Sante Adairius Rustic Ales owner and brewer Tim Clifford acknowledges Santa Cruz beermakers are an iconoclastic bunch. (Photo by Chip Scheuer)
Beer is a beloved member of my inner circle. To simply classify it as a beverage omits the strong artistic connection I feel to it, and the instant bond it creates with other like-minded brew-philes. So I decided to put some DIY where my mouth is and make my own.
In the Santa Cruz community, I am certainly not alone.
James Hoffner, a member of the Santa Cruz-based brewing supply co-op Seven Bridges, says brewing is booming, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
“We opened our doors 15 years ago, and have been doing a steady retail business ever since. People in Santa Cruz have the do- it-yourself attitude, and many people enjoy beer, so why not make it at home? Homebrewing is constantly growing in popularity.”
The craft brew industry is exploding throughout the U.S.; it grew 12 percent in 2011, despite the recession, and continued to grow in 2012, according to a study by the Craft Brewers Association. That growth is evident in Santa Cruz County, which is home to seven (going on nine) breweries, and countless enthusiastic homebrewers. Its calendar full of brew-related festivals includes this weekend’s Twisting Tasting on the top of the Rittenhouse building in downtown Santa Cruz, which will emphasize the boundary-pushing style the new generation of beermakers is bringing to the art.