Why we're here...

Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Brew Ferment Distill (BFD)

Brew Ferment Distill (BFD) is a home brew store (and wine, cheese, viengar, spirits) in the North Oak Park Neighborhood in Sacramento. It's located on Broadway and 35th Street.

When you walk in...
It's a new store and the closest homebrew supply in the core Sacramento area. I went there with a friend to pick up the rest of our brewing equipment. We already had a brewing kettle (a converted keg), a copper chiller and a gas burner. A group of us have decided to tackle the art of homebrewing. For about 10 years we had been brewing at Brew It Up and have now decided to tackle the tumultuous world of home brew.

A large variety of malts and grains.
Finding BFD is rather easy. Heading southeast on Broadway away from downtown just look to your left as you cross 34th street - you'll see Broadway Soul Food and then BFD right next to it on the corner of Broadway and 35th. It's clearly marked and you can see the supplies stacked up in the window. There's usually parking on 35th.

The MacGyver Grinder.

Tim, the owner, is a friendly, down-to-earth former mortgage broker with a good knowledge of homebrewing. He explained the usage of every part he sold us. We even struck up a conversation about growing hops, which he does at home.

BFD is a small, but well supplied shop. It has a hardware store feel and greeting you is a whiff of the wide variety of malts and grains as soon as you enter. There is also a DIY feel to the place - the grain grinder is powered by a MacGyvered electric drill.

Spices and herbs.

BFD has a beginners home brew kit for about $100, which does not include chiller, kettle or burner. They also have many other accessories and upgrades that aren't necessary for beginners. They have a healthy selection of extracts and grains. Spend sometime just opening the lids and smelling the different roasts and varieties.

The taps and photography.
There is also a decent supply of spices and herbs - star anis, cinnamon sticks, juniper berries, bitter orange peel, etc. Tim also assured us that he can get his hands on most any beer supplies we could want through different vendors he works with.

Tim also has 6 taps which he generally keeps supplied. When we were there he had just ran out of a Lagunitas Pale Ale, but had 3 different home brewed ciders - lavender, dry English, and orange peel. Customers are welcome to take a plastic cup and taste. On the wall above the taps are some cool photos of an All-Grain brewing process.

The book supply
There's a nice selection of brewing books to get you started on the basics as well as books for the more adventurous - "Radical Brewing".

BFD is family friendly. There's a corner of the store dedicated for kids to play while the parents shop or talk. It has a couch, flat screen TV and games.

Beginner's Kit
If you're curious about homebrewing or looking to stock up on supplies, check out BFD. I've been to Brewmeister in Folsom which was good though smaller and with less in stock. But its in Folsom,  quite a drive for someone living in the core Sac area.
The Kids Area.

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