Americans have been brewing beer in their homes since colonial times—both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were home brewers. Even so, a recent explosion of interest in the hobby has created tricky questions for state alcohol regulators.
As of July 1, home brewing will be legal in all 50 states. But many states still prohibit home brewers from transporting their beer to club meetings or competitions. Some states also limit the amount a home brewer can produce in a year.
The remaining restrictions rankle home brewers, who say swapping samples and competing with other brewers is what their culture is all about. "You could just drink your home brew at home, but you'd be missing out on a large part of the community," said James Spencer, who hosts a popular podcast about home brewing.