As an avid homebrewer and current President of the New York City Homebrewers Guild, I often get asked, “Where can I learn to homebrew in New York City?”. A few years ago, I would have had a tough time giving them even one recommendation. But this has all changed in the last couple of years and we New Yorkers are lucky to have several excellent places to take homebrewing classes. Here are my recommendations, in no particular order:
Brooklyn Homebrew in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn is my local homebrew shop and offers two monthly classes – Homebrew 101: Beginner and Homebrew 102: Intro to All-Grain. They also offer an occasional yeast class and other homebrew-related events. The Homebrew 101 and 102 classes are $35 each and last around two hours. Both classes include full instruction on partial-mash (101) or all-grain brewing (102) and a tasting of beers of Brooklyn Homebrew-made draft beers. Participants in the 101 class bottle a previous classes beer and take home some of the bottles.
Bitter & Esters has a full electric brewing system in their Prospect Heights store in Brooklyn. They offer a variety of classes, ranging from Brewshop 101: Homebrewing Essentials to Brewshop 501: All Grain Brewing. These classes include full instruction on homebrewing. Bitter & Esters also have a series of Brew Like A Pro workshops, where participants brew a clone beer with the same ingredients and a scaled-down recipe as a commercial beer and more focused classes on yeast. The Brewshop 101 & 501 classes are $55 while the other classes usually range from $65 to $70.
This full-service kitchen supply shop in Williamsburg offers a 2.5 hour Homebrewing class on a regular basis. They also offer more advanced classes from time to time. The Homebrewing class is currently $125 and takes participants through the extract brewing process. The class tastes beer brewed by a previous class and commercial examples and discusses how to homebrew those styles. Participants take home bottles brewed by a previous class as well as a Homebrew kit.
My friend and fellow NYCHG member Fritz Fernow offers homebrewing classes through sidetour. The $35 workshop is held at Fritz’s apartment in Cobble Hill. Participants get to watch Fritz brew a beer, sample some of his homebrews and have a complimentary pint at 61 Local with Fritz and the rest of the class after the brew session concludes.
(Please visit their websites to see if they have something going.)
- Homebrew kit purveyor Brooklyn Brew Shop gives workshops and demos around town occasionally.
- The Bowery Culinary Center at the Whole Foods Bowery on the Lower East Side has occasional homebrew workshops.
- The Queens Kickshaw in Astoria recently held a series of classes on homebrewing.
- 3rdWard in East Williamsburg has offered homebrewing workshops.
- Sam Burlingame gives occasional classes around the city – please like the BrewHeister page on Facebook to find out when the next one is.
Once you’ve started brewing, please consider attending a local homebrew meeting or get-together – we’ve compiled a list of Tri-State Homebrew clubs on the New York City Homebrewers Guild site. Homebrew meetings are a fun way to get feedback on your beers, inspiration from others’ beers and further your homebrewing education. Happy Fermenting!