More than 1.2 million people brew beer at home in the United States. That’s 2 million barrels of beer fermenting and bubbling in closets and cellars nationwide each year according to the American Homebrewers Association.
Homebrewer and co-owner of one of Park West’s newest businesses, home brew and winemaking supplier The Brewer’s Barn, Tim Daniel estimates there are as many as 700 home brewers in the Placerville area.
Craft beer production has grown from 4.4 million barrels produced in 2009 to 7.3 million barrels in 2013. The United States had 537 craft breweries in 1994. By 2013 that number had grown to 2,483 as cited at brewersassociation.org.
This boom in commercially made craft beer brings an abundance of flavor to consumers with not only diversity in styles of beer but novel brews that have inspired a new generation of home brewers.
So it’s about time a beer competition returned to the El Dorado County Fair. The Brewer’s Barn, Hangtown Association of Zymurgy Enthusiasts and the El Dorado County Fair have teamed up to revive the event.
While it’s hard to pin down an exact year, members of HAZE estimate the last competition was held in 1999. Both home brewers and commercial brewers are invited to participate with an entry deadline of Friday, May 2.
Get your gear, get your grain
In July of 2013 three friends and home brew hobbyists — Tim Daniel, Chris Wynn and Jeremiah Monasmtih — opened the doors to The Brewer’s Barn, the only home brew ingredient shop in El Dorado County.
“We have a real life passion for the beer industry and helping people make better home brew,” Daniel said. “We stock the highest quality ingredients so people have the chance to make the best beer or wine.”
On a recent weekday afternoon Daniel, who lives in Pollock Pines and Wynn of Shingle Springs, set out their pop-up tent and fired up the outdoor burner right outside of The Brewer’s Barn storefront to brew some beer.
The day’s recipe was an India Pale Ale that Wynn calls his CAN IPA named for the three hops he uses. The hop varieties are chinook, amarillo and nelson sauvin that each impart a unique flavor to the beer. Wynn said he hopes to enter this brew in the El Dorado County Fair beer competition.
On Saturday, April 12, The Brewer’s Barn will host a free class on extract brewing. The class will start at noon and while your beer might not be ready for this year’s competition there will be plenty of time to hone brew skills for 2015.
The crew at The Brewer’s Barn can have you out the door and ready to brew for about $100 in hardware and ingredients.
The Brewer’s Barn also helps customers with recipe designs and they sell recipe kits.
“All you need is equipment and water,” Wynn said. “If someone likes Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, we can make a clone.”
Entries for the 2014 El Dorado County Fair Home Brew Competition will be accepted beginning April 21 through May 2. Entries can be dropped off at The Brewer’s Barn, 6090 Enterprise Drive, Suite c1, in Placerville.
Entry forms and further details can be found at eldoradocountyfair.org/entry.html. Each entry is $7. An awards reception with beer tasting and appetizers will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 10. Attendees of the reception must pre-register and pay $10.
The Brewer’s Barn will also have a demonstration at this year’s El Dorado County Home and Garden Show, which just happens to be National Homebrew Day, Saturday, May 3.
For more information call The Brewer’s Barn at 530-303 8179.