BREW IT YOURSELF: MAKE HOME-MADE BEER
There’s a lot of satisfaction to be found in doing things yourself, be it building a table, changing your break pads, or baking a pizza from scratch. But can you, the person reading this, realistically brew beer? Yes. Yes you can.
Beer has been around for thousands of years, and the basic ingredients have stayed more or less the same: water, grain (such as barley), flavouring (such as hops), and yeast. That’s it. And if people were brewing it in the Stone Age, you can brew it now. It’s like baking or cooking: If you can read, you can brew. That’s because beer is made following recipes, of which there are thousands on the internet. And you can take it as seriously as you want, whether that means growing your own barley and hops, cultivating your own yeast and drawing water from a well, or buying a brew-in-a-bucket kit on the internet. Either way, a few hours’ work and a few weeks of waiting – the hard part – and you’ll have your own beer in your hand.
As for choosing a recipe, common advice here is to start with a style you like to drink. More pragmatic advice, however, takes into account that some recipes are a little more complicated and your first batch may not be an A+. To help you mask potential iffy flavours, it’s probably a good idea to start with a darkish beer with more coffee and chocolate aromas, such as a porter or a stout. If you don’t like those, a simple pale ale isn’t a bad way to begin. After that, you just need to follow the instructions closely. Very handy are apps such as Beersmith, which will give you recipes, help you build your own, and do all the calculations you need to do to predict the beer’s bitterness and alcohol level. Also, check out a few brewing forums for hints and tips. My co-brewer, Inus, manages to perfectly regulate his fermentation temperature with a heat lamp, a chest freezer and an aquarium temperature probe, and that’s the kind of Macgyvering advice the community is great for.