Never before have I felt more like the least informed person in a room.
Last Friday night I attended a home brewing master class at Work-Shop, led by Matt from Young Henrys, which revealed an incredible community of homebrew enthusiasts that I never knew existed within our city. Armed with their own encyclopaedic knowledge of fine beer, each “student” had a notepad & a thirsty enthusiasm to learn more. It seemed as if Matt’s advice was considered gospel & connoisseurs from all corners of the city were gathered admiringly into one room to learn from the best.
Taught with a voice that commands respect & a face full of hair, Matt led the class from the initial conception of homebrew, to overcoming the variables that can negatively affect the end results. “If a little is good, a lot must be better”, in reference to ingredients & recipe, implied that the creation of homebrew to some degree depends on your personal taste. He offered sound advice peppered with a few cheeky anecdotes & stories of his own. As the class hastily jotted down the details, I sat in awe of the scene that I had stumbled into.
Passionate discussions flew across the tables covering the best testing gadgets & pieces of kit, to personal opinions of limited edition runs & even the history behind redundant Sydney breweries. The conversation began to circulate around two men in particular & suddenly everyone seemed interested in visiting our table. Nick & Sam from The Hop & Grain Homebrew Store were what I would politely describe as “beer nerds”. They were two of the loveliest guys that happened have an absurd passion for beer. They have set up the Inner West’s first homebrew shop & they pitched it brilliantly.
“Brand new homebrew store in Enmore, Sydney. Offering tastings and brewing activities, as well as homebrew supplies. The Hop & Grain Brew Store is for lovers of beer/cider, who want to learn the craft of homebrew or who already homebrew and are looking for a well-stocked, local supplier”.
They told me that their experiences with other homebrew stores in the past have been disheartening, often judging customers if they don’t know the much about beer. So they took it upon themselves to establish a place where they can offer friendly advice & all the equipment needed for your DIY brewing. They have even set up a monthly “Bring a Brew” evening where people are encouraged share their brewing efforts & gain feedback from others.
The 2014 Home Brew Masters is happening in March at The Vic in Enmore & the winner will have a commercial batch of their drop brewed by Young Henrys. The scene of homebrew enthusiast is rapidly gaining momentum in Sydney & it’s something that really fascinated me. Since attending the work-shop I have even spoken to a few of my friends about getting involved.
The growth of not only the beer community but the creative community as a whole is fostered by collectives such as Work-Shop whom promote learning & DIY workshops (for lack of a better word). Home in their new space in Redfern, Work-Shop offers “fun & affordable short courses in arts, crafts & life skills. Bringing together the brightest creative minds in Sydney to share their knowledge & teach you a new skill”. Their approach to creative living & support for community initiatives has generously influenced Sydney in a positive way.
A new year is often a great opportunity to learn a new skill & become more involved in your community. Check out the program for upcoming workshops that may interest you, www.work-shop.com.au & support your local, www.younghenrys.com. Young Henrys Brewery in Newtown is the best craft beer in Sydney.
Many thanks to both Young Henrys & Work-Shop for coming together to put on a great night.