From the Computer Vault Dept.: I just found another piece I wrote for the magazine Yahoo! Internet Life (they lurk in old hard drives), probably in late 1997. As with other contemporaneous website roundups, most of the recommended sites are gone. I offer this for its nostalgic value, and its slight thirst-inducing quality.
SOMETHING’S BREWING ON THE WEB. Amidst the clamor of many beer-related sites, ranging from commercial giants to elite microbreweries, the homebrew movement is developing a Web presence to gather and distribute recipes, labels, and lots of other information. Beer bubbles in the homes of over a million and a half ambitious souls who find a special pleasure in creating this important foodstuff. The experienced brewmaster will find a good range of support info; if you’re just getting started, check out these sites for the equipment and the right ale recipe for that first batch. Salud!
breWorld Home Page * * * *
The opening page boasts that you’ll find “everything related to the world of beer and brewing,” and as near as I can figure, they’re not kidding. It’s a brewer intensive site with well-designed pages, including a helpful tour that introduces all of its facets -- “suitable for off-line viewing.” A general index of info can be full-text searched, and we’re talking about a fantastic amount of data stored at the site. The “Can You Help” page puts brewers in touch with one another, and you’ll even find a page of job listings. BreWorld will even help you establish your own Web presence. Whatever your brewing experience, you’ll find this a fascinating site.
[Update: BreWorld merged with another site, Real Beer, in 2000, but the site has since gone away. What remains is a search result that seems tied to a travel site, but, as of now, breworld.com drops you at a blank page.]
The Brewery * * * ½
A no-nonsense site, pleasantly designed but without a lot of graphical gimmickry. Resources include a library of articles delving into brewing’s technical aspects, and a well-ordered list of pointers to software around the Web that helps you formulate and record what you’re brewing. Learn how to keep a tasting notebook, find a homebrewing club in your area, and read back issues of the Homebrew Digest, which collects the advice of brewers all over the world. Also look here for clip art for your labels.
[Update: Another vanished site, although the Homebrew Digest continues at hbd.org.]
Spencer’s Beer Page * * * ½
A subset of the Real Beer Page (see below), this is a great getting-started site. John Palmer’s essay “How to Brew Your First Beer” is a must, as are the reports on various brewing experiments collected by sitemaster Spencer W. Thomas. A listing of recipe files and a categorized display of beer links also make this site extremely worthwhile, although it’s not aggressively updated.
[Although the Real Beer Page persists (but see below), Spencer’s contributions are gone, and I’ve not been able to find his writing elsewhere on the web.]
Adventures in Brewland * * *
Complete with Tenniel’s “Alice in Wonderland” illustrations, this is the home of the MadBrewers – homebrew enthusiasts who share their guides to tasting and brewing, with lots and lots of recipes (try Newcastle Brown-inspired “Dr. Bob’s Holy Ale” for a bitter kick). Good-looking pages, lots of links, but no searchable archives.
[Gone. There are other so-called Mad Brewers out there, but this group seems to have packed up and not gone elsewhere.]
Glenn Tinseth’s Hop Page * * 1/2
The logical starting place. Long on content, short on cute design, you’ll learn all you need to know about the lupulin – how and where to grow it, and how others are making out in their gardens. The site includes lots of links and the handy online bitterness calculator.
[Update: At some point, Glenn’s page moved from its original teleport.com address to the Real Beer site.]
Beer Info Source * * 1/2
Mostly text here, but there’s lots of it and it’s in a searchable database. This is where to go when you’ve got a batch in progress and need that quick bit of advice. Good list of Web resources here.
[Another 404 – Page Not Found. The parent site, beerinfo.com, exists, but its archives go back only to 2017, so it’s not the site I looked at twenty-three years ago.]
American Homebrewers Association * * 1/2
The site for this Colorado-based organization looks dry and governmental, but it’s a 25,000-member group doing its networking on and off the net. The ABH’s magazine, Zymurgy, is previewed here with no text. Join to group to help get homebrewing legalized in your state (if yours is one of the 12 where it’s illegal).
[The association is still around, still publishing its magazine, “Zymurgy,” and at a much more colorful site than it had in 1997. And its efforts have paid off: since 2013, homebrewing has been legal in all 50 U.S. states.]
Brew Your Own: The How-To Homebrew Beer Magazine * * 1/2
The magazine’s online presence, featuring an article from the current issue, an advice column, and some articles from back issues. Some beginner’s tips here, but it’s really for the brewer who’s already started. Nice-looking, with a handsome label gallery.
[Still here, and very colorful and informative.]
The Real Beer Page * * 1/2
A slick-looking site geared toward microbreweries, but it includes, Brewing Techniques magazine, which is a great resource for its articles and coverage of events. Explore the less-attractive after-effect of beer-drinking at the Burp Me! page.
[Real Beer has a website whose archives go back only to 2005, so there’s been an overhaul. But it remains packed with news and information. Sad to say, the Burp Me! page has vanished.]
The Brew on Premises Beer Pages * *
Anxious to brew your own but lacking equipment? Here you’ll find a guide to facilities that will let you rent space. Pages are busy and the type is too small, but it might be the best place of all for getting started.
[This now-defunct site was hosted at tcel.com, which now has a landing page offering the domain name for about $12,000. I’ll wait for the price to drop, thank you.]
-- B. A. Nilsson lives on a former hops farm in rural New York, where he’s trying to progress from pale ale to pilsner.
– Yahoo! Internet Life, around October 1997