It was started in New Orleans by a guy named Elvis on Magazine Street in a bar called Brew Ha Ha. Beer fanatics Chris Crothers and Allen Tye of Jackson attended a home-brewing demonstration there a few weeks ago and decided to start a small club here in Jackson. The first meeting of the Four Ms (Mid-Mississippi Malt Masters) was held in the upstairs bar of Musiquarium overlooking a rainy and busy I-55 on Tuesday, Dec. 3.
Seven guys and one girl sat around two square tables in the hip bar decorated with leopard print and retro fittings, discussing the legalities of homebrewing in Mississippi, a traditional homebrew state if there ever was one. Jimmy Carter legalized beer home-brewing federally in 1978. Federal law now permits up to 100 gallons per year per person or 200 gallons per household, for personal use only, of course. (Strangely, under this law, you only have to be 18 to make beer, but you must be 21 to buy it or drink it. Go figure. However, states have the authority to regulate the production, transportation and possession of intoxicating alcohol. Therefore, the home production of beer is OK under federal statute so long as such production is not in violation of state law.
Mississippi State Code 67-3-11, enacted in 1972, allows home winemaking. It makes no mention of beer. During the 2002 regular legislative session, Sen. Deborah Jeanne Dawkins (D) introduced a bill that proposed a change to the code by adding the words "and beer" following any references to home-produced wine. It died in committee. Therefore, with no law legalizing homebrew in Mississippi, it is technically illegal.
When asked what would happen if caught homebrewing, one guy at Musiquarium jovially said, "You have to share your beer with the cops." In a state with a long history of moonshinery (you could buy it for two dollars at Junior Kimbrough's juke joint until a couple of years ago), it makes one wonder why Mississippi is one of the few remaining states where homebrewing is illegal.
Regardless, the Four Ms will continue to meet on the first Tuesday of every month and swap recipes, share books and equipment. And if you're lucky, Perry Launius just might let you sample some of his homemade St. Croix maple ale or Bohemian Pilsner. Just don't tell anyone.
— J. Bingo Holman
What time are the meetings on the first tuesday of each month at Musiquarium?