The Gazette / SudSisters / Colorado Springs, CO –
By Monica Mendoza
Summer seems like a great time to serve homemade beer.
Time to get out that Mr. Beer home-brewing kit and get started. A lot of home brewers, who now boast their own more sophisticated brewing equipment, started with a Mr. Beer kit, said Rich Mock, one of three founders of the Brew Brothers of Pikes Peak brewing club.
Using the kit is a good, inexpensive way to try home brewing to see if you’ve got the patience and the palate curiosity, he said. “I brewed with a kit in the ’80s and it didn’t come out that well,” he said. “In 2005, a friend bought me some supplies. I had half the kit and he bought me the rest and the book ‘The Complete Joy of Homebrewing.'”
Home brewing is fun and social, Mock said. It’s one reason why his club has grown from three guys to more than 150 members.
“There is big interest in craft beer,” Mock said. “People want to drink a quality beer. People are more conscious of flavors. With home brewing, you can be much more creative.”
It’s why he started home brewing.
When brewing a batch, Mock sets aside four hours. That includes time to sanitize all the equipment. Any kind of microorganism can contaminate the beer and make it sour, he said.
According to the American Homebrewers Association, there are 23 styles of beer and 100 sub-styles. These include pale ale, pilsner, sour and spice.
A Mr. Beer kit comes with all the ingredients to make two batches of beer – “Grand Bohemian Czech Pilsner” and “Aztec Mexican Cervesa.” It assumes you will have a thermometer and boil pot.
Mark McGough got a Mr. Beer kit for Christmas. His buddies at work were always talking about making their own beer, but McGough wasn’t sure he wanted to go all in with supplies and buying ingredients. And even though he is a chemical engineer, he rather liked the idea that the kit had everything premeasured.
“It turned out great,” he said.
The toughest thing about brewing the beer was waiting for it to ferment, he said. For his first batch, he waited two weeks.
Fermenting can be tricky, Mock said. The beer kit comes with a mini beer barrel. But most home brewers use a large plastic bucket. After the beer mixture cools and the yeast is added, it goes into the barrel or bucket and is sealed. But the bucket needs an air lock to allow the CO2 to escape and keep the beer from exploding. And it does explode, Mock said.
“We always say, you are not a home brewer until you mop the ceiling,” Mock said.
For those venturing on their own, without the beer kit, Mock’s advice is to hang out with a brew club to watch and learn. Then, he said, keep a beer diary of beer-making steps.
“So you can repeat it if it’s good and avoid if it’s bad,” he said. “Everyone has thrown out a batch of beer.”
Over time, home brewers will start messing around with the recipes, adding spice and special ingredients.
“It’s all about finding balance,” Mock said. “That balance is a sign of a good home brewer.”
So expect to get messy, Mock said. Expect to brew a sour batch. “But don’t sweat it,” he said. “Relax. Don’t think too much about it. Don’t take it too seriously. It’s like making soup. Keep track of ingredients. Brew with a buddy.”
And the last step in beer making, according to the Mr. Beer kit instructions? “Call your friends.”
News article originally posted at: http://m.gazette.com/article/1520960