I recently spoke to a friend Brian over at Gluten Free Brewing this past weekend because I wanted to finally get started in brewing my own craft beer here at the homestead. I can go on and on about how alcoholic beverages are a prime bartering item during a SHTF scenario, but the truth is I just want some great beer for the summer. We talked for a while about the whole process and the more he spoke the more I became intrigued with the whole process. Before we hung up, I asked him if he could give us some info on brewing beer at home. Brian was gracious enough to give us some expert advise on the whole process whether you want gluten free or not, here is what he sent me….
Home brewed beer embodies the homesteading spirit of self-sufficiency
We are all familiar of how tomato sauce smells when being cooked down for canning, or your favorite batch of jam or jelly. How that wonderful aroma permeates your home and gives you a sense of pride in making your own food. But do you know what making your own beer smells like? Youâ€™ve got to try it!
My wife and I have carved out a small urban homestead on our 0.11 acre property in Southern Oregon. Most of our property is taken up by our relatively small 998 square foot two bedroom single car garage that I joking refer to as the butlerâ€™s quarters as you pull into our quite neighborhood. Every inch of our yard is home to ten raised beds, five fruit trees, a berry patch, blueberry bushes, hops and grape vines, and of course our five compost bins all at different stages of providing life to our gardens. Nearly everything in our house is strategically placed to ensure we can accommodate all of our preserved foods, the wine we make, and of course our beer.
Brewing our own beer is import to us because we are also gluten free. One of lifeâ€™s great ironies is my wife and I have completely different medical reasons that require us to both be gluten free. Technically my wife is only wheat free, but gluten free makes life easier on both of us. But even if we did not have a dietary need to brew our own beer, it has been a natural extension of living a self-sufficient lifestyle.
Brewing beer requires using an extract or steeping grains (called a mash) to make a wort. Then the wort is boiled with ingredients including hops releasing their aromas. Once the wort has been cooled, it is combined with yeast to make beer. Just like preserving food, there is beginner, intermediate and advanced methods. Gluten free beer requires using different types of grains and some subtle adjustments to the brewing process. Many people that brew their own beer also grow their own hops, which is a great addition to any homestead. Hops grow vigorously, up to a foot in a day, and can get up to thirty feet tall. Most people will trellis hops, which provides natural shade to your house, yard or garden.
Whether you are gluten free or not, brewing your own beer embodies the homesteading spirt of self-sufficiency. Just think about the pride you take in your prized tomatoes, and all the jam and jelly you give away to friends and family after each harvest. Seldom will a homesteader pass up the opportunity to do something themselves. And just like your prized tomatoes, your beer will be better than most beers you could buy from the store. Best of all, you get to craft the beer that satisfies your taste buds. The local grocery store and bottle shop will no longer dictate your choice in what type of beer you consume.
We started Gluten Free Home Brewing in 2010 as a Facebook page in an effort to centralize resources and knowledge about brewing gluten free beer. Soon after that, a database of recipes was added and quickly became too much for a Facebook page. In addition, visitors of the Facebook page frequently had similar questions. It was apparent that a website was needed to manage the recipe database, tutorials, and other brewing resources. GlutenFreeHomeBrewing.org became the much needed guide for many home brewers around the world. It took over 18 months before we opened the Gluten Free Home Brewing store which now provides the most extensive inventory of gluten free home brewing supplies.
Most commercially available gluten free beers use sorghum extract as their primary ingredient. While sorghum is the main ingredient that a beginner brewer may use, more advanced brewers may choose from our eighteen varieties of malted grains including millet, buckwheat, rice and corn. Our recipe kits include step by step instructions and are available to beginner and advanced brewers.
Whether you plan to brew your own beer or not, maybe next time you barter with fellow homesteaders you will consider trading some apple butter for a home-brew.
Alissa & Brian
Gluten Free Home Brewing
302 E Hersey St, Ste 7
Ashland OR 97520