The craft beer explosion isn’t the only beer phenomenon happening in the South Jersey and Philadelphia area. Home brewing has also taken off. Home brew shops are popping up in the area, and the people who want their own tastes are taking part. Home brewing classes, meet-ups and clubs are starting to spring up in the area as well. There is a great blog entry I recommend my readers take advantage of. It’s a wife’s guide to home brewing and yes, it’s written by a South Jersey resident. Not only are people writing and talking about home brewing. New Jersey politicians are passing new laws about home brewing as well. The latest law states residents no longer need a permit in order to brew at home.
Home brewing has a cult feel to it as many of the home brewers feel a certain kinship with other brewers while they have plenty to talk about and share. “There is a level of friendly competition” said Sean Fazen of Woodstown, NJ. Fazen, started brewing in his kitchen three years ago. “Many of us have questions for each other about different techniques we want to try. A lot of the people I have met are at a different levels of brewing so it’s a community of brewers helping each other out.” Fazen has made 12 different brews in the three years since he started, and it’s a labor of love. “Some of my brews have been great, and I was quite surprised at the flavors I got. Some of the others I’ve done are the more challenging brews and they still need some work, but it’s a game of trial and error.”
Not everyone feels the same way however. Pitman, NJ resident John Gallagher has been home brewing for only two years, but has a different view on the matter. “I want my beers to be better than my friends that also brew,” said Gallagher. “I want mine to be better than the people I meet that brew.” Gallagher has brewed eight kinds of beers in his two years, but sees it as more than just a drink between friends. “I would like people to taste my beer and be like, Wow, how did you get that to taste so good or are you sure you brewed this?” Gallagher has been successful in his brewing so far and wants to take it further. “I want to start to brew larger batches and see how it will be to with work and bigger and better equipment.” Both agree that, “It’s a great community of people who brew. You have instant conversation topics once you meet another brewer.”