Home Brew How-To
© Rodale/design by Jessi Rymill
It’s hard not to geek out on beer this summer with the explosion of beer gardens and radical new micro (and nano) brews. Beer expert Christian DeBenedetti urges beer enthusiasts to take things to the next level and start brewing at home.
“Give a person a six pack, they'll drink for a day," says DeBenedetti. "Teach them to brew…" OK, you know the rest. These days, what was once a messy affair has gotten simpler and way more fun with the advent of smarter books and equipment. Suffice it to say that the joy of tasting your first successful home brew isn't easily put into words. If you can follow a recipe, you can make your own beer, and it's cheaper in the long run, too. If you get really good, you might even show off your skills in cool New York City bars like The Diamond, where, in addition to a Shuffleboard Biathlon, there is the Brew 'n’ Chew, a home-brew and home-cooking competition.
Start with the new book Beer Craft: Six Packs From Scratch by William Bostwick and Jessi Rymill. "Home brewing is easy—you probably already have most of the equipment at home," says Bostwick. "But it's also something you can geek out over and get a gallon of great beer in the process (and mess up the kitchen a little)." The genius of this book is that it takes an incredibly complex topic and boils it down to quaffable parts without dumbing down the key points of becoming a serious homebrew honcho. You've got everything from basic definitions of beer ingredients to detailed yeast strain recommendations and an incredibly helpful primer on off flavors and insights into genre-bending sour beers.
Once you have the book, find a local home-brew shop (some Whole Foods stores carry equipment) or order a home-brew kit and you're ready to go.