Above, is the latest project over here at the Cooking with Books Headquarters. Beer Brewing! We had the chance to partner up with Uncommon Goods and brew up one of their kits offered online. As avid beer drinkers, M and I were incredibly interested in making our own beer and this kit definitely made it easier (although it was still a process that needed full concentration, so don’t drink and brew!) They also have great beer oriented gift ideas, perfect for the holidays which you can check out here.
Craft brewing is unlike the PBR’s we used to drink during the summer after a 16 hour shift in the restaurant. It’s an art form using some of the best ingredients to create a product that’s out of this world. Unique flavors are imparted with the malted barley, yeast, hops, and water. And that’s where it all begins, water.
Use the purest water form you can find because whatever imperfections or extra added minerals or chlorine in your water, they will shine through in the end result. We typically consume tap water here on Martha’s Vineyard but decided to be safe and use 100% natural spring water from Poland Spring. The recipe calls for one gallon. You could also just use a water filter and filter your tap water.
Up next we have the hops. What are hop you ask? They’re a cluster of flowers, used typically in beer making to impart bitterness to your beer. You know when someone describes a beer to be very “hoppy”? It’s exactly that – the amount of hops added to the beer is higher than a regular brew, to shine through and create that characteristic. If it weren’t for the hops, the beer would be bland and sweet.
And then comes the malted barley. Ours was a Briess Bavarian Wheat, which gave our beer it’s distinct flavor as well as being the “primary source of fermentable sugars in brewing.”
And last but not least, was the yeast. It’s the living organism in the beer that helps convert the sugar to alcohol, while releasing CO2, helping to carbonate your beer. Eventually, the yeast dies and stop fermenting, thus beers are regularly 4-6% alcohol.
And now, the big reveal!!! Below is our Hefeweizen, which we named “the murray brew” of course (that’s why this makes such a great gift for guys – more here)! We love learning so much about the ingredients that go into making a craft brew, as well as the process and even about in what to serve the beer in. The kit includes a handbook on how to make the beer, with step by step instructions that definitely help you along the way. Want your own kit? Head on over to Uncommon Goods and check out the variety of kits available.
Disclosure: Thanks to our friends over at Uncommon Goods for sending us this kit to play around with and discover the world of craft brews. You’ve got us hooked!