Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a keg of ale to bottle and pass out to your friends this holiday season? Yeah, we wish we had taken up home brewing last year, too. It’s a bit late for fermenting this year, but if you join one of the many local home brew clubs now, by this time next year you’ll have tinkered around enough to brew up truly unique gifts â€” and who knows what else. Ask any professional brewer and they’ll likely tell you home brewing is how they got started.
The newest of the bunch at barely three months old, Eastside Brewers is a small but growing group of beer lovers who say driving to the westside for home-brew meetings got old quickly. That, and they prefer to share their beers with the rest of us than just among themselves at club meetings. You’ll find them pouring home-brewed pilsners at private parties and the occasional public event like the EAT: Los Angeles party the other night andÂ Jennie Cook’s pie party before Thanksgiving. Check the club’s website regularly to find their next happy hour tastings.
If you want to cut your chops the old-school way, this club is for you. It’s big, diverse and claims to be the oldest around, at 35 years young. We can’t vouch for the latter, but the seemingly endless number of events, including home-brew classes, fundraisers and the “stuffed sandwich Christmas beer tasting” coming up shortly (yes, overstuffed sandwiches are involved) are enough to make this one of the best clubs for those who are new to home brewing.
If the Maltose Falcons have an archrival in town, Pacific Gravity is it. Members from both clubs will often show up at the same newsworthy beer events (say, the first Friday the Daily Pint in Santa Monica offered cask-conditioned ale last summer). Not sure which club is for you? These home-brew advocates meet at Culver City Home Brew Supply the third Thursday of each month, so you can find out for yourself.
Pacific Gravity Ladies’ Home Brew Club
It’s pretty much a given that home-brew clubs are filled with lots of testosterone. And that’s why Nathalie Balandran started the women-only branch of Pacific Gravity. It’s a small group, typically less than a dozen ladies at a meeting. But these are hands-on brewing sessions, with lots of sipping and socializing in between. They gather the second Thursday of most months (check the calendar) at Culver City Home Brew Supply.
pacificgravityladies.wordpress.com or brewsupply.com
Temecula Home Brewers
This club has had a bit of a revival recently. You can attend meetings the third Tuesday of every month at Murrieta Homebrew Emporium in Riverside or hit one of the various social happy hour gatherings around Temecula. The club just sponsored its first home-brew competition since it reformed in 2006.