Browsing articles tagged with " Beer Kit"
REIDSVILLE — April is the inaugural North Carolina Beer Month and Eric Smith couldn’t be happier.
Smith, 38, is a home brewer — an excellent one at that — and a fan of beer. He’s doing his part to get the word out about craft beers and brewers in the state.
He has a blog — ncbeers.blogspot.com — that details his visits to craft breweries in the state. He participates in brewing demonstrations, attends beer festivals and anything else that will get others as excited about home brewing as he is.
He’s also celebrating beer month in an appropriate fashion.
“My goal for the month of April is to only drink North Carolina beer,” Smith said.Continue Reading
It all began for Smith with a simple beer kit, a birthday gift from his wife, Kelly, in 1996.
An untapped talent emerged.
Smith, after years of brewing, can break down the ingredients of any beer he drinks.
“I can taste a beer and tell you what hops were used and typically what malt was used and typically what yeast was used,” Smith said.
An impressive feat, but Smith said it’s something he picked up from years of tasting the ingredients while brewing beer. He tastes them before and during the process. Not many brewers do this, according to Smith.
He is also a talented brewer. Smith keeps several recipes on file and brews according to his mood. Sometimes he goes to a home-brew supply store and creates his recipe while he’s there. Other times, he drinks a beer he likes and he wants to recreate that taste.
He’s often asked why he doesn’t create his own brewery.
“I already turned one hobby into a job,” Smith said. “I don’t need two.”
His job as a welder is something he’s been doing since he was 10 while watching and learning from his father. Smith turned this hobby into a job after he was laid off from his airline job in 2002.
He is happy with welding as a job. Smith likes brewing, but he said he doesn’t feel like brewing every day. It will stay a hobby.
A hobby that still keeps him busy, even if he doesn’t brew every day.
Smith is in the opening stages of a project that will take him to every brewery in the state. It took a year to plan, and he hopes to finish his statewide tour by the end of the year or at least by March 2014.
His reputation as a brewer often precedes him, and he gets a more extensive tour than advertised. His wife often acts as his driver on these tours. It’s only fair since she’s the one who got him started in the first place.
When he’s not touring breweries and making beer, Smith said he will continue to encourage others to take up home brewing. Beer kits are inexpensive, and hobbyists can invest in as little a $100-150 for a top-of-the-line brewery system.
And it’s not hard to make the beer.
“If you can boil water, then you can brew beer,” Smith said.
Brewing is not the only thing on Smith’s mind. He is interested in several topics and enjoys sitting at a bar getting to know the person beside him.
“I don’t care what your religion is,” Smith said, “I don’t care how you voted. If you like to drink a good beer, then I’m going to sit down and drink a good beer with you.”
Just remember not to bet him in guessing what kind of beer you are drinking.
Contact Brad Kesler at 373-7060, and follow @Brad_Kesler on Twitter.
Have a need you can’t find cheap enough in any store, online shop or eBay? Check out what your neighbors are selling on Craigslist. Here are some of the items up for sale now in the Port Jefferson area.
Click here to check out nearby Craigslist finds in Three Village and in the Miller Place area.
CLEAR LAKE - The gift of a Mr. Beer brewing kit was the genesis for a new Clear Lake business.
Bob and Suzy Rolling of Clear Lake are the owners of Lake Time Brewery, 801 Main Ave.
Bob, a Bancroft native and former surgical equipment salesman, said he started brewing his own beer when his brother Ed presented him with a beer kit.
“How many times have you heard that? The funny thing is the beer was drinkable,” Bob said. “It wasn’t spectacular, and then I kind of laid off a little bit for a few years and then we moved back here,.”
The couple wanted to move back to North Iowa after living in Iowa City and South Dakota.
Lake Time is located on the corner of Eighth and Main in Clear Lake.
When renovations are completed, the place will seat 35 people.
The building is owned by Rhonda and Tim Clark of Clark and Associates Real Estate. Their business will continue to be located in the building but much of the current office space will be remodeled as the bar area and seating for the brewery.
Rolling said he wanted to strike while the iron is hot.
“The industry itself is just huge,” he said. “We would have liked to have a little more time to prepare. But I thought if I don’t do it now, somebody else is going to do it.”
They plan to start small.
“We want a real homey feel, a place where you can sit and hang out and have a drink,” he said.
Rolling hopes to have Lake Time Brewery up and running by Memorial Day weekend, and it will be open seven days a week.
He plans to offer his American wheat, brown ale and pale ale brews to start.
“That is going to hit most people’s palates,” Rolling said.
The beers will have names related to the lake.
Rolling said Lake Time isn’t a time at all.
