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My Homebrewing Story: Courtesy of Brooklyn Brew Shop
Biting the homebrew bullet and trying it for the first time.

I’ve been curious about homebrewing for a while, but always afraid to pull the trigger because I didn’t want to shell out a lot of money on equipment and was afraid it would be a messy disaster.

One beer making kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop changed everything. Brooklyn kits include a bag of milled malt (not an extract), hops, yeast, sanitizer, an airlock, tubing, racking cane, thermometer and a one gallon glass fermenting jug. That’s right, brew sizes are just one gallon. For a beginner, the size is perfect. I don’t risk making a huge five-gallon batch of really bad beer, and I can experiment with recipes and styles I’m curious about. 

The entire process involves mashing in, sparging, boiling the wort, adding hops during the boil, fermentation (of course) and bottling. It’s homebrewing light, but that’s fine with me. My first Everyday IPA batch was delicious. In my next batch I experimented by adding Mosaic hops and upping the ABV of the Everyday IPA. It’s fermenting now, so I have no idea how it turned out. I also have a gallon of Chocolate Porter fermenting (the wort smelled amazing). I’m so enamored that I’ve purchased a few extra fermentation kits, which means I can have four separate one-gallon batches going on at once. 

It takes roughly three hours to get a batch in the fermenter, but the time flies by. The hard part is waiting for the beer to be ready to drink.

Automatic (Beer) for the People

On the opposite end of the spectrum – a espresso maker for beer. That’s what the CEO of PicoBrew calls the PicoBrew Zymatic, a beer brewing system that's raising (plenty of) funds on Kickstarter. I enjoy the actual brewing process, but maybe I won’t after the novelty wears off. That’s where something like this would come in. It’s a self-contained brewing machine that requires very little work, and it certainly makes experimentation easy.

Barley Pop of the Week

Every time I try a New Glarus brew that’s new to me I’m more impressed by what they’re doing at the brewery. The Imperial Weizen is a complex, incredibly tasty offering. It’s got a supercharged sweet banana and clove flavor followed by a nice moderate bitterness. I’m no style expert but the flavor (and likely the transition from sweet to bitter) reminds me of some Belgian pale ales, but not as dry. No need to label it. Just drink it.

Quick Tap

Cheers to all of those that made it to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival last weekend. For the record, I’m jealous.

Events Brewing

Tuesday, Oct. 15: Erv’s Mug (130 W. Ryan Rd.) is hosting another beer dinner. Featured beers come from Leinenkugel’s Big Eddy series. The Russian Imperial Stout, Imperial IPA, Uber Oktoberfest and Ryewine Ale are all on the menu. Call 414-762-5010 for more information.

Friday, Oct. 18: Try English beer from Wells & Young’s at Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.) from 4 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 19: Sample “Imperial Beers” at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) from 1 to 4 p.m. 

Saturday, Oct. 19: You know by the title that “Ray’s Fall Festival of Beer” is worth attending. Fall brews are the focus at Ray’s Wine & Spirits (8930 W. North Ave.) and tickets are just $15. The fun starts at 5:30 p.m.

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