So it you love beer (like I do) it’s really only a matter of time before you try and make your own. If this is something you’ve thought of, I say go for it! It’s fun to drink a beer you made and brag to all your friends about all the time you spent simmering the wort. Most people think making beer requires a big start up commitment, but it doesn’t. Thanks to a number of starter kits on the market, it is easy to start making you own beer at home. This is one food blogger’s account in adventures in homebrewing.
It basically all started on a whim. My boyfriend and I had been wanting to try for a while, but didn’t want to drop a ton of money on equipment we might only use ones. Enter Craft a Brew. They make high quality homebrewing kits that are an amazing way to dip your toes in the homebrewing waters without spending a ton of money.
A start kit ranged from about $40-$50 a kit. (Ingredient refills range
from $15-$20 a kit as well!) This includes all the ingredients and equipment you need aside from a few cheap and readily available items. The only thing we ended up buying outside of the kit was ice, distilled water, and bottles (for those we just bought 4 pack of Grolsch flip tops, drank all the beer in them, and then used the bottles). Not too bad!
I particularly love the Craft a Brew kits because the beer they make is good quality. Other kits on the market make Budweiser type beers, while the Craft a Brew kits are more like craft beer (and in fact, some recipes are even designed by reputable craft breweries.) Thus far we have made the dry Irish stout, the Oktoberfest marzen, and the Imperial IPA, and all were delicious and well received by our friends. There are a few things to expect when you start your own homebrewing adventure though.
It takes some time. Most brews take about a month- two weeks of fermentations and then two weeks of bottle conditioning. This (thankfully) isn’t a terribly long time, but it can feel like an eternity when you’re excited to try your beer!
It’s a lot like chemistry class. Beer making is very precise. The wort (one of the beginning components of beer) needs to be just the right temperature or simmer for a certain amount of time, otherwise you have less than desirable beer. In fact, adding yeast too early can kill it and result in no fermentation at all! Thankfully these kits come with very clear instructions, but sometimes waiting for things to come together can be tough! If you hate baking- another form of culinary chemistry- you might hate making beer too. But thankfully these kits make it easy- just add the ingredients to your pot when they recipe book tells you too.
Beer making is simple, and yet very complex. Making a beer is truly and art form. There are so many unique thing you can add to it, but it all stems for the same basic ingredients- water, yeast, hops, grains, and malts. Craft a Brew’s kits let you experiments with different, unique ingredients. Their recipe kits include items such as lactose (for a milk stout), oak chips (for an oaked beer), and a variety of different hops! It’s fun if you want to experiments but don’t want to do any of the guess work!
In the end, these kits really only require maybe three hours of actual labor and four weeks of waiting to have your very own beer. We have loved making beer with them so much we will probably upgrade to a bigger system soon so we can make more than a gallon as a time. We might also use something like the Grogtag beer bottle label maker to create our own labels for our beer too. If you want to try a fun new hobby that is going to impress you friends, give beer making a shot! It’s lots of fun and you get to drink at the end!