The high-tech, two-piece system comes from the makers of the 'Mr Beer' kit.
America’s obsession with craft beer has brought with it a renewed interest in homebrewing. At the same time, the craft beer scene has also elevated homebrewers expectations. In the 1970s, you might homebrew just to drink something other than a Schlitz. But nowadays, every batch you brew is likely to get compared to Pliny the Elder. As a result, a number of small appliances have come along to make homebrewing not only easier, but also more flawless. Pico is probably the best known brand: An all-in-one all-grain homebrewing system that has raised millions of dollars through Kickstarter. Now, you can welcome its newest competitor in the US market: BrewArt.
BrewArt has a couple advantages over other “new” homebrew appliances. First, it’s not actually “new” at all. Though the product’s recently launched Kickstarter campaign is the first time it’s been available in the US, the system launched in Australia last year. Second, though the brand plays this down, BrewArt is actually a “spin-off” of Coopers – the largest Australian-owned brewery and one of the world’s best-known homebrew supply brands which also makes the famous “Mr Beer” kit. Needless to say, BrewArt is a bit higher-minded than Mr Beer, which may explain why its wants to keep the brands separate. Still, calling this your serious Mr Beer upgrade seems like a missed marketing opportunity.
What you get with BrewArt is what you’d expect from any modern appliance looking to compete in the push-of-a-button brew-it-yourself game. The smartphone-controlled system is fully automated with users having the ability to either pick from established recipes and kits or make their own, whipping up batches about 21 pints at a time. Another thing that sets this system apart is that it’s actually two pieces: a BeerDroid that brews and a BrewFlo that dispenses.
“Simply add the ingredients and water, hit start on the app and the BeerDroid will do the rest,” explains founder Scott Harris of the brewing part. “It will send you push notifications of brewing milestones and even advise when your kegs are ready to pour (very cool to show your friends when having a beer at the bar)! We also added a custom feature for those that want to personalize their brew. Although designed for use with the BrewArt BrewPrints, they can add any extra ingredients they like and the great thing is that the patented end of fermentation system (EOF) will detect start and end of fermentation regardless of the ingredients.”
Harris also explained the benefits of having a separate dispensing system. “The BrewFlo [is] a temperature controlled beer dispenser with a couple of major differences to anything else in the market,” he said in an email. “The patented kegging system does not require CO2 and as no oxygen touches the beer the shelf life is dramatically extended. Best of all when you are finished you simply dispose of the recyclable bag and that's it – no cleaning!”
Though the two-part system clearly has its upsides, the biggest downside, beyond taking up more space, is that the pieces need to be purchased separately: retail prices of $799 for the BeerDroid and $699 for the BrewFlo. The first 30 people to pledge on Kickstarter can get both for $995, after which you’re looking at $1,295. The latest Pico retails for just $549.
Frankly, I haven’t tried any homebrew appliances. When I homebrewed, I did it the old-fashioned way with pots, buckets and carboys. But if you’re interested in the these homebrewing-made-simple devices, BrewArt seems to have as good a pedigree as any of them.