“It’s a state of mind,” he said.
When Jorge Garcia, 28, received a Mr. Beer Kit for Christmas in 2008, he never thought he would be entering his beer in community events and contests.
After trying out the kit, he realized it was not the best tasting beer, but he was interested in learning more about the process.
In 2010, he met Robert Tejon, 31, Neftali Medina, 31, and Piero Rodriguez, 31, at Brew Box Miami, which was a local brewing supply store, and they created Misfit Home Brewers, a local beer club that will be one of many breweries showcasing their beer at the Beach Brews Beer Fest on Saturday.
“Our goal was to start a home brewing club that was open to new and different ideas, in a non-competitive atmosphere,” said Tejon.
As a home brewing club, Misfit Home Brewers aims for a taste that is different than other beers frequently sold at stores.
“We don’t want to be in a club that frowns upon wacky ideas like peanut butter beer or watermelon beer,” said Garcia.
Aside from Misfit Home Brewers, local craft home breweries, such as Most Wanted Brewery, Subvert Ales, Opus Ales and Fourth Age Brewing are among the many local brewing clubs, which will be showcasing their beer at Beach Brews Beer Fest.
Luis Somoza, 30, director of Miami Event Productions, which is hosting the event, said he wants to make sure local home brewers get the exposure they deserve.
“Local home breweries have become a trend in our own backyards,” said Somoza. “These are different beers that people don’t usually try. This is why we want to set the stage for them.”
Manuel Jannes, 39, from Opus Ales, a local home brewing club, said there is a healthy craft beer scene in South Florida.
“Although it’s not very commercial right now, I think this year, it is going to erupt,” said Jannes.
Eddie Leon, 44, from Most Wanted Brewery agrees.
“Right now, Most Wanted Brewery is in the planning stages of opening a brewery in Doral,” said Leon. “The more I researched the industry, the more excited I became by its growth and the potential beers we could make.”
Jannes said events like Beach Brews Fest helps local brewing clubs receive the feedback they need from the public.
“Through these events we see what works and what doesn’t work,” he said.
Craft brewing clubs usually make beers that are not frequently sold in stores or served at restaurants.
Each club combines its own ingredients to make unique tasting beer.
“We feel like we make flavorful beers that encompass the melting pot of South Florida,” said Jannes. “We do this by adding fruits that are popular in South and Central America.”
Misfit Home Brewers offer a variety of flavors in its beers, like Cuban coffee, peanut butter, chocolate and peppermint, flavors that have won them awards in previous events like Best Florida Beer and Best Overall Beer.
Fourth Age Brewing, which has been brewing a little over a year, hopes to be recognized this year by their fan favorite “The Flan.”
“I love all our beers,” said Adie Shaqia, 24, from Fourth Age Brewing, “but off the top of my head, “The Flan” is my favorite.”
TRAVERSE CITY — John Perreault recently cracked open the first bottles of beer that he brewed himself.
“It’s only been in the bottle for a week now, so it’s pretty young,” Perreault, 28, said of his pale ale. “But it’s shaping up well. It tasted pretty good, and I’m expecting it to get even better.”
The Traverse City software designer is newly making the jump into home brewing, a hobby that’s been on the rise nationally and locally for years now. While the Traverse City area has seen a boom in microbreweries, there’s been an equal surge in the home variety.
Joseph Vokes, a Traverse City engineer at Consumers Energy, started with a simple Mr. Beer kit he received as a birthday gift this year. He’s now on his fifth batch of pale ale, trying new varieties in each.
“I tried putting some raspberry in the India Pale Ale and like the results of that,” said Vokes, 42. “I found you can actually save money creating the expensive beer I love by doing a little bigger batches.”
With a nearly infinite combination of grains, hops, yeasts and other ingredients to try, as well as varying techniques for combining them to make the suds you’re after, it’s a curious mind’s dream.
“With any new hobby, the world’s the limit,” Vokes said. “There’s just so many options.”
At first glance, the microbrewery and home brewing booms wouldn’t seem to go hand in hand. After all, there’s plenty of new and unique craft beer from all over the world dotting store shelves these days.
But it’s that curiosity — “can I make something like this?” — that has led the microbrew and home brew trends to intermingle and simultaneously see steady upward mobility.
Vokes said he tries out different store-bought beers not only to see what he likes, but also what he doesn’t. Then he researches the ingredients of those he doesn’t like — especially what types of hops were used — to guide what he puts in his own brews.
Making a batch can take anywhere from two to four hours for the primary cooking aspects, and then there’s the wait for it to ferment and be bottled or kegged.
