The NCAA Tournament begins Thursday and no doubt many people will be watching with a glass of their favorite brew in hand. More and more beer drinkers will be enjoying their own brew, because the popularity of doing it yourself is on the rise.
We look into this more in our special assignment that's called "What's Brewing."
"i don't have a drinking problem, i have a brewing problem."
Travis Skroch heads up the Bull Falls Homebrewing Club out of Wausau.
he says the popularity of homebrew is soaring. "It's really taking off, in particular in central Wisconsin, it's really starting to go."
The reason for the popularity is that people are looking for new flavors and new styles that you can find in craft beer. Travis says the craft beer industry in general is booming and that, in turn fuels the surge in homebrewing. "I don't think it's any different than going to a nice restaurant and trying a great pasta dish and say to yourself i wonder if i can make this at home?"
Getting started at home is not that difficult and you will need a few pieces of equipment, which you can pick up in a starter kit at any homebrew store for about 60 dollars. You will also need a recipe, which you can find online or in any number of homebrew books. For the beginner, you can get started right on your stove top.
Travis states that "if you can boil water, you can make beer, it can be that simple, if you wanna make some really good beer it does take time, I've been at this twelve years and I'm still learning."
You need only a few ingredients to get the brew started: water, malt, yeast and hops.
Travis says the process takes several hours and sanitation is key- "the critical thing about making beer is cleanliness, everything has to be sanitary, otherwise we'll get infected beer."
Susen Trail is a member of the bull falls homebrew club, a club that has doubled in size in the past four years. She is brewing with Travis for the first time and says she enjoys the challenges of making beer. "It encompasses everything, there's physical activity, there's thinking, there's planning and then of course enjoying the fruits of your labor."
Homebrewers will tell you that adding ingredients at the right time is crucial throughout the process and because brewing beer relies on a chemical reaction of the ingredients there is science involved.
Once the beer has been made, it has to sit for three to four weeks fermenting before you can drink it.
If you're interested in homebrewing you can find a link to the bull falls homebrewing club on our WebChannel at wsaw.com.