Something Is Brewing in the Fair City of Lebanon!
Lebanon is filled with a variety of interesting entrepreneurs! You can fill a whole day with just walking around the downtown area and poking your head into the many stores at which a variety of businesses are run by local, friendly, talented and dedicated people.
One of these sits at 90 Hanover Street. It began in 1996 as a small, family-run neighborhood store called the Lebanon Health Food Store. Over the years changes were made to meet the desires of customers. In 2016, the name was officially changed to represent a new focus…the Lebanon Brew Shop.
If you have ever wanted to try making your own home brew, now is your opportunity to learn all about it. I didn’t even begin to understand at the start of our interview all of the interesting and various aspects there are to making home brews. It is plural because you can brew more than just beer. You can also brew wine, cider, and mead.
Mead, you ask? Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, often with various fruits, spices, grains or hops. Each of the five staff members of the Lebanon Brew Shop has various levels of expertise in brewing and is very willing to share with you.
Store Manager Ashley Spaulding has a firm grasp on the overall goings on of the shop. Ben Mayes is the general manager and is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about most things to do with brewing beer. Jason Landers is “The Wine Guy,” which pretty much covers all things wine. Chris Prost (notice his very appropriate name) is the assistant beer manager.
Scott Russell is beer & brewing educator. He began his brewing experience in the early 1990s in his own kitchen – and found that he loved it! Soon he began writing a column for “Brew Your Own,” the how-to homebrew beer magazine. He became a homebrew judge after taking the Beer Judge Certification Exam, and is now a national beer judge, traveling around the USA where needed. He has also written a book, “North American Clone Brews.”
The shop carries a large selection of books on all aspects of the brewing world. They will soon offer classes in the brewing process, as well as social events for a wider audience. They recently held an event at which they invited home brewers to bring in samples of their own home-brewed beer to have it critiqued.
Want to share your experiences with others of the same interest? Try the Upper Valley Beer Society in Hanover, and ask about the Homebrew Outreach & Preservation Society, of which Scott is a member. Who knew? I remember that my dad once made home brew beer in a bathtub – just the thought of that now makes my stomach churn. But, you don’t have to resort to that these days, and the team quickly filled me in on the more modern ways to do this. It looked quite easy and fun.
There are kits that include all the ingredients and supplies needed to brew a five-gallon batch of beer, cider or wine. And while I was at the store for this interview, two men stopped by and measured their own ingredients from the bulk bins.
Did you know that 98% of beers are brewed from barley? Beer flavor and aroma are largely determined by the variety, quality and growing conditions of the hops it contains. Just in this shop there are more than 500 individual local and imported craft beers.
This store is the only home brewing full supply source within a few hours’ drive of Lebanon. They carry supplies for brewing beer, wine, cider, mead, root beer, and a variety of sodas. Need gluten free? There are kits to make and bottle your own. There are supplies for bottling, and also kegging supplies for bulk brewing. They carry cultures for making yogurt, cheese and kefir. Learn about teas such as kombucha and chaga. Beer soap? Yes, there is such a thing!
The staff welcomes you to stop in and look around. It will open up a whole world of new friends and is a fun and fascinating hobby that everyone in the family can enjoy and be part of. Pick apples in the fall and learn to make cider together!
Visit them on the web at LebanonBrewShop.com. Happy brewing!