The American Homebrewers Association dreamed up Big Brew, held on the first Saturday of May to commemorate the 1988 Congressional passage of National Homebrew Day. It's a time for celebrating the ultimate in small-batch brewing, as well as for the estimated 750,000 home brewers in the U.S. to show off their creations and introduce people to the art of the brew.
Locally, Dave's Homebrewing Supply (122 East Main Street, Belleville, Illinois) plans to celebrate Big Brew by publicly brewing in its quaint downtown shop from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m. Be there at noon to participate in the collective toast to homebrewers.
"We are doing a wheat beer, one of the themes of the Big Brew," says Allison Babcock, the shop's co-owner. The association offers several recipes through the website for this year's brewing, including American Craft Beer Wheat, Scottish Export 80 Shilling and Rocktoberfest.
The event's not just for seasoned brewers. All skill levels, or even people who haven't brewed, are welcome. "We will answer brewing questions and help people get started," says Babcock. "Our advice? Have your favorite beer while brewing. Don't sweat the small stuff and have a good time.
"It is a good time for new brewers and brewers of all levels."
The shop will also offer sales in their extensive selection of brewing supplies.
Dave's Homebrewing Supply 122 East Main Street (in Allison's Common Scents) Belleville, Illinois 618- 277-2550 www.daveshomebrewgourmet.com