Store caters to home brewers

sgilman@newsobserver.comFebruary 10, 2014 

Football fans still cringing at how much they spent on beer for their Super Bowl party might benefit from a store in Clayton.

Outback Brewing Supply, at 417 E. Second St. next to Compare Foods, caters to Johnston County’s burgeoning community of home brewers. Owner George Morse carries supplies for both the beginner and the more-experienced brewer: kegs, carboys, carbon dioxide chargers, spices, hops, grain varieties and more.

It could take up to 10 days, but if you are willing to make it yourself, every batch will taste unique, and it’s cheaper than buying beer in the store, Morse said. “We set it up as a way that you can come in for the least amount of money and brew five gallons of beer,” he said.

Morse sells kits that contain every ingredient needed for a five-gallon keg of beer, or roughly nine six-packs of 12-ounce beers. Depending on the price of your favorite store-bought beer, you could easily shell out more than $70 for those nine six-packs. By comparison, the kits at Outback sell for $20 to $37.

“The only difference is the quality,” Morse said of the range of kits. “Everything you need is already in here.”

It takes about 45 minutes to brew beer from a kit. Then the brew has to ferment in a bucket, or carboy, for four or five days. Beer needs another four to five days to naturally carbonate, but forced carbonation takes just a couple days.

The kits come in different difficulty levels and different flavors, like Scottish ale and Irish stout. The Christmas-themed beers have ingredients like spices and chocolate.

Morse has just begun providing “clones,” or recipes that replicate that particular taste of your favorite commercial beer.

People get into brewing their own beer for different reasons. Some, Morse said, do it because it’s cheaper. Some do it because a friend gave them a beer kit and they just couldn’t stop there. Others, he said, like to be generous around the holidays.

“A lot of people, especially around Christmastime, like to brew their own beer and bottle it and give it away as Christmas gifts,” Morse said.

Whatever the motivation for getting into home brewing, Morse said it brings a great amount of satisfaction. “I think there is a lot of self-fulfillment, a lot of pride, in being able to have a bunch of guys come over to your house (for home-brewed beer),” he said. “It makes you feel good when they grab a couple of Solo cups and say: ‘Man, this is good. It’s better than last year.’”

Morse was open for one year at 415 Athletic Club Blvd. in the Riverwood community. But traffic from the nearby schools, he said, was not good for business. He moved to his current location Jan. 7.

Since the move to downtown, Morse said, business has grown. “I’ve seen since I moved in here new customers from day one,” he said.

The brewing-supply business is not that far from Deep River Brewing Co., which touts its status as “Johnston County’s first legal brewery.” Since it opened last April, Deep River has turned out craft beers made with local ingredients like Johnston County sweet potatoes, Johnston County watermelons and chocolate from North Carolina chocolatiers.

It has become a popular hangout for locals who don’t want to drive all the way to Raleigh for a craft beer.

With a total of two breweries now in the county and more locals trying their hands at brewing, the craft beer craze appears to have arrived in Johnston. Morse, a retired electrician of 45 years, sees his business as a way to enable people to have a fun hobby.

“If you’re going to have a hobby, you may as well have a hobby you can enjoy and share and get a little bit of self-satisfaction from,” he said.

For more information, visit his website at www.obbsc.com or call 919-550-0016.

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