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California’s Double Brown Hustle: A Homebrew for Governor Jerry Brown

BYOB by | Nov 2016 | Issue #118
Illustration by Ellen Crenshaw

When Mississippi and Alabama legalized homebrewing in 2013, homebrewers loudly rejoiced, “The fight is finished!” But as we’ve seen in the years since, our legal concerns have shifted to more subtle interpretations of legal codes.

Fortunately, with help from local lawmakers, it’s not hard to change things. In California, we’ve nudged the law a few times to deal with our ABC’s concerns about the increasingly blurred line between homebrew and commercial usage.

When non-profits unrelated to beer began using homebrew, the ABC shut down homebrew fests, because they were run by beer-related organizations. While that language was being corrected, the ABC clarified that laws barred any non-saleable drink from the premise of a licensed establishment—meaning bars and breweries couldn’t host club meetings and competitions because they can’t sell homebrew. Regulation is such a maddening dance of words.

Now, thanks to the efforts of the California Homebrewer’s Association and the American Homebrewer’s Association, homebrew is once more on the menu at our breweries and bars. Well, for bona fide club meetings and competitions, anyway; don’t get any bright ideas about kegs on tap at your local. Also, don’t get complacent, thinking what you do is strictly legal and off the state’s radar.

Unless I’m mistaken, this also means that Governor Edmund “Don’t Call Me Moonbeam” Brown has the distinction of signing at least four homebrew bills, including legalization back in the ’70s. To mark his hobby-friendly legacy, I’m putting a big, bold, dank California Double Brown on tap. This is a throwback to a big, monstrous American Brown with some classic California ingredients in the mix—including an old-school bittering addition of Cluster and some dank Columbus. (Don’t like Cluster? Sub in Warrior!)

California Double Brown Ale
For 5.5 gallons at 1.077 OG | 30.5 IBU | 24.3 SRM | 7.8% ABV

Malt
15 lbs Great Western California Select malt (sub 2-row)
1.0 lbs Crystal 60L malt
0.5 lbs Crisp brown malt
0.5 lbs pale chocolate malt
0.25lbs Carafa II de-husked malt

Mash
Single infusion mash at 152–154°F for 60 minutes.

Hops
0.5 oz Cluster | 7.0% AA | 60 minutes
1.0 oz Cascade | 5.5% AA | 10 minutes
1.0 oz Columbus | 14% AA | 20-minute whirlpool

Yeast
White Labs WLP001 California Ale (naturally)