DIY Booze

February 2nd, 2018

Beer, wine, mead, cider or kombucha from the comfort of home


The existence of restaurants doesn’t discourage the home chef. If anything, new tastes discovered when dining out can provide inspiration for the kitchen. The same can be said for craft beverages – though they’re easy to come by here in Richmond, plenty of people are still eagerly making their own.

If you’d like to try your hand at brewing your own beer or making cider, mead, wine or fermented kombucha tea (distilling without a license is illegal still – pardon the pun), several local businesses are eager to help. They provide supplies and resources, offer classes and answer questions. Follow them on Facebook or give them a call to stay in the know.

For more education, inspiration and fellowship, hang out at one of the local homebrew clubs. Besides monthly meetings, the clubs participate in competitions and travel to special events.

Original Gravity / Final Gravity

Owner Tony Ammendolia has been brewing beer for more than 20 years, operating Original Gravity home brew and wine supply store for seven years and serving customers at Final Gravity Brewing since 2015, so he knows his stuff. Besides helping you get started, he can answer your questions and help you address issues. Take a class and sip a pint as you satiate your mind!

Learn How to Brew Mead, Feb. 7 & April 11: Bill Cavender, mead maverick of Black Heath Meadery, presents the basics and chemistry of fermenting honey to make mead, with tastings of a variety of honeys and meads.

Learn to How Brew with Tony, Feb. 21 & March 7: Tony walks you through everything you need to get started in extract brewing.

Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms, March 10: Learn to grow mushrooms using low-tech, low-cost methods. Get hands-on experience inoculating logs from the experts at Sharondale Farm.

Kombucha, March 12: Ninja Kombucha introduces beginners to brewing kombucha at home and helps current home brewers improve their quality.

6118 Lakeside Ave., Richmond

Artisan’s Wine & Homebrew

The Midlothian supply store offered a winter class for novices, especially for those who received beer equipment and ingredient kits for the holidays. A novice class on wine-making is in the works. Stay tuned on social media, website, e-news, email or phone for updates and more classes.

13829 Village Place Drive, Midlothian

Blue Bee Cider

Besides serving its own cider to eager customers, Richmond’s first cidery offers classes in cider making and related topics. In the coming months, Blue Bee will offer hands-on cider-making workshops. Details TBA.

Facebook @BlueBeeCider

James River Homebrewers

Richmond’s long-standing home-brew club meets the second Wednesday of every month at Mekong Restaurant on West Broad Street. Drink in the education, camaraderie, club projects, shared home brews and mutual support.

Facebook @JamesRiverHomebrewers

Mentoring Advanced Standards of Homebrewing (M.A.S.H.)

Learn from and be mentored by other homebrewers at this south-of-the-James group. Meets on the third Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m., typically at Capital Ale House in Midlothian. In 2017, the group visited Extra Billy’s in Midlothian, Fine Creek Brewing in Powhatan and Three Notch’d and Väsen in Scott’s Addition.

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