Just blame it on Costco. Five years ago, Bill Brooks’ wife, Mary, bought a home brewing kit at the big box retailer and the couple’s life and their Kailua home haven’t been the same since.
“For the first year and a half, I brewed in my kitchen with pretty good success,” says Brooks, an architect with Ferraro Choi and Associates. “But over time the plastic equipment started to give the beer a funny taste.”
Mary intervened again, introducing Bill to Jud Robison, the husband of a co-worker and an experienced brew master. The two men got to talking and over the course of a year, Robison convinced Bill to take his hobby to the next level, moving from extract brewing to the more complex all-grain method. Today, the partners labor in Bill’s 200-square-foot lanai facility three times a month—cooking, cleaning and mixing. It takes the pair approximately 10 hours to prepare 22 gallons of beer. Depending on the brew, it can take anywhere from three weeks to a year for the mixture to fully ferment.
Twice a year, the partners enter their best beers in home brew contests in Kona and Anchorage, Alaska. In only three years of competition, the Kailua home brewers have won two best-of-shows and a total of 30 different medals.
“I used to be like most people. I’d drink whatever was cheapest and try a different, new beer from time to time,” says Bill. “But home brewing gives you the opportunity to have the best beer you can possibly drink. It’s the difference between your mother’s homemade bread and a loaf from Love’s.”