The West

Jeremy Sambrooks. Picture: Kat Sambrooks

At 28, Jeremy Sambrooks isn't the youngest home-brewer around. He points to new members of the West Coast Brewers (a home-brew club for novice and experienced brewers alike), of which he is a member, in their early 20s.

Many come to home-brew as a source of cheap beer, with the average cost per serve of quality home-brew coming in at about 40 cents as opposed to $1.50 if buying a carton of even the cheapest-quality commercial beer.

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Sambrooks says however that the fixation on price soon gives way, as it did with him, to a greater passion for beer and a progression from kit brewing to all grain.

The home-brewing familiar to many is from a kit, where syrups and pellets are used, as opposed to all grain which uses malted grain and no extracts. Many start with a kit for convenience or simply because their hobby is new - the move to grain comes as their confidence grows.

The all-grain approach is one advocated by Scott Bennett who quite literally lives and breathes the world of beer.

By day, he is the WA representative for Melbourne- based craft brewer Mountain Goat. By night and on weekends, he brews up his take on favourite beer styles.

The 35-year-old American has lived in Germany, arriving in Australia six years ago - a recipe for a fervent beer fan if ever there was one.

Bennett's passion for beer both commercial and home-brewed is immediately apparent and infectious and it makes me want to dust off the home-brew books I've been storing for when I've got time and space.

Bennett came to home brew five years ago out of frustration as much as a love of beer.

"The availability of my favourite beers was limited in Perth," he says.

"This led me to home-brewing and eventually recreating beers from the recipes of American craft legends such as Rogue Ales, as well as having a stab at the Steam Ale from my own employer, Mountain Goat."

Home-brew as with many things in life can come full circle and this much is true of Ben Morris. His introduction to home-brewing was the sounds of "Dad cursing in the laundry as a batch went wrong".

It was enough to put him off taking up this unpredictable pastime - until his dad handed over the brew kit in 2001. Since then Morris hasn't looked back.

As a student, the lure of cheap beer was strong but now as a dad himself, home-brew allows Morris access to quality beer, brewed by his own hand and at a fraction of the price of the craft brews he has grown to love. "I'll splurge now and again on an expensive commercial beer but mostly I'm happy to hone my process at home," he says.

And who knows, he may even inspire a new generation of Morris home-brewers.

The West Australian

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