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The American Homebrewers Association

Established in 1978, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), is more than a group of homebrewers. There is so much more to the organization what was founded before homebrewing was legal in the US.

The AHA was founded by Charlie Papazian after he and his friend. Charlie Matzen, published a short newsletter about homebrewing in the Boulder, Colorado area. This newsletter came to become the bimonthly magazine published by the AHA and distributed to all of its 47,000 members, Zymurgy. Every AHA member receives this magazine containing articles about ingredients, equipment, homebrew recipes, reviews of commercial beers, and much more. Also, members of the AHA have access to the back issues dating back to 2000.

The main goal of the AHA is not to publish Zymurgy. The AHA spends much effort helping guide local groups through legislation to support homebrewing. Although homebrewing has been legal on the federal level since President Carter in 1978, each stats has its own laws. It wasn’t until 2013 that homebrewing has been legal is all 50 states. Mississippi became the last state to legalize homebrewing on July 1, 2013. (Alabama was the last state to approve legal homebrewing but its law went into effect immediately after the Governor signed the bill on May 9, 2013 while Mississippi’s law, approved earlier, didn’t go into effect until July 1.) Even with homebrewing now legal everywhere, what exactly can be made and how it can be shared is not always clear in each state. The AHA provides a resource for local groups that run into ambiguous existing legislation and new legislation that may limit the enjoyment of the hobby, usually through unintended consequences.

The AHA annually puts on Homebrew Con, formally the American Homebrewers Conference. This massive conference moves to a new location each year to highlight the local commercial and homebrewing scene. This year, 2017, Homebrew Con is in Minneapolis. In order to attend Homebrew Con, you must be a member of the AHA. Homebrew Con is also the location of the last round of the largest homebrewing competition, the National Homebrew Competition (NHC). This competition is so large there are regions set up months before Homebrew Con that beers need to pass through. Only the best of the best from AHA members make it to NHC at Homebrew Con.

If you are not interested in attending Homebrew Con or entering your brews into a competition, AHA members receive still more benefits. The AHA teams up with local breweries to put on AHA Rallies. At these rallies, breweries open their doors for a tour, a discussion with brewers, usually a tasting (or two), and some door prizes. Some breweries even provide attendees with wort prepared on their system for members to take home.

Another connection between breweries and AHA members are AHA Member Deals. A number of breweries offer discounts to AHA members. These discounts are sometimes happy hour prices all the time, a drink size upgrade, growler fill discounts, or discount of food or merchandize. In the Twin Ports area, Bent Paddle Brewing Co, Fitgers’ Brewhouse, and Old Chicago offer discounts. Homebrew stores also get in the action. We at Duluth Homebrew offer a 10% discount for AHA members.

Where can you find all of these discounts? The AHA launched a model app to help members find all their benefits. Brew Guru is available to AHA members and nonmembers who love beer. The app features a map overlaid with locations of breweries and homebrew stores that offer discounts and even those that do not. You can even set the app to give you an alert when you get close to someplace that offers a discount. In addition to pointing out breweries and discounts, the app contains articles to read while you wait for your beverage. Continue reading The American Homebrewers Association

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May 6th National Homebrew Day!

In 1988, the US Congress declared May 7 as National Homebrew Day. Homebrewing became legal in the United States just ten year before this on October 14, 1978 when President Jimmy Carter signed bill H.R. 1337 into law. This bill, among other things, contained an amendment (Amdt. No. 3534) calling for equal treatment under the law for home winemakers and home beer brewers. Adults would be allowed to brew 100 gallons per adult, up to 200 gallons for a household, for personal use and not pay taxes on this home brewed beer. With the declaration of National Homebrew Day, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) created an associated event to celebrate. The AHA Big Brew Day is held annually on the first Saturday in May. Homebrew clubs, shops, and other homebrewers around the US and the world celebrate by brewing common recipes and having a unified toast to homebrewing.

The 2017 Big Brew Day, again Saturday, May 6, has homebrewers brewing three recipes from the book How to Brew by John Palmer at various get together events across the US and beyond. How to Brew is one of the most widely referenced homebrewing books for beginning brewers. This being said, even an experienced brewer often refers to the book. As someone that has been brewing for years, I still keep mine handy and know right where it is for when I have a question. This year’s recipes include an IPA (Rushmore American IPA), a Saison (Battre L’oie Saison), and an Oktoberfest Lager (Klang Freudenfest Oktoberfest Lager). Each Big Brew Day event will be brewing at least one of these recipes with experienced homebrewers. One of the great things about the homebrewing community is that experienced brewers are so welcoming to new and perspective brewers. Big Brew Day Events are no different.

In addition to brewing, Big Beer Day features a simultaneous toast. This year’s toast is at 1:00 pm ET, 12:00 pm noon CT, on May 6, 2017. Even if you are not at a Big Brew event, join well over 10,000 other homebrewers and raise a glass of a favorite beer. Cheers to brewing at home!

More information of the AHA Big Brew Day: Big Brew for National Homebrew Day