Try This at Home
It is becoming more difficult to keep track of new breweries popping up in Texas. A few minutes poking about on Twitter, Facebook, or beer blogs each week seems to drop another hint of some brave soul who wants to live the dream of owning a brewery.
Visions usually begin with five gallons of fermentable fun bubbling away in a corner of a house or apartment, or even well concealed in a dorm room. Then there’s the reality of money that needs to be raised … somehow.
Today there are four breweries and a new brewpub (which would be the town’s second) in various stages of development in New Braunfels, a couple of dreamers on the loose in San Antonio, and another dozen that just started brewing or are about to brew in the Austin, Dallas, and Houston areas.
Most of them say they began their journey in the brewer’s version of a Hobby Lobby or Michaels: the local homebrew shop.
Homebrew supply shops around the nation reported a 16-percent increase in gross revenue in 2010 over the previous year and 82 percent of the shops said they experienced an increase in the number of the beginner kits sold, according to a recent American Homebrewers Association survey.
And the hobby is not just for middle-aged dudes anymore. Of the shops responding to the second annual survey, 43 percent said the most common purchasers of starter kits were under 30, and the number of female brewers was on the rise.
“Traditionally a hobby dominated by middle-aged males, the influx of younger homebrewers bodes well for the future of the pastime,” said Gary Glass, director of the AHA.
San Antonio’s two homebrew shops, San Antonio Homebrew Supply & Bar and Home Brew Party, are introducing numerous people to the hobby every year with hops, grains, and knowledge. The question is: Which novice will eventually become San Antonio’s next commercial brewer?
Mark the calendar for a pair of events this week.
July 28 is the fourth Thursday of the month, which means that The Cove is doing its monthly beer tasting feature. No news on the beers this month, but the tasting always features a quaff of five different beers accompanied by chips, salsa, and cheese for $5.
As mentioned last week, tickets are on sale for the Deschutes Brewing Co. beer dinner July 31 at the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium. Be sure to call ahead and make sure tickets for the event are still available because space is limited.
Travis E. Poling writes about beer weekly for the Current. He is co-author of Beer Across Texas: A Guide to the Brews and Brewers of the Lone Star State. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.