For nine days, my closet has doubled as a mad scientist’s laboratory.
Hidden away in a two-gallon keg next to an old pair of boots and a broken printer, yeast strains are chowing down on sugar clumps, turning a viscous brown substance into one of Earth’s greatest miracles—alcohol. For the first time, I am attempting to brew my own beer.
Though my love for beer runs deep, I hadn’t given much thought to home brewing until very recently. To be honest, I always thought it pretty daunting. Not only is there a seemingly endless list of equipment I assumed one needs, but then you have to know about ratios and chemical reactions and proper sanitization. How am I supposed to know the right temperature for wort-stewing?! (Filling in the gaps of my limited knowledge of the process with nonsense terms only added to my brewing anxiety.) It was enough to make me not even want to think about beer (the horror). Besides, the pros do it pretty well, don’t they? Let’s just leave it to them.
But then I found this:
This glorious box contains all the materials needed to brew a batch of beer— pre-measured ingredients, bottles, some of the easiest instructions I’ve ever read, and lots of tips on making your beer taste exactly how you want. Fool-proof. I immediately added it to my Amazon wishlist just days before Christmas, hoping someone in my family would see it by chance and exclaim that they had found the perfect gift for me.
Needless to say, this was the best present I received in 2011.
Surely there are some serious home brewers who have plenty of disparaging things to say about a kit like this one from Mr. Beer, but I don’t know any of them and they don’t matter to me. In half an hour, I had created a wort, treated a fermentation tank, and successfully made my kitchen smell like a brewery.
The process was way more fun than I anticipated. My cat was immensely curious.
Since then, I’ve been impatiently waiting for the fermentation stage to end. In just five days I should be able to bottle my beer (eek!), and then impatiently wait some more.
A woman on the bus noticed me transporting the kit and said she believed I could gain money and fame from my beer. Dare to dream.