Video Crush: In Praise of the Home Brewer

Check out this mini documentary exploring the passion and creativity of the American home brewing community, featuring some familiar Portland beer lovers.

By Tuck Woodstock August 6, 2013

In Portland, there’s local beer, and then there’s really local beer. In basements, garages, and kitchens around the city, our staggering number of local breweries are joined by an equally huge number of home brewers.

Oregon’s home brew culture has thrived since Jimmy Carter legalized the hobby in 1979, and many of our most successful brewers—including Hopworks’ brewmaster Christian Ettinger and local "celebrewties" Kurt and Rob Widmer—whipped up their first batch of suds in their own abodes. These days, many house parties and backyard barbecues come complete with a bottle of the host’s homemade ale.

In her short documentary, Home Brew, local filmmaker Honi Lunsford explores the passion behind the popular pastime. With the support of Mt Hood Community College and NW Documentary, Lunsford provides a fascinating peek into the lives and livelihoods of four local brewers. The film features Sean Burke, head brewer of the Commons Brewery, and Jason Webb, co-owner of Portland U-Brew and Pub. Both men began by brewing at home, and the film explains how they turned beer from a delicious hobby into their dream jobs. 

With a mere nine-minute running time, there’s no excuse to skip this beautifully shot exploration of Portland’s sudsiest art form. After all, as one amateur home brewer says in the film, “It really is kinda like an artist creating a work of art, you know? Ours is just much faster and it's edible." Cheers to that.

Head over to Vimeo to watch the clip in full!

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