It was 5pm. I was sitting in a giant chair chatting about different malts with a couple of other ladies, trying to catch a cool breeze that wasn’t coming. It had to be 15 degrees warmer in this backyard than in the rest of the city, and it was already a hot day to begin with. A mirage of steam filled the sky above the yard. Luckily I had a fresh beer-ijto in my hand made with hops simple syrup and a homebrewed Helles. This is Big Brew.
Every year on the first Saturday in May homebrewers around the country participate in Big Brew. A celebration to mark National Homebrew Day in which homebrewers gather together to brew; to show off their skills, share ideas, and teach others. The America Homebrewers Association plans the event every year, this year Big Brew fell on May 5th, and National Homebrewers Day is on May 7th. The AHA selects two recipes every year, for those who wish to use them. This year the recipes included American Brown Ale and Northern English Brown Ale. Big Brew in Fort Collins is organized by Hops and Berries, a local homebrew shop, and Liquid Poets Society, a homebrew club. This year, Matt and Becky Smith graciously offered up their backyard and home to celebrate. I have been a member of Liquid Poets Society for only a few months, so this was my first Big Brew event and I was very excited to check out everyone’s systems.
I arrived around 11, with a bag of pretzels and a big bowl of fresh made beer cheese dip and added it to the table of other backyard cookout must haves. 15 kettles were already roaring, and it smelled amazing. If you think the smell of fresh baked bread is good, then you would love the smell of a boiling pot of wort. Some brewers began as early as 6:30, and they were not planning on stopping for a long while. Last year, 220 gallons of beer and mead were made and this year the mark was barely passed with 225 gallons. A bar was set up on the patio, and many corny kegs of homebrew from various members were emptied as the days went on. The Kolsch and Peat Bomb Brown were my choices for the day, and I tried an IPA that was well done as well. The talent in this town is endless.