PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Many bars are back open in Arizona, but some still choose to stay in and drink a pint of homemade beer instead.

"It's kinda nice because we come out back and we're going to the bar, and we're gonna go hang out at the bar, but it's really just the back yard," said Christine Nichols, who built a bar out of a shed next to her Phoenix home. Nichols started homebrewing early last year with a coworker, John Coash. The pre-pandemic pastime soon bubbled into a passion.

"There's more complicated ways to make beer than just your simple Bud Light," said Coash.

And while not everyone has been building bars, some home brewing stores have seen an increase in people getting into the hobby during the pandemic.

"We have seen an uptick in customers, new brewers," said Adam Vath, who owns What Ale's Ya in Glendale. In fact, this past January was the best month of sales for the shop in its 25 years.

"And it's not just beer. We do wine as well. And a lot of young people are doing mead," Vath said.

What Ale's Ya sells starter kits for new homebrewers and will even grind grain for personalized pints.

"It's not hard at all. I mean, as long as you -- if you can bake a cake, you can brew a batch of beer," Vath said. And while it might not be too hard, there's still lots to learn.

"Definitely have patience. And it definitely is going to be trial and error," Nichols said.

It is a recipe for success, whether bottling up beer or dealing with the old new normal that's dragged on for the last year.


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