The East Valley Tribune serves the east suburbs of Phoenix. This is a story of a love for good beer and dedicating one’s life to your love- PGA
Written by Dan Zeiger for The East Valley Tribune (eastvalleytribune.com)“]
Not fond of the taste of most major-brand beers, Mel Corley opted to become a do-it-yourself brewer.
Eight years later, the Chandler resident and his next-door neighbor have mastered the art of making beer, with eight recipes of their own and a brewing calendar that enables them to tap lighter brews in the summer, heavier ones for the holiday season.
â€œWe started with kits, but as you start making your own recipes, youâ€™ll goof sometimes,â€ Corley said. â€œIt will still be drinkable, but you pretty much know where you went wrong. You try to keep that to a minimum.
â€œLuckily for us, the beers usually have come out great the first time.â€
Corley and his neighbor, Rick Kessler, are examples that â€” as the old Miller slogan goes â€” if you have the time, you can have the beer, your way. As store prices for beer continue to climb, some drinkers have turned to home brewing as a cheaper, more flexible â€” and enjoyable â€” alternative.
â€œIf you can boil water, you can make beer,â€ said Joel Robertson, manager of Brew Your Own Brew in Gilbert. â€œPeople will come in here and wonâ€™t buy anything, but the seed is planted in their head. Iâ€™ll see them two weeks later, and theyâ€™ll buy a kit. A lot of people have no idea you can do this at home.â€
The Gilbert location for Brew Your Own Brew just celebrated its first year of operation; owner Gary Wilder has run a store in Tucson since 1996.
Kits range in price from $74.99 to $199.99, home brewers can add equipment as they gain experience.
A brief home-brewing dissertation from Robertson: â€œThe initial process takes about four hours. Thereâ€™s an hour of boiling in there. Youâ€™ll add hops at the beginning and end of the boil. The malt extract is also added at the start of the boil, and that ferments into alcohol.
â€œAfter the boil, you cool to 75 degrees and put the yeast in. The yeast makes the beer. The whole process from start to finish is about month to a month in a half. Some beers are made to be drank quickly, but others will taste better three or four months in.â€
Got all that? If not, classes are offered at the Gilbert location on a regular basis.
Brew Your Own Brew also sells kits to make wine, cheese and soda. The process is not difficult, Robertson said.
â€œEspecially the wine kit,â€ Robertson said. â€œI donâ€™t want to say that itâ€™s foolproof, but I have yet to meet someone who has messed up their own wine.â€
A five-gallon batch of beer typically costs $40, Robertson said, translating to about 83 cents per 12-ounce bottle.
A six-pack of premium beer is about $7.99 at a store â€” $1.33 a bottle.
A bottle of wine that costs $25 in a store can be made at home for about $5, Robertson said.
â€œItâ€™s a lot more economical to do it yourself,â€ he said.
Among Corleyâ€™s recipes are an India pale ale (IPA), red and hefeweizen. In May, he will make a porter that will age until it is drinkable in November.
â€œItâ€™s still a lot of work,â€ Corley said. You have to pay attention to temperatures and how much grain you are using. But itâ€™s fun.â€
Asked which of the home brews is his favorite, Corleyâ€™s reply is simple: