Raise your hand if you've always wanted to try brewing your own beer. I imagine a sea of arms shooting up across San Diego.
Finally your chance has come, without blowing up your kitchen in the process. Brew-It-Yourself is your one-stop brewing workshop to start your own budding homebrew obsession.
Owner Trey Seaboldt started homebrewing in 2010, and like many fledgling brewers, began accumulating mounds of equipment. Co-owner and wife Jenny remarked, "We always 'needed' new toys."
Soon his hobby evolved and the two began pondering establishment of a place to teach others the craft of making beer. Such practices are more common in the Midwest and on the East Coast, but had not taken firm root in San Diego County.
"The original idea we had was more of a brick-and-mortar location with wall-to-wall equipment, brewing ingredients, recipes on hand, and people on staff. A place where people could hop in and hop out," Jenny said. "What we have evolved to is more fun and more applicable to here in San Diego."
So, here's the story. Jenny and Trey had approached a couple of breweries with their original idea, but being small businesses themselves, they didn't have money to invest. As the fates would have it, they also walked into Helm's Brewing in Kearny Mesa, immediately noticed a 10-gallon pilot system, and started chatting with the bartender. They thought their idea was already in action, but it turned out Helm's used the equipment as a testing ground for recipes.
They talked with one of the owners, he said yes to their ideas, and the rest is brewing history. Brew-It-Yourself was born in June 2013, and launched through a series of private events, including weddings, parties and corporate field trips, all of which they still do. These were all done brewing all grain beers, on the 10-gallon system.
The turning point for Jenny was a group of women, dressed up and clad in heels. "It got me thinking," she said, "how do we answer that demographic?"
Now alongside their 10-gallon system at private events, Brew-It-Yourself hosts a series of public events, where anyone can brew a 1-gallon batch of beer.
"It turned out to be way cooler than I envisioned. You aren't spending six to eight hours at the brewery. It's a shorter day, and a little more broken down," Jenny said. With an extract recipe, the process uses less equipment and is less expensive.
"We try to simplify the process, it's something they can take home and duplicate on their stove top."
Here's how it works: You attend a public workshop, they go over the fermentation process and give a bottling tutorial, you start brewing your 1-gallon with Trey and Jenny on the Helm's brewery floor. Pitch the yeast and take home the carboy and your bottling kit. In 24 to 48 hours, your beer is fermenting. Piece of cake!
The most popular varieties brewed are unsurprisingly pale ales and IPAs. Jenny's inside tip: Brew an ale, something hoppy and aromatic as opposed to a lager your first time out. Lagers require testing and perfection, and have less room for error.
"People think it's incredibly complicated, but I relate it a lot to cooking," she said. "If you can cook spaghetti, you can whip up a batch of beer."
Final words of advice from Jenny: "Wear closed-toed shoes, come in comfortable clothes, and always, always, always designate a driver or call an Uber. There's a lot of drinking in brewing beer."
To host a private event go to brewyourselfsd.com for information or call (858) 663-8144.
Public events are usually held once a month. The next workshop is at 1 p.m. July 30. Check brewyourselfsd.com for Brown Paper Tickets.
With 18 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 850 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits.