Reno Craft Beer Week: Learning How to Homebrew

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RENO, NV - The craft beer scene has experienced major growth in the past twenty years. According to Rob Bates, owner of Reno Homebrewer, when he first opened his store in 1986 there wasn't a lot of choice for consumers, but that's not the case anymore.

"Now you've got not only a lot more different beers, but locally brewed beer in Reno. We didn't have any breweries at all in Reno 25 years ago," he says.

Many professionals started out brewing their own beer at home, and that hobby then turned into a career down the line. So what does it take to make a good beer?

"The three things you have to be able to do to make beer is you have to be able to boil water. Most people can do that one. Keep it sterile so it doesn't spoil, and then give it some time, 3 or 4 weeks before you start to drink it," says Bates.

Bates says patience is key. Allowing your beer to ferment is important because the sediment has a chance to settle, which gives you a cleaner taste. If you want good quality you should learn a little about the science behind the brewing process.

"If you understand how to feed your yeast and bacteria, and pick the right ones, that's important to know to make a good beer," says Bates.

Also, it's not all about the ingredients you choose. Some beers require a different fermenting process to give it the right taste.

"Some yeasts produce different flavors at different temperatures. So you can finesse a beer just by changing temperature, not just as a matter of ingredients," says Bates.

For people that are new to homebrewing, you can start simple and work your way up to more complex beers. The Reno Homebrewer store has recipes and equipment to get you going, and if you have a recipe already they can help you find the proper ingredients. It all comes down to how much care you put into the process. Experienced or not, that is a big factor when determining how well your beer will turn out.

For more information about Reno Homebrewer or for a full list of events during Reno Craft Beer Week, click the links above.