ST. CLOUD - Brewing beer from home has grown to become a popular hobby since it was legalized in the 1970's and St. Cloud is no exception to the trend.

Home beer brewing allows hobbyists to craft their own beer right from their front yard. The practice was banned for several decades from Prohibition until Jimmy Carter made it legal in 1979.

Brewing from home is growing locally in St. Cloud, the area now has two stores (Nitro Brew and Hobby and Baker's Hobbytown) that sell equipment for the hobby. There’s even a beer brewing social club-the Cloudy Town Brewers, who meet once a month.

Russ Windahl is the co-owner of Nitro Brew and Hobby in St. Cloud, but to many he’s known as the local beer brewing guru. He says home brewing is also likely increasing due to a recent craft beer trend in the younger generation.

Options available at Nitro Brew and Hobby. (Dan DeBaun, WJON News)

"Nationally you're starting to see it, there's more breweries opening up-it's more popular," Windahl says.

Precise recipes, math and science all play a large part in creating your own beer. For advanced brews the hobby can become very scientific and precise. Numerous choices and options are available to hobbyists with different beer preferences. Brewers can decide how light or dark they want their finished beer to be and what kind of flavors it will have when it's finished. There are even gluten free beer kits available.

Timing is crucial when brewing beer at home. Clean and sanitized equipment is important in order to avoid bacterial contaminations. The entire process requires patience since it can take several weeks to get a final product.

Windahl says in order to create a great brew you need to be sure to focus on the fine details, or face a ruined product.

"If you're a golfer it's the same way as it is on a golf course-some days you got it and some days you don't," Windahl says.

Even though the process requires some math and science, Windahl says it’s just another hobby people can fall in love with.

"It's just another hobby like anything, this is a wonderful way to get the friends smart and fix the worlds problems," Windahl says.

-Video story done with help from WJON's Josh Akkerman-


Dan DeBaun, WJON News