Have you ever wanted to make your own beer like Schraderbräu? Well, now you can. With the mircrobrew “revolution,” home brewing beer has become accessible to the masses. Also, with the help of kickstarter, some home brewers have even opened up their own breweries like Jonathan Porter at Smog City Brewery in Los Angeles.
Last night, my dad and I attended a brewmaster class at Eagle Rock Home Brew Supply where we learned how to make a Rye IPA. For three hours we went through the basics: 1, steep your grain, 2, add in malted grain, 3, add in three types of hops (bitterness, flavor and aroma), and 4, add yeast. It’s definitely more complicated than that, as illustrated by my pages of copious notes, but it’s not impossible to figure out.
Most of the class was waiting for water to boil so we were entertained by beer history and fascinating factoids.
- Beer is one of the oldest documented and universal recipes because it was the usually safer and more sanitary than water.
- IPAs (India Pale Ales), are traditionally so “hoppy” because hops acts like a preservative and the beer had to last the long journey from England to India.
- Darker beers are not necessarily stronger than lighter ones. Color mostly has to do with the type of grain and how its processed.
- There is a seasonal timeline for brewing. For example, right now when it’s so hot, it’s a great time to brew a Hefeweizen or a Belgian style beer but it is a terrible time to brew an IPA (unless you have a temperature controlled environment). We tried an IPA that had been brewed when it was too hot and it was awful.
The class cost $10 for three hours of hands on brewing (and $5 of it goes towards the purchase of a home brewing kit). The kits are not exactly cheap with the basic kit coming in at about $80 plus the cost of materials (yeast, hops, grain etc…).
Will I be brewing my own beer soon? Absolutely not. When they passed around the containers of hops to smell I took a big whiff and immediately felt sick to my stomach. I turned to my dad and said, “Oh my God this reeks of pot.” He looked took a whiff and said, “Yup, definitely has a pot smell.” We then looked at each other quickly and said, “Not that I would know…” Awkward…. However, I do love hard cider, which apparently, is easier to brew, so I think I might be trying that next.