CCZ and the House that Beer Built: The Sod Generation

The whole crew

On August 4th Circle City Zymurgy returned to the Boone County Habitat For Humanity site to help in the project The House that Beer Built. That day was all about landscaping.

Sod for days!

Once again most of the focus was on the blue house. There we planted several bushes, some flowers and a tree. For that part of the landscaping project we had the help of some wonderful ladies who were well-versed in domestic horticulture. Their expertise made it easy to understand what needed to be done and were patient with those of us that needed a little more coaching. The bulk of the plants were planted around the front porch and the tree was planted along the driveway towards the road.

Aligning the sod

As you can see from the first image we had a very large crew for the day’s work. While some volunteers planted, the rest started working on laying sod. After the planting was quickly done, everybody jumped into laying sod around the house. For lunch we got lots of pizza, fruit and cookies. After lunch we finished up laying up the sod around the blue house and then stepped on the sod to make sure there was no air underneath. This step was necessary as if there was an air gap between the sod and the ground then parts of the sod will die.

Fixing the sod around the red house.

The red house also got some love that day. Earlier in the week the waterline had to be replaced. On top of the ground that was dug out for the repairs, the bracers on the backhoe tore through the sod that had already been laid. These areas around the red house had to be fixed and sodded anew. That process involved removing the edges of the remaining sod that had started to die and then cutting new sections of sod to fit those areas.

Thanks to the large crowd of volunteers that day we got finished much earlier than we did on our previous volunteer day. Heat was a major issue so we all made sure that ourselves and others around us had plenty of water to drink. Thank you Habitat for Humanity for all that you do and for letting us volunteer again for your organization. And thank you Amy Hartwig for all that you do and for several of the photos that I used in this post. We look forward to more days working with the project The House that Beer Built.


CCZ and the House that Beer Built

On site at the House that Beer Built

On July 7th several members of Circle City Zymurgy and volunteers from the Whitestown Methodist Church helped Habitat for Humanity in a project called the House that Beer Built. The project is a way for craft brewers and homebrewers to give back to the community.

Siding being put on the side of the light blue house

It was a beautiful, cloudless day though hot. Work was steady and hydration was very important. Two houses on the site were well into the build process that day. One was a red house that was further along. Cabinets were already installed in the kitchen area and all of the siding was installed on the exterior. The other house was a light blue color and needed more work done. As pictured a couple of the sides still needed siding put up. Sanding of the interior floor was done before subflooring installed for the laminate that will go on top of that.


We split up between the two houses and worked until noon when we stopped for lunch. Lunch was supplied by the Whitestown Methodist Church. All of the food was delicious and much appreciated.

Siding being put up on the front of the light blue house

After lunch we went back to work, most of it being focused on the light blue house. More siding was put up and the laminate flooring was installed in the living room. Around 3:30 we wrapped work up, cleaned up the site and went home.

It was a great experience to give back to a community that supports local craft brewers. We at Circle City Zymurgy look forward to further opportunities working with Habitat
for Humanity.

How I Got Started Homebrewing: Jenn Myers Howell


I started to drink craft beer in the late 2000s. In Chicago, I lived in a building with some of the world’s best neighbors. Two of my neighbors were in the process of opening a homebrew shop (Brew Camp) when they moved into the building. I shopped around the store, but I never took a class. I watched as they mashed and boiled in our shared backyard. I was fascinated by the process, but that was as close as I came at the time.

When I moved back to Indianapolis in 2012, I was still interested in learning to brew. Fortuitously, I met Erik, who had been brewing for years. When I mentioned my interest in learning, he offered to teach me. He taught me about BJCP style guidelines and showed me how to build a recipe. I didn’t know any differently at the time, but I completely skipped extract brewing (where most brewers start) and went straight to all-grain. Together, we made a s’more stout.

I spent weeks researching to build the recipe for my first batch. Once I settled on a style (Southern English Brown), I reviewed several publications to compare different recipes and recommendations. As I was developing the recipe, I also got great advice from the staff at Great Fermentations; Anita was especially encouraging—she recommended I enter into competitions for feedback before I’d even brewed the batch. I brewed my first batch in early 2013.

The batch came out great and I prepared to enter it into Upland Brewing’s UpCup and the Indiana State Fair Brewers’ Cup. Erik mentioned that UpCup was one of his favorite events, so I was especially excited to attend. I couldn’t believe my ears when they announced my name during the awards! My 221B Baker Street Brown was awarded third place overall in the competition, so I got some sweet prizes (including a case of Upland beer). I also remember trying Bloomington Brewing Co.’s 10-Speed Hoppy Wheat for the first time that day, which is a beer I’ve loved since.

Since that amazing introduction into homebrewing, I continue to refine my first recipe in addition to building new ones. Through homebrewing, I have been able to build some great relationships with fellow homebrewers and in the brewing community. When Erik and I were married, I knew the expectations for the beer selection at our reception were high; I am thankful that we could include delicious beer and cider made by friends. Because you can never do too much fermenting, I make cider and wine also. Nearly 5 years after my first batch, I’m working at FH Steinbart, the oldest homebrew supply store in the country. I’m also fortunate to have a supportive husband who doesn’t mind the 100 pounds of grapes currently fermenting in our living room.