Home brewers rejoice in Alabama - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Home brewers rejoice in Alabama

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Spencer Overton enjoying one of his home-brewed beers Friday. (abc3340.com) Spencer Overton enjoying one of his home-brewed beers Friday. (abc3340.com)
BIRMINGHAM - AL -

If Christmas is Spencer Overton's favorite day, then May 9th takes a close second.

He is a home brewer. Some call it a hobby. He calls it a passion.

"It's just a passion," he said. "Like someone would enjoy cooking at their own house, I enjoy making my own beer."

But now, everyone is calling it "legal." Governor Robert Bentley signed the Home Brew Bill into law, Thursday, allowing home brewers to make up to 15 gallons of beer every three months.

"It was frustrating for a while," Overton said. "I didn't really think that the legislators really understood what it is to be a home brewer."

Chris Reid knows that frustration. His store, Hop City Craft Beer and Wine specializes in selling home brew. Last year, before it even opened, his operation was shut down. He says ABC was concerned about them selling it, even though he says they weren't. They still aren't. But Reid believes home brewing is a good thing.

"The best analogy would be the similarity between buying Wonder Bread, which is delicious and somewhat neutral flavored, to other breads that have a little more to say," he said.

Overton says brewing isn't easy.

It goes through multiple steps and several weeks before it's ready.

"You can experiment and be the mad scientist," Overton said.

And he says more mad scientists will be popping up all over Alabama.

Reid calls it the next big industry.

"It may not be the traditional sense," Reid said. "It may not be steel, but it certainly has the same sort of passion, same sort of intensity that it takes to make that product...it takes to make a great beer."

After years of fuming, pouring hope down the drain and thinking it would never happen...Overton is now one of many...glad it has.

"Cheers to home brewing passing," Overton said.

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