Homebrew or @LeedsHomebrew.
Looking at the list above, plus the other groups and individuals not listed here, it’s hardly surprising that this years UK National Homebrew Competition (UKNHBC) (@bshomebrewcomp) received an increased number of entries compared to last year. 163 registered participants and over 450 beers judged. In addition to this, professional brewers and commercial breweries are supporting homebrewing. Look no further than the UKNHC 2012 sponsors, which included Brooklyn Brewery, Lagunitas Brewing Co, Lovibonds, Magic Rock, Nøgne Ø, Rogue, St. Austell, Simply Hops, The Malt Miller, The Home Brew Shop, Muntons, Danstar, CAMRA, White Labs and Bristol Beer Factory.
Hopefully I’m providing any doubters with the information they need to see that the last thing homebrewing in the UK needs right now is a revolution.
*If you are already a homebrewer or just thinking of having a go at brewing, here are a few homebrew supply shops that were recommended to me (there will be more and I’m happy to list them):
- The Malt Miller @themaltmiller
- The Homebrew Supermarket
- Simply Hops @SimplyHops
- The Homebrew Shop
- Morley Homebrew Centre
- Home Brew Kent
- BrewUK @BrewUK
If you know of any great resources or shops that you think I should include, please just leave a comment.
Read what Leigh has to say about homebrew, over on his blog The Good Stuff.