Valley Bounty: Homebrewing Beer
I’d wager that virtually everyone reading this knows at least one person who’s into homebrewing beer. I have a hunch that the growth of the craft beer market in the last few decades and the increase in beer “literacy” it brought with it is at least partly responsible for the relative vastness of the current homebrewing landscape. Whatever the case may be, the popularity of small-scale homebrewing has propagated not only a plethora of specialty equipment stores but also a burgeoning local brewing supply scene.
There are plenty of great step-by-step homebrewing guides online, so I won’t try to cram one in here, but basic beer has four ingredients: a malted grain (like wheat or barley), hops, yeast, and water. If you’re aiming to brew local and want to try something different, Cook Farm in Hadley grows rye that is available malted through Valley Malt (rye beer tastes a little like pumpernickel). Four Star Farms in Northfield is one of the largest local hops producers, and their hops are featured in a number of local beers and ciders. You can also get creative by flavoring your concoction with local fruits, herbs, maple syrup, or whatever other local flavor you’d like to try!
Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)