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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Beer Brewing - Making Beer at Home

[student repairing a radio] Digital ID: 3926023. New York Public Library
I’m a process person. If it were the 1950s, you could bet I would be sitting at the kitchen table, taking apart a radio just to see how it works 1980s boomboxes just weren't the same...). I like understanding the world around me, especially if it involves something I love – for example, BEER.

I like understanding the history of beer and how beer is made. The best way for me to understand both is to brew beer at home. Home brewing is gaining a large popularity, especially in the Portland area. Shops like U-Brew in Sellwood and the Homebrew Exchange in Kenton allow Portland beer enthusiasts to brew at home while having the expert guidance of those who also love to brew. 

Making beer is easier with these stores (and naturally the interwebs help, too), and having homemade beer at home can be as common as it used to be. The history of beer is filled with stories of homemade beer - Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both loved beer and had it made in their homes (Monticello had special places just for beer); in fact, it was much more common to have beer at the table that was brewed onsite, than it was store purchased (or tavern purchased, since I’m sure 7-11 was not around back during our Founder Father’s time).

Making beer at home is actually much easier than I had anticipated. The Homebrew Exchange in Portland sells a “Pico Brewery Beer Kit” for $24. The kit includes everything need to beer one gallon of beer with the exception of the actual ingredients - but hark! You can buy these, too, at HBX, for only $9.00. Since this is my first time brewing beer, I do not claim to be an expert on the subject. In fact, this blog entry is more a commentary on how easy beer making is at home - I'd like to hear your commentary on how easy you find it to brew beer. Why do you brew at home? Are you a process person like me, enjoying beer more because you understand it? Or do you just love to create and drink something you find damn tasty?

Below are my pictures from my first test batch - it will take 2 weeks to ferment, but when its done I will let everybody know how it is!

Malts ready to boil. 
Malted grains boiling in water.
Malts after boiling.
Hop pellets added during the wort process.
Cooled beer has yeast added and is now fermenting.

Want to learn more about making beer? Popular Mechanics has written THIS article, which is a decent explanation.

{ prost! }

1 comment:

  1. I recently started my hand at brewing beers at home. While it is fairly easy with kits like the one I used, "Mr. Beer", I have learned there are still mistakes that can and do go wrong. My first batch I used filtered water, result....a cider beer, which is not at all what my beer was suppose to be, but it taught me to next time use bottled water for my brewing. I still enjoy home brewing and currently working on some different recipes to try, so do not feel like you are chained to what the home brew company offers for beer styles, there are still options you can make.