Thanks to a bureaucratic oversight during the repeal of Prohibition, homebrewing remained illegal in the U.S. until 1978. Many practiced and taught the hobby—notably Boulder County resident Charlie Papazian—despite the illegalities, but all that changed on Oct. 14, 1978, thanks to President Jimmy Carter’s signature on H.R. 1337. From a federal standpoint, homebrewing was once again legal like the brew gods intended. Two months later, Papazian and friend Charlie Matzen published the first issue of Zymurgy, the journal of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA).

What happened next is the story of the craft beer revolution: Dedicated homebrewers shared their craft with others. Those others got hooked on homebrew, went pro, and created an industry. “Well over 90 percent of the craft breweries in America were started by homebrewers,” Papazian wrote in the introduction to the fourth edition of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing.

Twenty-one years after the AHA’s inception, the association partnered with the Home Wine and Beer Trade Association to celebrate Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day—later rechristened Learn to Homebrew Day. 

Held on the first Saturday in November—to balance the calendar against AHA’s National Homebrew Day held on the first Saturday in May—Learn to Homebrew Day continues the spirit of sharing that has become a hallmark of the community. And not just, you try my beer, and I’ll try yours, but sharing observations, techniques, and tricks over a couple of pints of homebrew. Coming together and sharing is something we’ve consciously stepped away from for health reasons, but it’s high time to think about reconnecting with friends and family over homebrew. Besides, we hear the weather’s going to be gorgeous this Saturday.

More on homebrewing, relaxing, and enjoying in this week’s Boulder Weekly, “You know what you should do? You should homebrew!

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