July 12, 2012
-- Beer lovers are an interesting breed. Once their palate locks on to the myriad of tastes available via craft beers, they not only leave the mass-produced brands behind, but often get the urge to brew their own suds. Yet, while interest in home brewing has soared throughout the last decade, the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia lacked its own home brewing supply store until recently.
In May, the Malt House Limited opened at the corner of Emlen & Mt. Pleasant Streets. The store contains everything for the novice to experienced home brewer. Malt House sells barware (mugs, openers, bar towels), keg equipment (tap handles, faucets, hoses, Co2 tanks), homebrewing supplies (malt, hops, yeast, equipment), and assorted beer-related gifts (t-shirts, books, bar signs, coolers).
"There are a handful of places in the city and the suburbs, but its easily half to a full hour to get to them from my neighborhood,"
said Malt House Limited owner Scot Wikander. "That's the main reason I chose the location, I got sick of fighting city traffic or driving all the way out to the burbs to get brewing supplies. Most of my regulars so far are folks I know from the local homebrew club, some of whom even volunteered to help me paint the store – that's how excited they were to have a homebrew shop in their own neighborhood."
Wikander, who has been brewing his own beer for about six years, also offers home brewing classes, lectures about beer, shows beer-related movies, and even suggests beer and food pairings. Wikander says he learned the trade from a friend who had learned how to brew from a friend who worked for Weyerbacher. His advice to those interested in home brewing is to first do a little research on the internet.
"Don't be scared off by the jargon and techno-geek-
babble," advises Wikander. "People have been making beer for thousands of years - long before any of the modern science and technology was ever dreamed up. If you can boil water, you can make beer.
"It starts with discovering ‘good' beer, then wanting to learn more about it, then having a desire to make it," continued Wikander. "My family would always tell stories about old relatives making beer in the bathtub during prohibition, I guess it's in the genes."
Malt House Limited is open 12pm-8pm on weekdays and 10am-4pm on weekends. It's one of the few home brewing supply stores in the area opens on Mondays, which has been one of the busiest days for the establishment. For more information visit www.malthouseltd.com.