Lake Norman & Mooresville

A recipe made to your taste

If you find yourself sampling unique and delicious beers, chances are you are at the home of John Crnich and Dana Coroi in Mooresville. You can sample an apricot wheat and a rye saison from a home refrigerator while a rosemary India pale ale and a pumpkin saison ferment in the corner.

Crnich is a founding member of Iredell Brewers United (the I.B.U.s), a home brewing club that started in June and has 30 members.

The club is a fun, learning and experimental environment for homebrewers of beer, mead, and ciders. They hope to add winemakers to their ranks, as well. According to the club's blog, "If you are looking for a collection of elite, high-brow homebrewers, you have come to the wrong place. I.B.U. is a humble, irreverent salute to home brew and those who create it" (iredellbrewersunited.blogspot.com).

Before helping to found the I.B.U.s, Crnich was a member of the Catawba Homebrewer's Association in Concord. The idea of a homebrewing club in Mooresville became possible with the opening of the Beer and Wine Hobbies International store on Norman Station Boulevard. It provides supplies.

Club activities include experimental brewing, such as several different members brewing the same recipe, each with a different type of hops. At the meeting, everyone then tastes each differently-hopped brew to learn the variety in flavors.

Crnich and Coroi are relatively new to homebrewing. They began in October of 2010.

Now, they create recipes and experiment with ingredients, such as herbs from their garden. They soon will use their own home-grown hops. The first crop is thriving in their backyard.

"It's a slippery slope," said Crnich. "You start brewing and the next thing you know you're putting 16-foot poles in your yard to grow hops on."

Crnich estimates that about 40 percent of the homebrewers he knows also grow hops.

The desire to brew at home is often born out of an enjoyment of craft beers and a wish to recreate the brews one likes. Crnich and Coroi were inspired by the many craft beer festivals they attended.

According to Crnich, homebrewing can be compared to any artisan craft. It is rewarding because brewers get to consume and enjoy their own creations.

Homebrewing also can produce higher-quality beer at a lower cost than buying it ready-made. Crnich attributes this higher quality to the homebrewer focusing all of his or her attention on each five-gallon batch and controlling the quality of ingredients used, while breweries make hundreds or thousands of gallons daily.

Crnich and Coroi advise anyone who wants to brew at home to have patience. The first batch is the hardest, they say, because you have to wait about a month for the process to be complete and to taste your brew.

"Results aren't good if you rush it," Coroi said.

Crnich also advocates beginning with the simplest method of making a brew and working one's way up to the more difficult recipes.

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