A beer town
Earlier this month, Traverse City was named one of the Top 10 Best Winter Vacation Destinations by Livability.com in part due to the city’s preponderance of craft beer. The area’s nine microbreweries, brew pubs and craft beer taprooms helped Traverse City make it onto Draft magazine’s list of newest “Emerging Beer Towns.”
That number is scheduled to expand as two more microbreweries are in the works — Brewery Terra Firma on Hartman Road and Beggars Brewery in Blair Township.
Many such operations start in the same way — with someone brewing a five-gallon batch on their stovetop and then expanding from there.
“A lot of guys — myself included — aren’t in it for the money,” said Dustin Jones, the brewer at Brewery Ferment, Traverse City’s newest brewpub on Union Street. “It’s just what I want to do. It’s an addictive hobby.”
The American Homebrewers Association, based in Boulder, Colo., had just 11,724 members in 2006. That number has since almost tripled; the group hit the 30,000 mark in February.
Locally, a group called Traverse City Homebrewers Order of Practicing Zymurgists, or TC-HOPZ for short, started up in late 2009 to give area brewers a forum to share tips, recipes, experiences and, of course, beer. Founded by Blake Key, Bob Reinke and Terry Pratt, it had a half dozen members at the beginning. Participation has grown steadily, with about 30 on the roster now.
“The home brewers out there, we know they’re making better beer than the major breweries,” Jones said.
Why the growth?
There are numerous reasons for the surge in home brewing.
For one, home brewing was made illegal by Prohibition, which was repealed in 1933. However, brewing at home wasn’t legalized again until 1979 when the Jimmy Carter administration passed a bill sponsored by California Sen. Alan Cranston creating an exemption from taxation for beer brewed at home for personal or family use. It also lifted the requirement for licenses that could entail a $1,000 bond, making it cost-prohibitive to produce beer at home.
Once that major obstacle was overcome, modernization and technology kicked in. So did the Internet, with information on how to brew readily accessible. Message boards to share information, recipes and review equipment dot the web.
“There’s so much information out there that there’s no excuse not to know how to make beer if you want to,” said TC-HOPZ president Matt Therrien.
The Internet has also brought about easier ways to procure equipment and ingredients via brewing supply companies online. That has also carried over to brick-and-mortar stores, which pop up more frequently. There are more than a dozen home brew stores in Michigan alone, including one of the newest, Bad Teacher Brewing Supply on South Airport Drive in Traverse City.
Diversons and the Terrace Shopper in Traverse City also offer brew supplies, although not in the capacity that Bad Teacher’s 3,100 square feet can.
“I had a desire to brew and not the means to do it,” said Bad Teacher owner Bryan Snyder, who had trouble getting fresh grains and hops without ordering online and waiting for a week or two. “The response has been overwhelming by the brewing community. We hear two to three times a day they’re so glad somebody is doing this.”
Bad Teacher — so named because Snyder’s wife and co-owner Kristy is a teacher at Grand Traverse Academy and dislikes the phrase, “Those who can’t do, teach” — operates with the slogan, “Those who can, brew.”
The store offers 44 different types of grains used in brewing as well as equipment, hops, yeast and pre-packaged kits, occasionally offering free classes on how to start brewing.
Even the White House has joined in the brewing frenzy. President Obama has had three varieties of home brew made by White House staff — a honey brown ale, honey porter and honey blonde — all made with ingredients collected from a beehive on the South Lawn.
But home brewers get to be the president of their own company, choosing how and when to concoct their next drink.
“It’s working out with the time frame as well,” said Perreault. “I’m heading downstate for Christmas with the family, so I’ll have a nice batch of beer to bring. I’m looking forward to sharing it.”
According to the Dictionary of Word Origins, the term “beer” “was probably simply a general term for a ‘drink’: it seems to have come from late Latin biber, ‘drink,’ which was a derivative of the verb bibere, from which English gets beverage, bibulous, imbibe, and possibly also bibber.”
Not interesting, you say. I agree. The only reason I brought it up was that I don’t drink beer. Wine is my preferred alcoholic beverage, specifically a nice Merlot. But I won’t bore you with that, either. Anyway, most people do drink beer, which is not startlingly new news. But get this: lots and lots of people brew their own beer: in their kitchens, in their garages, in their basements, in their dungeons, probably even in their Midwestern bomb shelters.
Having a home brewing beer kit is getting to be like having a tattoo: if you don’t have one, you’re not cool. And the whole thing – both the home brewing and the tattoos (I don’t have one) – makes me feel inadequate. Getting a tattoo hurts and I’ve never been a big fan of pain, while home brewing seems like quite an undertaking, involving sterilizing, organizing, and lots of time.
