Friday, November 18, 2011

25 years in, Hummel and Rigberg continue to trailblaze with Home Sweet Home Brew in Philadelphia

I wouldn't ordinarily re-post an entire press release verbatim, but in this case, it was one of the most well-written that I've seen in some time. Or perhaps I say that more so because it's full of well-deserved praise for two leading characters (said with all due respect!) in Philadelphia's craft brewing industry (home and professional brewing alike).

Check it out and do give careful consideration for the gift-giving recommendation: George's recently published homebrewing book (a link here back to my short review of it) along with a brewing kit and a start-up batch of ingredients for $150. This is a gift for the holiday season that I guarantee, as much as I possibly am able to, will please the beer-loving man or woman in your life.

Big Cheers to George and Nancy!

Profile Public Relations

PHILADELPHIA, PA – This fall, George Hummel and Nancy Rigberg, owners of Home Sweet Home Brew (2008 Sansom Street; 215-569-9469), Philadelphia’s original homebrewing supplier that gave many top craft brewers their start, will celebrate 25 years of serving the region. The duo, dubbed the godparents of homebrewers by Governor Ed Rendell when he bestowed them the Governor’s Inspiration Award in 2008 for their contributions to the craft brew industry, have made the community what is today. Hummel, an award-winning homebrewer and beer columnist, recently wrote a veritable guidebook, "The Complete Homebrew Beer Book," making him one of the country’s leading authorities on the subject. For the holiday season, the pair has packaged the book with a brewing kit and start-up batch of ingredients for $150, creating the perfect gift for seasoned enthusiasts and beginners alike.

Since taking over the business in 1990, Hummel and Rigberg have helped to raise the art of homebrewing from obscurity to the mainstream from the humble setting of their compact, quaint space that is brimming with every beer-making necessity.

"When we started homebrewing, there were only a few people doing it, but now its popularity has grown beyond our wildest expectations," says Hummel. "At Home Sweet Home Brew there’s nothing we love more than connecting with people through the beer-making process. We’re proud to say many customers come back year after year to recount their successes and failures and even share some of their final products." Along with Rigberg, a pioneer of the female beer community and an award-winning homebrewer who is widely recognized for her hard ciders, Hummel hosts H.O.P.S., or Homebrewers of Philadelphia and Suburbs, monthly meetings at Home Sweet Home Brew at which members meet to watch demos, talk brew methods and, of course, taste their delicious homemade beers.

In addition to the countless homebrewers that have been a part of the club over the years, some of the region’s biggest names in brewing can be counted among those to be influenced by the pair, including: Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Tom Kehoe of Yards; Gene Muller of Flying Fish; Bill Covaleski of Victory; Tom Peters of Monk's Café; and Iron Hill Brewery’s Marc Edelson, Kevin Finn, Chris LaPierre and Paul Rutherford.

"The first ten batches of Dogfish Head were brewed from ingredients I bought from George and Nancy at Home Sweet Home Brew," says Calagione, a long-time friend and the founder of Dogfish Head, one of the nation’s fastest growing independent breweries. "Almost all of the commercial brewers in our area came into contact with them and their shop at some point during their development as brewers – and we are all better off for it."

Under the expertise of Hummel and Rigberg, the store has been transformed into the area’s most reliable source for any and every piece of equipment needed for the brewing process, from preparing the yeast to bottling the final product.

"Philadelphia wouldn’t be the beer town it is without Home Sweet Home Brew," says Kehoe, founder of Yards Brewing. "It has everything a homebrewer could want and need, and something you can’t get at any other shop: the support, encouragement and inspiration of George and Nancy."

At their one-stop-shop they also supply many instructional books, including Hummel’s "The Complete Hombrew Beer Book," which offers user-friendly advice and recipes, perfect for anyone interested in brewing their own. In his comprehensive book, Hummel, who has taught courses on brewing at Temple and Drexel Universities and is also a recognized judge of the Beer Judge Certification Program, features over 200 recipes for every variety, from lager to stout, from rauchbier to hefeweizen, as well as gluten-free beers. It demystifies the act of homebrewing by breaking it down into user-friendly steps and making it accessible to everyone. It is divided into three parts: Part One provides an overview of basic ingredients and brewing gear as well as general explanation of the brewing process; Part Two introduces recipes for more exciting varieties from across the globe; and Part Three, which highlights extreme, funky beers made with fruit, smoke, meads as well as gluten-free. The book along with a complete homebrewing kit is available for purchase at the store or online at for $150.

For more information on homebrewing, Hummel’s book, or to buy the homebrew holiday gift set, please call 215-569-9469 or visit online at Home Sweet Home Brew also supplies equipment for the home winemaker. Items can be shipped nationwide. The store is open Tuesday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., Wednesday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 4 p.m. It is closed on Monday. For extended holiday hours or to make an appointment outside of business hours, please call Home Sweet Home Brew.

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