ANN ARBOR – Today, May 7, is officially National Homebrew Day as designated by Congress in 1988, but approximately 7,000 homebrewers across the country and around the world celebrated on Saturday during the 15th annual American Homebrewers Association “Big Brew.”
Michigan homebrewers gathered at 15 AHA-registered sites from Kalamazoo to Warren and Monroe to Gladstone in the Upper Peninsula to brew from the AHA’s Big Brew recipes – which this year included an American Brown Ale and a Northern English Brown Ale – as well as others of their choosing.
At the Adventures in Homebrewing store in Scio Township, nearly 100 members and friends of the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, including AHA Governing Committee Chair Chris Frey, congregated around 15 different homebrew systems set up in the parking lot. Everything from the makings of a double IPA to a Belgian wit boiled away under an intermittently sunny sky, while participants shared samples of homebrewed pale ale, kolsch, breakfast stout, and even mead and wine. In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, AABG members also put out a Mexican-themed potluck spread that included pulled pork fajitas, two kinds of chili, beans, bacon-wrapped jalapeños and more.
Other brewers participated at “unofficial” sites like Witch’s Hat Brewing Co. in South Lyon, where brewers made a five gallon batch of a Belgian-style tripel ale and enjoyed discounted beers. Like many commercial brewers, owner Ryan Cottongim began as a homebrewer and is helping start a new local homebrewing club.
Other Michigan breweries hosting Big Brew demonstrations included Liberty Street Brewing in Plymouth, Bell’s in Kalamazoo, BARTS in Bay City, Redwood Lodge in Flint and Kuhnhenn Brewing in Warren. Rochester Mills Brewing hosted its Big Brew event a week earlier, on April 28.
“AHA Big Brew highlights what is so special about homebrewers – their friendliness, interest in sharing with others, passion for beer, and of course, their affinity for having fun,” said AHA Director Gary Glass.
For more information on the AHA and National Homebrew Day, visit homebrewersassociation.org.