Then, as if I wasn’t already feeling like a total wuss, I read an article stating that the president purchased home brewing equipment and ingredients. The White House is now brewing its own beer. They even have a White House blog on which they offer recipes for their official Honey Ale and Honey Porter. White House beer, the way I understand it, is made with honey harvested from a hive located on the South Lawn.
They have their own bees?
In case this is inspiring you to undertake home brewing, The Grape sells anything and everything you need to get started. Who knows? You could be the next Adolph Coors.
Read “Microbrewing in Miami.”
Thirsty for knowledge? Well public education in Miami just became little better after Florida International University started offering classes on how to brew your own beer.
The FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management introduces beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons for the Fall 2012 Beer Academy.
The classes begin this Saturday, September 8, at the FIU Biscayne Bay Campus. The Basic Home Brewing Course is a one day, four hour course where you get to work with home brewing kits like a Mr. Beer kit and learn the basics of brewing at home like sanitization, bottle recycling and ingredient calculations. Cost is $45 per person.
Then on September 22 there is the one day, six-hour Intermediate Home Brewing Course where you learn to brew and bottle mini-mash beer and how to filter and keg suds. Costs $55 per person.
And lastly on November 17 there is the six-hour Advanced All-Grain Brewing course that teaches you how to modify your recipes, sanitization of brewing equipment, beer filtering and utilization of brewing software. Cost is $65.
All materials are provided with the price of admission. Besides the knowledge they take home from the course, students receive a certificate of appreciate, a one day parking pass, a beer flight and get to take two bottles of their own home brew with them.
You can actually find home brew supply stores that sell you DIY equipment and materials to brew your own batches of beer for a little less than the cost of all three courses, but with FIU’s Beer Academy you get all of the science behind home brewing taught by an accredited university professor.
FIU professor and official wine judge Barry Gump and B.R.E.W. FIU president Matt Weintraub will be teaching the course. Gump’s scientific approach to making beer combined with Weintraub’s practical experience will give the public at large at taste of what FIU will have in store for its future microbrewing research laboratory.
Last March, Chaplin dean Mike Hampton announced the addition of a new research microbrewery to the school.
So far, FIU is the only public institution of higher learning in Miami to offer courses on making beer at home.
The beer-making courses are a trial run for FIU. Weintraub and Gump are teaching this course on their own time. “We’re basically taking the admission money and giving it straight to the university,” Weintraub says.
Space is limited for all classes, but extremely limited for the advanced course, which already has reserved seats for a few select area beer vendors. Once, and if, space is available then the remaining seats will open up to the public.
All students who enroll in the course are required to prove that they are over 21 years of age.
Follow Short Order on Facebook and Twitter @Short_Order.
3000 NE 151st St., North Miami, FL
Deep in the dog days of summer, a frosty beer on the patio can really hit the spot.
But instead of heading to the liquor store to stock up, a new generation of homebrewer is traipsing down to a basement beer fridge and choosing a bottle of homemade ale.
If homebrewing reminds you of your dad’s smelly experiment fermenting away in the basement, think again.
The beer kit your dad might have tried likely contained too much sugar and not enough malt (barley grains), says Dan Smalls, owner of Dan’s Home-brewing Supplies in Vancouver.
The bad-tasting brews that resulted gave homebrewing a bad name.
“When I first opened the store, there weren’t that many homebrewers,” said Smalls.
“It was tough convincing people that they could make good beer at home.”
Although the novice beer maker might be tempted to start with a pack-aged kit, it’s not necessary.
“You have to be really afraid of the kitchen not to be able to pull this off,” said Smalls, who sells different types of malt and hops, as well as beer-making equipment.
Smalls and his staff also provide advice and recipes.
Dave Shea, a 32-year-old software designer who lives in Vancouver, started making his own beer two years ago.
With the blessing of a wife who “lets me get away with more than I should,” Shea has carved out storage spots in his apartment for his beer equipment and turns his tiny home office into a fermentation nook when he has a batch on the go.
“I had an interest in beer for quite a while and I would seek out interesting microbrews and craft brews,” said Shea.
“I just wanted the interesting-tasting stuff, and I wanted a wide variety.”
Shea’s first attempt, a fancy double-hopped IPA, was a disappointment.
“I tend to be a pretty harsh critic of any beer, including stuff that I make, so when I tasted it I thought there’s a lot of flaws here,” said Shea.
“The yeast just took off and went insane,” said Shea.
“I came home after a day at work, less than 24 hours after it started, and the airlock was just hissing and there was yeast caught in it.
“I started feeling like if I didn’t do something about it, it was probably going to blow up.”
