I Fought the Law, and the Law …

BYOB by | Jun 2013 | Issue #77

Illustration by Ellen Crenshaw

If there’s any blessing that the odd endeavor of homebrewing has enjoyed, it’s been the law’s disinterest in pursuing legal action against such ragged misfits. However, with homebrewing and craft beer’s rise in popularity, the state’s unblinking gaze increasingly falls on our efforts.

Alcohol regulators are taking less permissive views on the law and on homebrewing. Previously, officials blindly allowed the use of homebrew for non-commercial uses, like competitions or club meetings, even for service at a commercial establishment. But now, with licenses on the line, everyone is double checking whether things are legal and are getting back, “Wait, you’re doing what? No!”

Even the Southern California Homebrewers Festival, my single favorite day of the year, is impacted. In 2012, the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) required an alcohol permit for the fest; odd, since no commercial beer is served. This year, they required club servers to wear vests and not drink while on duty. All in the name of alcohol safety for 1,800-plus people staying the weekend.

Fortunately, it all worked out. Despite the changes, we still had fun. In the end, the increased scrutiny makes things harder, but it also moves homebrewing out of the gray areas we’ve sometimes operated in and into the full light of day.

And of course, the news isn’t all sour on the law and homebrew front—the Alabama Legislature surprised everyone and voted to pass the homebrewing bill 18-7-1. Assuming Gov. Robert Bentley signs, homebrewing will finally be legal in all 50 states!

(poured at SCHF)
For 5.5 gallons at 1.063, 19 IBU,15.8 SRM, 6.5% ABV

Malt / Grain / Sugars
10 lb. Golden Promise malt
2.5 lb. domestic two-row malt
1.0 lb. C60 malt
6.0 oz pale chocolate malt

Mash for 60 minutes at 153°F.

0.5 oz Magnum (pellets) | 11.6% AA | 60 minutes
0.5 oz Calypso (pellets) | 12.8% AA | 0 minutes

Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley II