By Melissa Kravitz
for The Brooklyn Paper
Want to try your hand at home brewing but don’t know a wort from a trub? Never fear — Brooklyn has you covered like a nice foamy head (called a “krausen,” by the way). Here is beginner’s guide to starting your first fermentation with the help of borough experts.
Home brewing is a great money-saver in the long run, but you will need to invest in some ingredients and equipment upfront. In addition to yeast, hops, and malt, you will also need a large fermenting bucket, sanitizing solution, and bottling equipment. There are four major retailers in Brooklyn that can help set you up with everything you will need to get started, including pre-packaged beginner kits — Bitter and Esters in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn Kitchen in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Homebrew in Gowanus, and online retailer Brooklyn Brew Shop, with prices ranging from $40–$99 for a basic set-up.
You don’t need to take a class to learn brewing, but a few sessions with an expert will certainly give you a head-start and could avert some potential catastrophes. Plus, you may make some local brewing buddies to share and trade your new creations with.
Bitter and Esters offers several classes a week, with sessions for both fledgling fermenters and hardened hop-heads alike. Its weekly “Brewshop 101” class ($55), teaches the basics while making your first batch of beer. More experienced students can take classes on more specific brewing topics including yeast, grains, and recipe development.
For those who want to dive headfirst into the science of suds, Brooklyn Homebrew’s biweekly “101 Class” ($45) is taught by a high school biology teacher, and encourages plenty of note-taking for boozy homework. And the Brooklyn Kitchen offers a monthly two-hour homebrewing class ($65) that focuses on tasting microbrews alongside commercial products — demonstrating just how much better small-batch beer can be. CourseHourse, Brooklyn Brainery, and Skillshare also host homebrew classes in the borough.
Bitter and Esters [700 Washington Ave. between St. Mark’s Avenue and Prospect Place in Prospect Heights, (917) 596–7261, www.bitterandesters.com].
Brooklyn Kitchen [100 Frost St. at Meeker Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 389–2982, www.thebrooklynkitchen.com].
Brooklyn Homebrew [163 Eighth St. near Third Avenue in Gowanus, (718) 369–0776, www.brooklynhomebrew.com].
Brooklyn Brew Shop (www.brooklynbrewshop.com).
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