We cook from scratch a lot here at Food52 -- yogurt, granola, sriracha, ricotta, bread -- but before we met Stephen Valand and Erica Shea from Brooklyn Brew Shop, we'd never considered making our own beer.
It turns out that it's easy with their beer making kits, which contain everything you need but a stock pot, a strainer, and a funnel. The box comes with a gorgeous one-gallon glass fermenting jug, an airlock with plastic tubing to siphon beer into bottles, and one of the Brooklyn Brew Shop's custom grain mixes that have all the grain, hops, yeast, and spices you need to make your own delicious brew. All it takes is an afternoon of boiling, 2 weeks of fermenting, and 2 weeks of carbonation after you fill your beer bottles! And the equipment is 100% reusable -- you just need more grain.
Stephen and Erica started out selling the kits at the Brooklyn Flea in the summer of 2009 -- they wanted to scale down the beer brewing process and take it from serious hobbyists with piles of equipment to anybody with some space under the sink. The kits took off and are now sold nationally -- as well as in the Food52 Shop.
Erica pointed out that besides the smaller batch, there's no difference between their kits and what big-name brewers do -- and on a home scale, there's even more flexibility in the flavors you can add to your beer! We brewed their Chocolate Maple Porter, which has a healthy hit of maple syrup that a factory working on a large scale just wouldn't be able to afford. And there are even more recipes in their Beer Making Book, which is included -- signed by the authors! -- in our Shop deal. There's one with bourbon-soaked woodchips replacing the flavor of beer aged in bourbon barrels, and even a recipe for lobster beer: lobster shells, bay leaves, and peppercorns add up to a light beer with a deep sea minerality.
But don't take our word for it -- we made a video with Erica and Stephen all about the beer brewing process. Be sure to check out Brooklyn Brew Shop and our Shop deal. And when your bottles of custom brew are ready, won't you share one with us?