Beer Loves Company: Brewing Boom at Homebrews and Handgrenades

Owner Peter Tripp in front of Homebrew & Handgrenades grain containers.

Owner Peter Tripp in front of Homebrew & Handgrenades grain containers.

“The first beer I brewed was the best one I ever made,” says Peter Tripp. He adds he may be remembering it a little too fondly, but either way he was hooked.

For the next 10 years homebrewing was just a hobby, then he opened Homebrews and Handgrenades in Baldwin.

After an injury ended his career as an ironworker, Tripp decided to switch gears and start his own business. There was no question in his mind that it would be a homebrew shop, but once the doors opened the business took on a life of its own.

“I started having a monthly bottle share so people could get together and enjoy and discuss beer,” says Tripp. Eventually, the conversation turned towards brewing. Though there are a few homebrewing clubs on the island, they mostly meet in Suffolk. Wanting a base for brew talk that was a bit further west, the Handgrenades Homebrew and Craft Beer Club was born. “People like the sense of community,”he  says.

Homebrews and Handgrenades is also home to a half barrel system, capable of brewing 15 gallons of beer at a time. Tripp is able to experiment on the system himself while also offering demos and classes. Every couple weeks he hosts a “Homebrewing 101” class to introduce people to extract brewing. Tickets can usually be found on Groupon or Living Social—with Tripp only looking to cover his cost for the classes. “It’s more to introduce people to homebrewing and the shop,” he says.

Once students graduate past the intro level, seminars on beer styles and even individual ingredients are offered. Next up: a class on grain taught by Brian Zimmerman of ZBH Malthouse. “The heart and soul of beer is the malt, so it only makes sense.”

Admission is free and a limited number of spots are still available on Eventbrite. The seminar will take place Sunday, June 5 at 2:30 pm.

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Husband and wife team Alicia Valeo and Kevin Breslawski write the blog Beer Loves Company.