It’s no secret that the roots of the craft-brewing industry run deep into the fertile soil of homebrewing. The growth of the industry is largely dependent on talented and dedicated homebrewers honing their craft and carving out their own turf in the craft-brewing revolution.
One brewery is taking it a step further by providing the actual recipes to their beers by packaging them with the beers themselves. The Homework Series from San Diego’s Ballast Point is a line of beers designed to pay tribute to their homebrewing roots. “We’ve always been such an open book with our recipes since we started Home Brew Mart in 1992 and the brewery in 1996,” says Colby Chandler, Ballast Point’s vice president and specialty brewer. “Honoring our homebrewing roots is part of our vision statement, and putting the recipe on the bottle was something we’ve always wanted to do.”
In fact, the very first beer released in the Homework Series is a hoppy red ale that Chandler designed as Red Scent Ale in 1998. One his favorites to share with his fellow homebrewers, it was a natural choice to be the flagship for the series. “The first one was my wedding beer, and I was a little selfish in wanting to have it again.” Four more beers—Belgian-Style Double IPA, English-Style IPA, Pumpkin Ale, and Hoppy Belgian-Style Pale Ale—have joined that Hoppy Red Ale in the Homework Series.
Says Chandler, “We always wanted to package a Belgian IPA but didn’t have the capacity to do it on any kind of scale until now. The English-style IPA was the very first IPA we ever brewed back when Peter A’Hearn, our founding brewmaster, was here. It was the first one we ever brewed commercially, and we got to bring it back and give out the recipe. The pumpkin ale was a great collaboration between Home Brew Mart and Brewing Manager Aaron Justus.” And the Belgian-Style Pale Ale was the winner of an all-employee homebrew contest.
In addition to making commercially available award-winning craft beer, Ballast Point also operates Home Brew Mart, a homebrew supply company in the San Diego area and the place where Ballast Point founders Jack White and Yuseff Cherney teamed up to start Ballast Point. “Ballast Point has such a huge variety of styles of beer, and that desire for variety really goes back to our homebrew roots,” says Chandler. “Most of the pro brewers here in San Diego started as homebrewers, and we love to be on the front edge. We were doing a session IPA eleven years ago and an India Pale Lager nine years ago. From the beginning we’ve always liked being able to go into the homebrew shop, see new trends, taste ingredients, and get tactile.”
Ballast Point’s Homework Series is available throughout the Southern California region, and the recipes are available online at ballastpoint.com/beer-recipes.