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Old 12-18-2012, 08:47 PM   #1
matteroftaste
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let me explain,
I am a homebrewer living in London UK, i have been homebrewing succesfullly or not for 2 years, and an overwheling majority of the information on brewing science and technique that i have devoured comes from the US.
Now please dont get me wrong, i'm very greatful for the internet, you guys here, publications imported and the millions of podcasts, videos and blogs on the subject strewn all over the internet is awesome!

i'm just saddened not the have the network here, no one I know brews, its seen as a fringe interest, and the few people I do find who homebrew turn out to be kit brewers with no interest in the hobby beyond cheap 'acceptable' beer.

I guess my point is that here in the UK we have a wonderful and vibrant history of beer brewing, commercially and domestically. Not longer than a century ago, houses built with breweries in the basement. I find it sad that a culture that is socially and culturally British no longer thrives here, but i am gladdened that it is kept alive by passionate people like yourselves in the states.

just a thought i had


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Old 12-18-2012, 08:57 PM   #2
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Sucks to be you!!! Haha, just kidding.

FWIW, I actually work for a Derbyshire brewery that has a brewery on the grounds of a country estate in some old masonry / carpenters workshops (also has a proper production facility elsewhere), so it's not all dead.

Jim's beer kit forums tend to be more UK-centric if you feel home sick.



 
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:21 PM   #3
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Dude, you're just not looking around you hard enough.....Do you connect with folks on the UK Homebrew Forum? Or Jim's Beer Kit? Or the forum at Brew UK?

Have you looked to see if any of these homebrew clubs are close enough to you?

Or have you considered joining the Craft Brewing Association? Or Country Beermakers?

Even brewing here in the states, I connected with these sites and forums numerous times looking for info on English Homebrewing, usually to answer specific questions of the handful of English members on here- most of whom, when they find out about the UK forums end up staying there.

Have you even posted on any of those forums/organizations hoping to connect with other brewers there?

You actually have quite a vibrant and active homebrewing scene. I watch a lot of bbc cooking shows online, and I've seen homebrewers and homebrewing featured on Gordon Ramsey's "The F Word," on one of Heston Blumenthal's Cooking shows as well as the OZ and James Drinks to England series. They even did stuff about brewing on the show "Wartime Farm," and if I recall, they've covered it in many of those historical series....if not brewing cider making.

I just think you're missing what's in front of you. I mean if a guy in Detroit is familiar with those places.......
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:28 PM   #4
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OP, I feel for you, but I agree with Revvy - I think that there is interest there if you will look a little harder.

Not trying to one-up you, but I live in Alabama - one of two US states where homebrewing is still illegal. Yeah, I can definitely identify with feeling isolated.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:41 PM   #5
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And there's a few threads of folks brewing in the UK in the International section of the forum. I would look at the London threads there or start one of your own. I mean you're in LONDON for christsakes, I bet once you start digging you'll find more active brewers than you can shake a stick at.

I just stumbled up this guy in a thread, mentioning homebrewing on "The Wartime Farm" on the BBC.
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:50 AM   #6
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I used to brew in the UK 30 years ago, and I had a lot of friends who did the same.

There were a few scarce home brew shops at that time, but most of the brewing supplies came from Boots. Whenever I am back there now, I can't find anything in the stores. Boots doesn't carry anything. I found a few items in some other shop when I was there a few months ago, but not much. I have several 7 gallon fermenters I bought from Boots that I still use today; not found anything better.

I'm not sure, but I feel, homebrewing has been getting less popular with time in the UK rather than growing like it is over here.

I've not checked any of the UK forums, and I only see a small area when I go over there now, so my impression may be completely wrong.

You have lots of great beers in the stores though, and it seems every time I go back there are many new beers and breweries. Last time I sampled a number of Badger beers; don't remember seeing them before.

 
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:21 AM   #7
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I think it's a much better picture than you guys are painting. It may depend on where you are but here in Cheshire there must be 4 or 5 LHBS in the distance between Liverpool and Manchester. Wilkinsons (a kind of hardware/general stores chain of shops) has replaced Boots in the high street as the place to get affordable equipment and a range of extract kits for beer and wine.

Most larger Tesco superstores throughout the country sell a small range of gear and extract kits ( including the coopers starter kits with equipment all boxed up.)

The UK forums are fairly evenly split between extract and AG techniques ( I do both depending on available time) and so do most of the home brewers I know.

Personally my experience makes me feel it's just the opposite of the picture you paint. It definitely lost popularity during the 80's and 90's but is on the rise again.
It's no different to any homemaking craft. when i was growing up in the 70's and early 80's people made stuff, bread, cheese, wine and beer (and my grandparents cured bacon and grew their own veg). Few people do that now, but based on the increase in online retailers supplying equipment to make cheese or sausages and the explosion of blogs about baking, i'd say all of these crafts are enjoying a resurgence. Home brewing is no exception.

The show James May and Oz Clarke did a few years ago where they brewed in a caravan whilst touring to find the "Drink of Britain" created a fair bit of interest both in homebrewing and decent beer in general. It's well worth a watch and the whole series is on YouTube.

One thing I would say is that as we aren't prone to deep frying turkeys on this side of the Atlantic, sourcing high output burners and large volume pots is much, much harder. Even going to American owned stores like Costco doesn't turn up the goods.
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:40 AM   #8
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Hey mate don't doubt, I'm a London home brewer so yes we do exist! I think that within a city like London, it's easy to feel that way about any particular hobby but it really depends where you look and who you meet. There's a lot going on in the place and people don't tend to give a crap, because they're accustomed to be slightly jaded. One fringe interest is always going to get lost in this swirling mess of a city..It's part of the atmosphere of the place and actually a good thing in some ways. Keeps things balanced in some way. I'd certainly be up for getting together with other folks in London if there was an interest in that though.

But yea check out jims beer kit. Check put the places ppl suggested above..hell check out camra even. Check out places like the kernal on Saturdays if you are after more of a 'beer scene'. It is kinda sad that there is no decent home brew supplier within inner London though.

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Old 12-19-2012, 11:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padalac
Hey mate don't doubt, I'm a London home brewer so yes we do exist! I think that within a city like London ..... There's a lot going on in the place and people don't tend to give a crap, because they're accustomed to be slightly jaded.
Lol And there was me trying to stay away from the "all you Londoners are grumpy introverts" line on this one!
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:22 PM   #10
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I watched that series with May & Clarke. It was interesting & funny watching them trying to one up each other's home brew. And all the different ales & such along the way was refreshing. But it's not much different around here for me. I'm 56,& most of the HB crowd anywhere near here to Cleveland is about half my age. So it's not cool to hang with the old guy. And to think I used to be kinda cool...my wife & I were part of the counter-culture before they were even thought of.
Now I wish my next batch of ale were ready...I need a few.


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