Walk into the Brew Camp store on 4639 Damen Avenue, and you'll first smell the rich, earthy scent of grain and yeast, the building blocks of beer stored in bags, sachets, and refrigerated vials throughout the store. To the immediate left, you'll see the checkout counter, and maybe a gentleman with an impressive beard, sampling some homemade beer from a flask with the intellectual consideration and forethought of a wine taster.
To his right, you'll see a slim bookshelf, stocked with manuals, 'brew-books', and how-to guides that teach you how to make carbonated beverages with malt and yeast. And in the rest of the shop, you'll see the paraphernalia of the private beer-brewing trade.
The sheer array of supplies available drives home the fact that beer-brewing is a hobby that requires a large knowledge of chemistry and biology as well as flavor and taste. There are large metal vats, tubes, valves, filters, and siphons on the shelves, acids and salts in racks to absorb certain substances from the brew...and flavors, ranging from sweeteners to herbs and spices.
And in stacks near the back and the front, there are boxes filled with empty beer bottles, unstained, rich brown, and waiting to be filled.
Experienced beer brewers looking for their own equipment will be able to find pretty much everything they'll need to ply their trade.
Novice beer-brewers, or people who are just starting out, can learn more about brewing by attending workshop classes hosted at 1826 W. Wilson Ave. The beginning workshop, “Making Beer at Home”, teaches students about the ingredients, tools, and methods needed to brew beer at home, while the “All Grain Brewing”, and “Hands on With Kegs” courses teach more complex methods of concocting larger and more varied types of beer.
Lastly, for people who wish to experiment with combinations of ingredients from the comfort of their home, the Brew Camp website has a 'Recipe Builder' page. Here, the curious can create recipes by selecting different categories of Yeast, Malt, Hops, extracts, spices, grains, and fruit purees, then specifying the quantity of each. This function also allows seasoned beer-brewers to see how much it'd cost to purchase their recipe ingredients from Brew Camp.
Whether you like alcoholic beverages, or prefer carbonated soda-type drinks, Brew Camp is a shop where you can get what you need and learn interesting things about the art of brewing.