Brewin' in the 'Burg

If you’ve caught the home-brewing fever, or are at least starting to recognize some symptoms, here are some tips for diving in and making a splash.

Story by Jennifer Grafiada Photos by Thomas Boyd

Loyd Price has been homebrewing for 20 years and is currently the president of the Umpqua Valley Brewers Guild, an organization with 46 active members, official by-laws and the motto “teach, learn, brew, enjoy.” The UVBG meets monthly at various breweries around the county, and hosts annual events such as the Homebrew Rendezvous, which just happened in May.

Do you want to get in on the hops-scented fun? Check out to find out where the next meeting is. Beginners are always welcome!



Brewing can be a very involved hobby. One of the things I like about it is that a brewer can use simple or complex equipment. I started with one pot and have ended up with a very involved system. I have brewed very good beer using all sorts of set ups.

What goes into making a good home-brewed beer? Lots of help from fellow brewers. What ingredients do we use? Grain, water, hops, yeast and other things to spice it up. Brewers have used some outrageous things to make different beer profiles. You can easily find basic instructions online or in a book, but here are eight tips to get you started:

  1. Start with a sanitary system.

  2. Pay close attention to the chemical content in your water and adjust if necessary. I use a program called Bru’n Water by Marten Brungard.

  3. Test the PH value of your mash after 10 min from the start of your mash and adjust the PH if necessary. I use a program called BeerSmith by Brad Smith.

  4. Cool the wort to below 175 degrees Fahrenheit before adding the whirlpool hops addition.

  5. Add your yeast to the fermenter at the same temperature as the wort in the fermenter. Stay within the temperature range as suggested by the yeast producer.

  6. Pay close attention to temperature control during fermentation and conditioning (should not be either too hot

  7. or too cool). The BeerSmith program is good at letting you know what the temperatures should be.

  8. Let your friends sample your beer and compare notes on how to improve the beer.

  9. Join a brew club! There will be lots of good information available at club meetings.



Equipment and ingredients for homebrewing can be purchased locally at the Harvest Store in Winston. Store owner Steve Johnston is a wealth of homebrew tips and advice, and he has posted several of his recipes online at