Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Live and Brew Free: Fuck HOA's

With today being February 1st, the anniversary of Jimmy Carter legalizing homebrew I wanted to give a little history of whats happening with me personally in relation to brewing.  I know its long, please bear with me.

March 2012 I was at the hospital holding my sleeping 2 day old son when my phone rang.  (Thinking it was someone congratulating me on my newborn son.)  It was the legal council for my Home Owners Association.  Asking me about my Homebrewing activities.  There was an anonymous complaint. Typical in our Association.

It turns out I have a fan of this site that was also on the HOA Board of Directors.  However this fan hates anything alcohol related and rules the community with an iron fist attached to a gross, fat hateful body.

For those of you out there that live inside Home Owner Association's understand the complete dominance they have over every little detail of your daily life.  This association follows the same pattern.

Knowing the Davis Sterling Act (CA law that governs HOA's) was the 1st thing I turned to.  Understanding my rights as a Member in this Association.  I denied any wrong doing, I was not selling homebrew, in fact I've been very vocal about not selling any thing fermented in your house publicly.  As expected, when a Board Member pushes an issue, hearing letters are sent.  But not just from our Manager, from our HOA Attorney.  She (Board Member knew what she was doing, now legal costs could be added to my account without cause.

Under the same time frame I decided to run for the Board Of Directors of the HOA.  Since I knew I couldn't beat them,  so I joined them.  With a little website I put up and social media pushing I won the popular election in January.  This election caused more problems that it was meant to solve.  Having me in the mix, didn't really help my cause or stop violations piling up.  I was called to 2 hearings in 4 months for Running a Brewery within the HOA boundaries and Manufacturing.  In total I was fined over $2,000.

In the hearing results letter the HOA Attorney stated, " We understand the hobby of homebrewing is legal and we encourage this activity, however any brewing could be considered a violation of our CC&R's."  -Really stupid (in my opinion) Attorney Jodi Konorti 

The postings on this blog for which they received their information stopped showing any brewing equipment, garage use, pictures of me or my family.  I was done giving them any information to attack me and my legal hobby.  Which made the frequency of posts slow down.

We stayed at this impasse for about a year.  The Board for which I was a part of was soulless and filled with hate.  I felt like the trash of the earth while I was a Board Member along side the people that hated me personally for my enjoyment of homebrewing. Wanting to help everyother homeowner that was picked on, but stick enforcing their rules (simple majority).

Then it happened.  The vile on earth person who's mission was to fine me to death for enjoying my hobby printed out a picture from this site of my then 4 year old son (in his whitie-tighties) handing me a homebrew bottle to fill.  This picture was blown up full size and presented at a HOA Meeting to the homeowners in attendance.  The thoughts happening inside my head I don't want to relive.  Something changed that night.  It was now personal, more than ever.

Over the next year I rounded up 2 people who wanted to serve on the Board trying everything I could to oust the other board members.  (One saw the light at the end of the tunnel and sold his house and moved a week before the election.) All while fighting even more allegations of homebrewing violations.

Well, good things come to those who wait.  The election resulted in tossed out the vile women.  I did not survive the elections either, but that was not my goal.  My goal was replacing the board with good people who would help the community.  And I did.  The Boards 1st action was the cancel my last HOA Brewing Hearing Notice.  I was free...Jan of 2016 I looked at my HOA differently, I was not a target anymore.  It felt awesome.


The story above got a lot dirtier than wanted and I'm sure I missed a lot of details, but I made it through.  As we stand today, this blog however took a hit.  The volume of information I was willing to let out was lowered due to being targeted for loving a hobby which some people have a ethical objection to. Putting personal information online has its risks, I am a lot more aware of that today than ever.

I ended up moving out and selling my house inside of the HOA.  I now live outside any HOA's rules or regulations and it was the best choice for me and my family.  We are happy and I am openly homebrewing again.

Thanks for the people that I reached out to during this time.

Keep Brewing

Chris  "Lewy"


  1. Hi Chris.
    Beginner brewer(soon) from Sweden frequently visiting your site for gathering of knowledge and watching of nice photos of gear and beer.
    The story you write above is one a sad one to read, but i truly admire your fighting spirit for continuing your hobby.
    Glad to hear you are "free" and hopefully brewing as well as soon posting both text and photos again.


  2. Thanks for the comments Grey and Martin! She can't stop me from brewing!

  3. Brewer also from Sweden. I have no clue why any community would put further constraints than what is already sanctioned as legal by the law, that's just madness. By this precedent, they wouldn't want to allow a drop of alcohol on the entire community within the group, so they're basically just trying to make a "nykterist" colony (nykterist is Swedish temperance movement)? Yeesh. Glad you have the freedom to follow your passions in your own home now.

  4. Chris, as a homeowner, home brewer and HOA board member, you are welcome to come live in our community. Thank you for your story, I will be sure to vote down any rules added to our handbook limiting or condemning not for profit home brewers of which I am a proud member!

    1. Kali, thanks man.. My house now is HOA free and will be posting pictures on my brewing area build shortly. To the good people that still live in my old community, luckily the horrible board is no more. We got them out just as I was selling my house.

      As for the rule changes, its all about perception of the rule. Ours stated no manufacturing. So what does that mean? To the board at the time it was homebrewing. Even if I wasn't selling or even attempting to sell. They/she thought that applying rules at her discretion was the best policy. But the lady making cupcakes and selling them wasn't violating these rules.

      Keep vigilant on the rules and regulations!

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