So you’re thinking about brewing beer at home?
Lucky for you, many before you have adventured into homebrewing, pioneering the way for beer enthusiasts to start making their own brew in bathtubs. Right here in Brooklyn, there are classes you can take, kits you can buy, tried and true recipes you can follow as well as experiment with, since that’s one of the reasons you’re looking into this to begin with.
“I think anybody who homebrews likes to craft things from hand,” said Kevin Avanzato, general manager of Union Hall, which is hosting a homebrewing competition on June 15. “To be able to make your own beer, especially for a beer lover, is magical.”
For the beginner homebrewer, here’s a look at resources right at your fingertips, from stores where you can buy tools and ingredients (where would one buy hops, anyway?) as well as find friendly advice, to classes that specialize in homebrewing so you can venture forth confidently into the world of bottling your own brew. It’ll be the best beer you’ve ever tasted.
In January, Benjamin Stutz and Danielle Cefaro opened Brooklyn Homebrew in Gowanus, a space devoted to DIY brewing. Begin your adventure in homebrewing with a $75 introductory kit, which includes a fermenting bucker, bottling bucker, air lock, thermometer and other tools (to find out why exactly you need those items, check out our accompanying guide to homebrewing). For the serious homebrewer, stock up on refillable kegs. And there wouldn’t be any beer without grains, yeast, hops and malt extract, of which Brooklyn Homebrew sells a rotating variety.
Brooklyn Homebrew [163 Eighth St. near Third Avenue in Gowanus, (718) 309-4267]. For info, visit www.brooklyn-homebrew.com.
Brooklyn Brew Shop
On Saturdays at the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, you can find another couple that’s ventured into the homebrewing business — Stephen Valand and Erica Shea of the Brooklyn Brew Shop. They sell one-gallon brewing kits, as well as grain, hops, yeast and other equipment to brewing novices and pros, with the city dweller in mind — the kits are small for those with limited space, and made with glass for an aesthetically pleasing effect. Because not only do you want your beer to taste good, you want it to look good, too.
Brooklyn Brew Shop at the Brooklyn Flea [176 Lafayette Ave. between Clermont and Vanderbilt avenues in Fort Greene, no phone], and also online at www.brooklynbrewshop.com.
Brooklyn Kitchen Homebrewing Classes
Want some personal instruction before you jump in? At the Brooklyn Kitchen in Williamsburg, you can do just that, as well as mingle with homebrewers at their monthly Brewing Salon, or take specialized workshops in topics including yeast once you really know your stuff. But first, the basics; homebrewer extraordinaire Dan Pizzillo leads the spot’s homebrewing crash course (the next one’s up on June 10), where you can learn all about malt, yeast, and tools to brew at home, as well as get your own equipment kit. It’s the closest thing to beer school you can find.
Brooklyn Kitchen [100 Frost St. near Leonard Street in Williamsburg (718) 389-2982]. Upcoming homebrewing classes are on June 10 and 23 at 6:30 pm and cost $125. For info and to sign up, visit www.brooklynkitchen.com.