Homebrewed in Hillsborough

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Members of the Nash Street Homebrew Club at Mystery Brewing in Hillsborough.
Members of the Nash Street Homebrew Club at Mystery Brewing in Hillsborough.

Around 9 on a Sunday morning, a group of Triangle residents gathered to celebrate that centuries-old combination of water, malt, yeast and hops.

“We love beer, ya know?” says Lara Murphy, “Who doesn’t?”

After buying a homebrewing kit for her husband, Paul, a few Christmases ago, they both joined the club.

“My husband is an awesome cook,” Lara says. “He makes great food, so we figured it might translate and it kind of didn’t at first… Our first batch was really nasty.”

“Until I taught them how to do it,” says Chris Creech, another member of the club.

The group, which is made of Durham, Hillsborough, Mebane and Chapel Hill residents, spends hours learning from and teaching each other tricks and techniques in an effort to perfect their craft. A few of the members have their own blogs that they have dedicated to the art of homebrewing. The club members test out new batches of beer as they brew them, always happy to give feedback and advice to one another.

“We all learn from each other,” Lara says. “We’re all really nerdy about it and always want to improve.”

They meet the first Tuesday of every month at the Public House at Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough. Erik Lars Myers, the founder and CEO of Mystery, was instrumental in the establishment of the club. Myers started it a few years ago as a way to meet and learn from fellow homebrewers. Since then, the meetings have moved from the brewery to the Public House.

“We all bring beer to share,” Lara says. “We all basically pass around our beer, everyone gets a taste, and we talk about it.”

Last year, club members brewed a batch of Flanders Red – a traditional sour ale from the Flanders region of Belgium. Mystery donated a barrel to the club and allowed the beer to ferment on site for the past year.

After bottling last year’s batch, members reused the same donated barrel, this time for a strong golden. They’ll reconvene next year for another round of bottling and to brew batch No. 3. Cheers to starting a tradition!

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