After a panicked Internet search, Shea found some tips on how to release the pressure and managed to avert a sticky disaster.
Since then, he has brewed dozens of batches in many styles, from pale ales to IPAs to stouts and Belgian beers.
The most unusual homebrew Smalls has come across is a Belgian ale made with purple Hawaiian potatoes.
“It was actually quite good.” “People can take off in all kinds of directions,” said Smalls.
“There are people who discover Belgian ales and that’s all they make. . . . That’s the beauty of homebrewing.”
For more information about home-brewing, visit beermaking.ca.
COLUMBIA — On Sundays you can find Jeff Menter* in his backyard shed brewing and drinking beer. Jeff has been brewing his own beer for several years now, but he’s just getting started and has no plans of stopping.
One of the most rewarding parts about brewing beer for Menter isn’t just the moment where you can savor the batch you just brewed, but being able to share and enjoy it with friends and family.
In a cramped shed at 9 a.m., empty carboys sit waiting to be filled, bags of grain wait to be cracked and Menter fills an empty keg with water to begin the boil for making beer that day.
Menter didn’t get into brewing until he started drinking good beer, he said. In fact, he didn’t even enjoy the taste of beer at first.
“Throughout my teens and my twenties I just didn’t like beer at all, I thought it tasted horrible,” Menter said.
It wasn’t until trying beers such as Chimay Grande Réserve Blue and Stone Ruination IPA that Menter became interested in beer and brew culture. Soon after his interest in beer sparked, Menter bought a beer brewing kit and began making beer in his kitchen.
“I got a kit and made a batch of beer and it wasn’t the greatest beer in the world, but it was beer and from then on I was pretty hooked on making beer,” he said.
Menter eventually reached a point where his beers were just as good as the ones he could buy. Once reaching that milestone it was hard for him to stop brewing.
“Being able to make beer that’s really good and you like it and your friends like it, that’s pretty amazing and a pretty cool thing to be able to do,” he said.
While brewing beer has been a rewarding and exciting experience for Menter, it didn’t always come as easy as it does now. Starting out, brewing beer appeared to be a very daunting process and certain aspects of the brew process can still be difficult.
“The most difficult part in brewing by far is just having patience to let the beer become beer,” Menter said. “There is a tendency to want to bottle it too quickly and drink it. Giving it a month or two of just sitting there turns it into an entirely different well-rounded beer.”
Menter and his neighbor Holly Henry eventually decided to combine their brew systems and brew together on Sunday. Menter then created a group on Facebook and began inviting friends over to help clean, bring food and have a good time.
“(Sunday) seemed like a good day,” Menter said. “It’s sort of our religion, like going to beer church, and we invited people and they brought food and beer and it turned into a regular Sunday thing. It makes it easier and makes it more fun and it’s cool seeing people get interested in making beer.”
By Caroline Henshaw
Australia’s largest closely held beer maker, Coopers Brewery, is toasting its 150th anniversary with a new brand in its portfolio.
The Adelaide-based brewer has bought the U.S.’s largest home-brew brand , Mr Beer, in a “multimillion dollar” deal. Coopers’s first major acquisition in almost 30 years aims to cement its position among the leaders of the global home beer-making market in terms of sales volumes.
Marketing manager of brewing products, Scott Harris, told Deal Journal Australia the acquisition will help Coopers tap into the U.S. do-it-yourself beer kits market, which has grown at around 10% a year over the past decade.
He estimated the tie-up, which has been brewing since Mr Beer first approached Coopers in Nov. 2010, will boost sales volumes in its beer kit market by around a quarter. Home brewing currently accounts for around 30% of Coopers’s revenue.
“The potential home brew market in the U.S. is huge,” Mr. Harris said. “In 2011, Mr Beer sold more than 200,000 home brew starter kits and there are no signs of that demand waning.”
Based in Tucson, Arizona, Mr Beer distributes home brew starter kits, concentrates and accessories to more than 14,000 stores across the U.S. and directly to consumers online. Coopers is already the world’s largest producer of home brew concentrates, with distribution channels in more than 20 countries.
Mr. Harris said Coopers plans to make some “subtle” changes to the Mr Beer brewing kits that will reduce the need for sugar in the process. But he said the Australian parent has no intention of taking the fizz out of Mr Beer’s market by altering its branding or replacing its smaller-sized kits.
“The smaller 8-liter Mr Beer kits are very popular with American consumers and retailers,” he said. “We won’t be changing things there, but we expect there will be some opportunity for cross distribution in the future.”
Mr Beer was established in 1993 and purchased by Mike Bernstein in 1999. He will retain a shareholding in the company and stay on as managing director.
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