On The Town

​National Home Brewers Conference Coming to Baltimore in June

Event features three days of DIY beer seminars, samples, and competition.

By Jess Mayhugh | May 24, 2016, 8:30 am

-Courtesy of the American Homebrewers Association
On The Town

​National Home Brewers Conference Coming to Baltimore in June

Event features three days of DIY beer seminars, samples, and competition.

By Jess Mayhugh | May 24, 2016, 8:30 am

-Courtesy of the American Homebrewers Association

When you think about American beer towns, a few come to mind: Denver, Milwaukee, and even little Asheville are known for their multitude of craft breweries and passionate lager lovers.

But, for the third time in its nearly 40-year history, HomeBrewCon, the national conference of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), has chosen Baltimore as its host city.

"Baltimore is a great beer town," says AHA director Gary Glass. "Not only have we really been embraced by the craft breweries there, but there's also a passionate community of home brewers."

The conference, which takes place June 9-11 at the Baltimore Convention Center, is expected to attract 3,000 attendees from around the country (and Canada) to enjoy 64 educational beer seminars, an expo with two-ounce samples from 84 home-brew clubs, and an awards ceremony where the winners of the National Homebrew Competition will be announced.

The weekend kicks off on Thursday, June 9, with a keynote speech by Sam Calagione, founder of Delaware-based craft brewery DogFish Head, known for its innovation and experimentation. That night, the craft beer kick-off party will feature product from 50 local craft breweries and home brewers alike, an aspect unique to our home state.

"Back in the ‘90s, Heavy Seas founder Hugh Sisson helped passed a bill that allows us to have both donated home brew and donated commercial craft beer at our event," Glass says. "No other state in the country has that on the books."

The next three days will be filled with ultra-niche, home-brew seminars with topics like "Welcome to the Dark Side: The Evolution of Porter" and "Taking the Bitter out of an IPA." There will also be classes on throwing a beer event for charity and turning your home-brew club pro. On Friday morning, beer historian and former Sun columnist Rob Kasper will give an hour-long talk on the history of brewing in Baltimore.

"We've always had the competition aspect, but the education events have really taken off as well," Glass says. "But it's really meant to be a fun event. It's beer at the end of the day. Actually, it's beer all day,” he adds with a laugh.

Besides events at the convention, local breweries and bars will be getting in on the HomeBrewCon fun, including a tour and tasting at Heavy Seas Brewery, pints and pancakes with Flying Dog Brewery at Mahaffey's Pub, and a sour ale fest at Alewife.

The conference culminates on Saturday night when AHA organizers announce the winners of the National Homebrewers Competition, which was narrowed down from more than 7,000 entries in 28 style categories.

Glass points out that, while some of the most popular craft beers today (Fat Tire from New Belgium, Boston Lager from Sam Adams) evolved from home-brew recipes, it’s an incredibly accessible and approachable hobby to pick up.

“The biggest misconception is that it’s hard to do,” says Glass, who has been home-brewing for 20 years and is currently trying to perfect his saison. “It’s essentially like making condensed soup on your stove top. The reward takes a little longer since it needs to ferment. But it really can be that simple.”




Meet The Author

Jess Mayhugh is the digital editor for Baltimore, where she covers nightlife, sports, food, and events.



You May Also Like


In Good Taste

Mother’s Day Meals and Sweets Available for Carryout This Weekend

Chefs get creative with takeout dishes to brighten the day for mom.

Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: The Dos and Don'ts of Ordering Takeout

Handy tips to make the most of your carryout experience.

In Good Taste

Without Reservation: Ashish Alfred of Duck Duck Goose

We check in with area restaurants in these troubling times.


Food & Drink

Burger Kings

With four locations—and still counting—locals are flipping for the patties at Abbey Burger Bistro.

In Good Taste

Without Reservation: Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf

We check in with area restaurants in these troubling times.

The Chatter

A Local Hand Sanitizer Factory is Born Out of an Unlikely Collaboration

Local businesses Mount Royal Soap, Charm City Meadworks, and Waverly Color unite to fight coronavirus.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Grocery Workers Manage to Keep Morale High and Give Back Despite Long Hours: Managers and employees are working in overdrive to keep communities fed.

Teachers Continue to Fight for Education Equality While Instructing Virtually: Despite a lack of resources, students and teachers work to find feasible solutions.

Maryland Hoops, and Everyone Else, Stomachs A Sudden End to Their Seasons: Plus, an update on Trey Mancini’s health and Joe Flacco shows for Marshal Yanda’s retirement party

How to Support Small Businesses Amid Pandemic Panic: As foot traffic slows due to coronavirus, owners worry about lasting impacts.

Frustrated by Trump, Hogan Lands 500,000 COVID-19 Tests from South Korea: First Lady Yumi Hogan helped negotiations with South Korean suppliers.