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There’s no delicate way to put this: I’m a moron. In some of the ways; not all of the ways. If you gave me an IKEA desk with all of the tools, none of the instructions, and a hundred years, I’m not sure I could ever put it together properly. Hell, I couldn’t do it if you were to give me instructions, either. Which is why homebrewing scares the crap out of me: I don’t think I could ever do it.
But like most morons, I’m often wrong. And after talking to Jamie Williams, co-owner of CO-Brew, a brewery/homebrew supply shop in Denver, CO, I think I might even be able to homebrew. Maybe you’re a moron like me, and you think homebrewing isn’t for you. Well, the below step-by-step instructions might just change your mind.
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Step #1: Go to a homebrew store and buy a kit.
A moron might be tempted to buy a kit online and be done with it, but there’s a huge amount of knowledge that can be gained by talking to the people who work at those shops! For example, how do you know which kit to buy? “We sell The Brewer’s Best homebrewing kits,” Williams tells me. “We have six versions at different price points with various quality of components, from $80 up to $200.” Based on what your needs are, someone at the shop can help steer you to the kit that’s best for you. Plus, a relationship with people who already homebrew will also come in handy in a few steps.
Step #2: Buy a book.
Morons don’t usually like to read, but in this case, it might be a really good idea. Williams recommends two books to help get you started: How to Brew by John Palmer (now in its 4th Edition with new updates for 2017) and The Complete Joy of Home Brewing by the founder of the American Homebrewers Association, Charlie Papazian. He’s the guy who basically started the Great American Beer Festival. NBD. In other acronym news, the AHA also offers easy step-by-step instructions on how to brew once you have a kit. So you don’t need the book, but it’s a good thing to have.
Step #3: Become a member of the AHA.
Since you’re already spending the money on equipment, you might as well drop a few bucks on a membership ($43). It’s worth it. “They have tons of online resources,” Williams says. “There’s a forum, all kinds of recipes, and articles. You also get their magazine Zymurgy.” He also offers discounts to members at his store, something other homebrew shops around the country do, too. And there are benefits exclusive to members, like tickets to events like Homebrew Con.
Step #4: Ask a million questions.
A dumb moron will make mistakes because he or she was too ashamed to ask questions. A smart moron will ask questions of anyone who will listen. And you know who loves to field those questions? You guessed it: people who work at homebrew shops. “With every new person who shops here, we put a business card in with [the kit] because almost everyone has a question while they’re getting started,” Williams says. Or if talking to someone to their face is too daunting (a common issue in the modern age), ask those questions on the AHA forum! We bet a ton of other people had the exact same question.
Step #5: Download an app.
Because referring to your laptop when you’re in the process of brewing is a huge pain in the butt, you should download the AHA’s app Brew Guru, and keep that knowledge on your phone, at the tips of your malt-covered fingers.
Step #6: Drink.
This is the best step, and one you’ll only reach after sanitizing, and brewing, and sanitizing again and again and waiting for the beer to ferment. Sure, it’s easier to go to the store and buy a six-pack, but there’s only one beer that has your own blood, sweat, and tears in it, and that’s the beer you brew at home. Good luck!
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