No longer just an obscure hobby that only a few people participate in, Homebrewing is becoming more and more popular every year! In fact, at least 1.2 million people in the United States are involved with homebrewing – and certainly there are more throughout the rest of the globe.
Now it’s time to raise a glass and show some appreciation for National Homebrew Day!
History of National Homebrew Day
The history of brewing beer dates back thousands of years, possibly to places in Asia. And, of course, it was probably originally brewed at home! It is only in recent history in the United States that homebrewing has made a resurgence, starting with its legality in 1979 and continuing on through today.
Not only is homebrewing handcrafted beer a cool hobby, if done well, it can even be a financially viable alternative to buying beer at liquor stores or from local breweries. Smaller batches and fewer resources mean that homebrewing methods are preferred by some simply because they are sustainable.
National Homebrew Day was initiated by the American Homebrewers Association and was first celebrated on May 7, 1988 when Congress made a declaration regarding the day. It has been celebrated each year ever since. This annual nod to homebrewing has grown in scope over the years as the process of homebrewing has become more accessible and interesting as a hobby throughout the United States and in other parts of the world.
Now, National Homebrew Day is observed on the first Saturday in May. Each year, the American Homebrewers Association hosts the Big Brew event, which is now celebrated in all 50 of the United States as well as at least 30 countries around the world. Get on board with learning about, honoring and enjoying National Homebrew Day in a variety of ways!
National Homebrew Day Timeline
Beer is invented
First barley beer is brewed in Ancient Mesopotamia. 
5th Century AD
Monks begin brewing beer
Monasteries throughout Europe follow principles of self-sufficiency which includes making their own beer. 
The 18th Amendment makes illegal the manufacture or selling of alcohol in America. 
Home brewing becomes legal again
Under the leadership of President Jimmy Carter, homebrewing becomes legal across the United States. 
National Homebrew Day announced
On May 7, 1988, National Homebrew Day is announced before US Congress. 
How to Celebrate National Homebrew Day
Whether a homebrewing novice or an expert who has been brewing for years, National Homebrew Day offers a reason for any beer lover to celebrate! Have tons of fun getting involved with the day by participating in some of these activities:
Try a Hand at Homebrewing
The great thing about becoming a homebrewer is that many companies have created all-inclusive kits so that it’s easy to get started. In addition to the kit, the list of items needed will probably include things like a fermentation bucket, a bottle stick, long stirrer, airlock, caps and a few other bits and pieces. Either use the instructions that come with the kit or purchase a recipe book.
The total time for the entire process of homebrewing will take about five weeks, so be sure to leave plenty of time for the whole system to take place. Many homebrewers like to have a cycle of beer in different stages so that they can keep the process moving along and never run out of a favorite home-crafted beer!
Learn Fun Facts About Homebrewing
National Homebrew Day is a perfect time to learn more about the interesting tidbits of information surrounding brewing beer at home. Get started with some of these fun facts:
Homebrewing was legalized in many states in the 1970s and 1980s, but it wasn’t until 2013 when Mississippi and Alabama came around that it was legal in all fifty of the US states.
When beer is exposed to light, it begins to have a bitter or “skunky” flavor. That’s the reason beer is now kept almost exclusively in brown glass bottles.
American presidents dating back as far as Thomas Jefferson have been brewing beer. In fact, Martha Jefferson regularly oversaw the homebrewing of beer at Monticello. But the first president to actually homebrew beer on the location of the White House was Barack Obama in 2011 – with honey sourced from the South Lawn.
Brewing beer and making bread have common processes due to the fact that they both use yeast – which is technically a fungus. And, in homebrew beer, the yeast is actually reusable because it is a living organism. Just wash it and use it again several times!
Join a Homebrew Group or Association
As the craft of homebrew continues to grow, various groups of people interested in homebrewing have started popping up in cities and towns. For National Homebrew Day, show some solidarity with other homebrewers by joining in on a local association or society.
The American Homebrewers Association, which was founded in 1978 as soon as homebrewing became legal in the US, seems to be the most well-known of these organizations. Check out their website to get connected with different chapters the might meet in the local area. Folks can become a member for a monthly or annual fee, which unlocks various perks and benefits, such as medal winning recipes, members deals & savings, advocacy and much more.
Read a Book About Homebrewing Beer
Those who want to take a deeper dive into the craft and culture of homebrewing beer might find it is a good idea to read a book on the topic of homebrewing in honor of National Homebrew Day.
Try out one of these titles for yourself or gift one to a friend who is interested in homebrewing:
- The Complete Joy of Homebrewing by Charlie Papazian (1984). This important book set the tone for craft beer makers not long after homebrewing became legal in the United States.
- How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time by John Palmer (2017). Considered to be a bit of a brewer’s Bible, this one is a definitive guide for newbies and seasoned brewers alike.
- CAMRA’S Homebrewing Problem Solver by Erik Lars Myers (2017). Use this handy guide to figure out how to course correct when the brewing process doesn’t seem to yield the exact desired results.
- Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew by Jamil Zainasheff & John Palmer (2007). This book, co-authored by experts in the field, offers a wide range of recipes that span across all of the different categories of beer homebrewing.
National Homebrew Day FAQs
When did homebrewing become legal?
In the United States, homebrewing was federally legalized in 1979, almost 60 years after it became illegal during Prohibition. 
Is homebrew safe?
Homebrewing is basically just as safe as cooking in a kitchen at home. 
How much does homebrewing cost?
When compared to a craft style beer, the annual cost of homebrewing can be cheaper over a long time. 
How to start homebrewing?
Getting started homebrewing is easiest when buying a homebrew kit. 
Can homebrewers sell beer?
While homebrewing is legal in all 50 US states, it’s not usually legal for homebrewers to serve their beer outside of their homes.