If the recession is taking a bite out of your beer budget, now may be the time to unleash your inner hopped-up mad scientist and start home brewing. If the chemistry of brewing seems intimidating, fear not, says Kyle Trammell of The Beer Nut (1200 S. State, 801-531-8182), a State Street destination for home-brewing kits, supplies and info. “It can get to be like cooking mac ’n‘ cheese,” Trammell says, adding cheerfully, “And you don’t even have to be sober when you do it.”
To brew while stewed may be a little advanced for the beginner. But with some basic instructions, even first-timers can have their first batch boiled and in the fermentation bucket in a matter of four to six hours.
The Beer Nut offers many starter options. The brew gear itself ranges from $84 to $300. The basic kit ($84) includes a 6.5-gallon fermenter, a 5-gallon priming and bottling bucket, hydrometer (for measuring alcohol content) and other gadgets, as well as an instructional booklet and DVD.
Again, there’s a lot of science to the process, but for a beginner, it can be as simple as adding a malt base syrup to water with a specialty malt, bringing it to a boil for about an hour and then leaving it to ferment in a controlled environment for seven to 14 days.
Some of The Beer Nut’s starter kits take out a lot of the guesswork, too. You can buy a kit with the ingredients to make all manner of ambers, pale ales and stouts. The Beer Nut staff takes special pride in the ingredient kits as they personally fine-tune the ratios of hops, yeasts and malts in the packages to ensure a tasty brew each time.
Here is how you can really start saving your beer bucks: Take Belgian Tripples, for example. At the bar, these tasty imports might set you back more than $10 a bottle. Brew it yourself and you get the same taste for about $37.95 a kit, which equals two cases, or 5 gallons worth, of delicious high-gravity beer.
The Beer Nut also offers beginner’s guides to making wine and even sodas, like root beer and ginger ale. For $15, you can attend brewing classes that generally run after-hours on the last Sunday of the month. Participants get 20 percent off ingredients they purchase that night (call ahead to double-check class times).
Brewing your own beer may not be more cost-effective than just pounding PBRs, Trammell says, but it is a good option for those thrifty individuals who enjoy the finer beers in life.
“Buying for craft and good beer is well-worth it financially,” Trammell says. Cheers to that.
For supplies and info, check out The Beer Nut, 1200 S. State, 801-531-8182, BeerNut.com; also visit Art’s Brewing Supplies, 642 S. Washington St., 801-533-8029