A Beer Pioneer: Vegas Homebrew & Winemaking By Jack Bulavsky
Updated: Feb 28, 2022
When Steve Berg moved to Las Vegas in 2008, there were three craft brewers in town. Today, there are more than 20, and many owe their success to Berg.
Berg owns Vegas Homebrew, a company that carries a full line of brewing equipment and ingredients to make beer, mead (honey-based beer) and wine at home. Those ingredients include malt, hops, yeast and additional brewery items.
“There were no home brew stores when I arrived in town, and I opened the very first one,” he said. “To make a comparison, there were already six in Portland when I left there14 years ago.
Over the years, I have established a good clientele, and many of them have become my friends. They come to me because I know the craft brewing business, and I’m able to share recipes and ideas on how they can start brewing a craft beer or further develop what they have already started. I want them to succeed.”
About 85% of Berg’s customers brew beer. They are predominantly men who are independent and self-reliant. Most are brewing ales such as Stout, Porter, Amber, Pale Ale, IPA and Blonde. They’re able to make these at home at room temperature without having to purchase expensive refrigeration equipment. A lager beer is more difficult to brew as it needs refrigeration to ferment.
The Origins of Craft Brewing
“The craft brew market began to emerge in 1979 when President Jimmy Carter signed away the last of the restrictions of fermenting your own alcohol at home,” Berg explained. “This law was a carryover from the 1930s prohibition era. Individuals started cooking beer on their kitchen stove and the craft beer revolution was underway. Today, by law, a person can brew up to 100 gallons per year in their home.”
When tasting a craft beer, drinkers will notice that the taste is crisper and more flavorful than the beer they are used to drinking. According to Berg, many popular commercial beers are brewed with low hops and a higher concentration of corn, which is a cheaper fermentable.
“I always mention Firestone Walker 805 as a classic craft beer,” said Berg. “It is clean and fresh with a true hops profile. There is a delightful aroma and a hint of malt and caramel that you won’t find in commercial beer. Our customers are sensitive to taste and set high goals for themselves.
That’s why we sell fresh raw materials that are added in the right sequence and at the right
temperature. It takes a lot of hard work and determination, but the final product is worth all that time.”
While there are hundreds of craft brewers in Denver, San Diego and Portland, Berg believes Las Vegas is on a great path to eventually catch up to those cities.
5140 W. Charleston Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV89146
Follow us @ https://www.craftbrewvegas.com/