While many people think of breweries as the heart of the worldwide craft beer boom, there are an estimated 1.1 million home brewers in the United States alone. Some of the most famous breweries and craft beers began as home brewed experiments; even President Obama made his own honey ale in the White House. With brewing kits, meet-ups, and DIY forums online, it has never been easier to indulge your taste buds and create your own favorite beer.
Once you’ve tried your hand at fashioning your own beer, you may find your kitchen isn’t the perfect space for brewing and storing your tasty pints. If you’re ready to take your home brewing to the next level, building your own home brew room is the best way to let your creativity flow. As you plan out your dream brew room, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Where to Set Up Shop
While you plan and budget for your brew room, it’s important to decide which room in your house will work best. At a minimum, you will need a space with a sink, good ventilation, power, and plenty of storage space. For this reason, many people opt for a basement, bathroom, or garage that is already set up with the necessary water and power connections.
If your budget allows for it, you could build a shed dedicated solely to home brewing. But no matter where you choose to set up shop, brewing can be messy. Be sure to put up plastic tarps or a coat of waterproof paint and install a floor drain if possible.
Storage Is Key
Ask any experienced brewer and you’ll realize the majority of your home brewing time is spent planning and cleaning. Brewing without an automated system requires a variety of different tools and supplies, so storage and organization are important parts of making your brew room as functional as possible.
One way to tackle storage issues is to use large plastic bins and create a shelving system that vertically stores all of your grain, hops, buckets, carboys, thermometers, and other gear. Organizing your gear according to when it is needed in the brewing process means you’ll always know where to find your measuring cups, strainers, and airlocks when you need them. If you want to focus your budget on other brewing supplies, you can reuse household items like filing cabinets, workbenches, and tool boxes for storage too.
Popping Bottles and Tapping Kegs
It’s illegal to sell home brews across most of the United States, but you can still get creative and a little indulgent with how you store and serve your beers at home. Home bottling is the most basic way to store your beer, but for a few hundred dollars you can purchase a small “Corny” setup and make small 2.5 to 5 gallon kegs. If you want to impress your friends and fellow brewers, you can step it up a notch and get a full-size kegerator of your own.
Once you have a kegerator, the sky’s the limit in terms of creative add-ons like custom tap handles and delivery systems. But decorations don’t have to be purely functional.
Use Decorations to Make It Yours
Once your space is optimized for brewing, you can make it your own by painting and adding decorations. You’re going to spend a lot of time and effort to build your brew room, so why not make it a comfortable space that shows your true colors?
When deciding on paint colors, think in terms of simple color theories. Monochromatic colors are one hue, but different saturations. Analogous colors are a combo of three similar colors. Lastly, complementary colors are colors that contrast each other. For example, warm and cool colors. You’ll want to choose your color theme that will get your creativity flowing when creating a new brew.
After sprucing up the wall colors, look to your favorite local bar or brewery for inspiration: neon or tin beer signs, personalized growlers and floating pint glass racks can take your brew room from clinical to cozy. Add a bar, television, and air conditioning, and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor in style.
From ancient Mesopotamia to sheds, garages, and basements across America, home brewing has a long and storied place in drinking culture. Once you’re hooked on creating your own beers, you can dive deeper into the mystique and add some charm and function to your brewing process with a personalized brew room.
With the right mix of planning and creativity, your brew room could become your favorite spot in the house to work and play.