May 1st may mean maypoles to some, but for me it is another excuse to stop by the homebrew shop and stock up on supplies for a fun day in the kitchen. Thanks to the American Homebrewers Association, the driving force behind this beer-lover’s holiday, National Homebrew Day is celebrated not only in the United States, but also around the world. In fact, in 1988, May 7th was announced before Congress as National Homebrew Day, and some years later “Big Brew”, as it is affectionately named, is celebrated each year on the first Saturday in May.
According to the AHA, “Homebrewing has been practiced in America since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Today there are an estimated 750,000 homebrewers in the United States. Homebrewers are passionate about brewing beer and love to share that passion with others. That’s what Big Brew is all about: homebrewers getting together all over the world to share their love for the hobby.”
How will you celebrate this day? If you are new to brewing, you may want to check out a local Big Brew site – groups that will congregate at one site for a collective brew (and some beer enjoyment on the side). The Big Brew sites are definitely gaining momentum — In 2009, more than 5,000 people celebrated National Homebrew Day brewing over 13,000 gallons at 342 sites on six continents worldwide. Sites were registered in 47 states and Puerto Rico, as well as Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, Israel, Kenya, The Netherlands, Russia, and Switzerland. Check out the AHA website (www.homebrewersassociation.org) for more details on how you can join a Big Brew site.
If you’re a seasoned sudsmaster, you may find yourself stopping by a local store to gather ingredients for your next batch. The DC Metro area has a few stores, including:
6770 Oak Hall Lane
Columbia, MD 21044
22490 Budds Creek Rd
Leonardtown, MD 20650
My Local Home Brew Shop
6201 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22044
However you choose to celebrate this holiday, may your water be the perfect pH balance, and your fermentation fun. Cheers!