If you’ve been thinking about brewing your own beer, this is your month. Whether you’ve never brewed or are an accomplished homebrewer, there are a variety of events this May — starting tonight.
Join the Club
Since it’s the first Wednesday of the month, you can find the Carolina BrewMasters holding their monthly meeting at Dilworth Neighborhood Grille starting at 6:30 p.m. When I say you’ll be hard pressed to find a better homebrew club, I’m not exaggerating. The club won the very first Radegast Club of the Year award at the National Homebrewers Conference in 2014.
Even if you aren’t yet a homebrewer, you might recognize the Carolina BrewMasters name from Charlotte Oktoberfest, which they have presented for 18 years now. Through the festival, they have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities.
In addition to the monthly meetings (which are free to attend), the BrewMasters also hold brewing sessions each month at member houses. Learn more on the Carolina BrewMasters website or in their Facebook group.
If you don’t live in Charlotte proper, you can also find a variety of homebrew clubs in the suburbs, including Cabarrus Homebrewers Society, Catawba Lager and Ale Sampling Society, Catawba River Area Fermentation Team, Iredell Brewers United and Salisbury Homebrewers.
Find your LHBS
Once you go down the rabbit hole and start reading homebrewing forums (it’ll happen, trust me) you’ll begin noticing specific acronyms. One of those is LHBS, which stands for “local homebrew supply store.” There are several such options around Charlotte, including the long-standing Alternative Beverage. The company boasts a large warehouse in Belmont as well as a few locations under the “Beer and Wine Hobbies Int’l” name in Mooresville and Monroe, but the most well-known of them all is the one tucked away in the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall. That one’s actually moving from its longtime home to a new location at 3911 South Boulevard.
There’s also Seven Jars Products (6148B Brookshire Blvd.), which in addition to carrying a variety of ingredients for winemaking and brewing also has plans to open its own distillery.
In Huntersville, Crafty Beer Guys carries a small selection of homebrew supplies and ingredients.
Unfortunately one of the city’s newest homebrew supply stores will soon be closing its doors. While House of Brews (3611 Tryclan Drive) hasn’t set a closing date, they will be marking down most of their products as they sell through their inventory. Follow them on Facebook for more.
Big Brew Day on Saturday, May 7
You’re in the club and you’ve found your LHBS — now what? You can either start brewing on your own or find a homebrewing mentor to show you the ropes before you go it alone. Since National Homebrew Day is this Saturday, May 7, that’s as good a day as any.
Alternative Beverage will host a Big Brew Day at their warehouse in Belmont (1500 River Dr #104). Around 10-15 homebrewers will have their equipment set up so that you can see a brew day in action. Things will start around 10 a.m. and go through the afternoon. There will also be kegs of beer on tap, plus barbecue and chicken (you’re encouraged to bring beer or side dishes to share).
AHA Rally at NoDa Brewing on Saturday, May 14
For the third year, NoDa Brewing will host a rally for the American Homebrewers Association on Saturday, May 14. The NoDa AHA Rally is free for AHA members, and if you’re not yet a member you’ll be able to sign up at a discounted rate at the event. You’ll be able to meet not only the homebrewers from a variety of area clubs, but also brewers from NoDa Brewing. And you can taste the 16 different beers brewed for the Hop Showcase, an experiment that tasked clubs with brewing beers using the same yeast and grain bill but different hops. If you’re going, make sure to RSVP here.
Learn the Homebrewing Essentials, Thursday, May 26
Through SkillPop, you can learn the art of watercoloring, public speaking and, oh yeah, homebrewing. The guys from the Cheers Charlotte podcast will teach the basics of brewing at their Homebrewing Essentials class, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at Red Clay Ciderworks (it was previously to be held at the aforementioned House of Brews). Tickets are $25 and there are only four seats left, so act fast. The Cheers Charlotte guys do plan to offer additional homebrewing classes in the future.