Homebrew Heaven

I love the smell of wort in the morning.

It’s the smell of homebrewers hard at work.

Such was the case this morning in Lakeside. The lot next to Original Gravity Homebrew Supplies was bubbling with activity–and with unique beers being crafted.

David Leon and Jesse Gilbert, for example, were birthing a batch of honey ginger kolsch using malt donated by Hardywood Park Brewing Co. They plan to use three different strains of yeast to ferment separate batches of the brew, just for the fun of it.

Anna Shore brews a batch of honey hefeweizen

Anna Shore brews a batch of honey hefeweizen

A few yards away, Anna Shore was brewing some honey hefeweizen, using local wildflower honey. She and her husband, Ed, have “tried lots of honey and little honey” to compare different flavors, she said.

Meanwhile, Ron Edmunds was offering tastes of his peach cider. Marcus Brown was discussing his porter-cider recipe. And others were hovering over brew pots with equally exotic concoctions.

All are members of the James River Homebrewers, and the event, Big Brew Day, was in observance of the American Homebrewers Association‘s National Homebrew Day. With an estimated 750,000 homebrewers in the country, it’s likely a whole lot of beer was being brewed in similar situations across the nation.

The James River Homebrewers celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. “We’re the oldest continuously operated homebrew club in the country,” said Leon, the group’s president.

Some members have been brewing only for months, he said. Others, such as Anna and Ed Shore, for decades. “I bought him his first kit about 20 years ago,” she said, and one brew has led to another. They have a website, www.solsticebrewingva.com, that keeps friends and followers up to speed on their brewing adventures.

For some, homebrewing conjures up possibilities of turning a hobby into a profession. For others, it’s just a chance to experiment and flex creative muscles.

“I just like to think outside the box,” Brown said.


Marcus Brown (left) watches Jesse Gilbert and David Leon (right)

Marcus Brown (left) watches Jesse Gilbert and David Leon (right)



About admin

I am a writer. And a musician/songwriter. And a husband/father. I love good beer, the outdoors, the embrace of family, the company of true friends, the telling of a good story and the inner peace derived from quiet reflection in solitude. Recently I have specialized in beer writing. My most recent adventure is "Virginia Beer: A Guide from Colonial Days to Craft's Golden Age" published fall 2018 by University of Virginia Press. In October 2014, "Richmond Beer: A History of Brewing in the River City" was published by History Press. "Charlottesville Beer: Brewing in Jefferson's Shadow," followed in January 2017. Send me an email at rvabeerguy@gmail.com. As you can see from this site, however, my interests are broader than beer. Spend time, leave a comment or just enjoy. Lee
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