Saturday, September 18th, 2010

I think that at lease once, every beer enthusiast should brew a batch of their own beer. With that being said, there are many levels of what one would consider ‘homebrew’ or ‘brew-your-own’ – ie:, a makeshift lab in your damp and dingy basement or through a local wine / beer making service – I’ve done both and with mixed results. Now that I no longer have the time or the space to attempt to create the next aneheuser busch in my basement I rely on others such as the staff at Fermentations! to do it for me.

Realistically, most enthusiasts go through brew your own for one specific reason – to cut costs. Roughly $70 for three cases (for premium beer, others selections are cheaper) of beer ain’t too bad and if the output tastes better than turpentine, you’ve struck gold. I’ve had many a bottles of homebrew or brew-your-own and some have been effen terrible while others have been quite good.

I recently brewed a batch of Dunkle at Fermentations! on the Danforth in Toronto and was pleasantly surprised by the quality and taste of the beer. It was a nice amber as expected with a clean and malty flavour. Head was basically non existent but not a big deal – after all, this is brew-your-own and you can’t set the bar too high.

A few things to think about with the whole homebrew process – green plastic 500ml bottles are the norm for bottling your beer. Some enthusiasts my cringe at the thought of drinking beer out of a plastic bottle or ‘storing and pouring’ from plastic to glass when ready to drink…..big deal, suck it up. I started saving my glass bottles but found that they took up too much space and I was too lazy to thoroughly clean them out pre-bottling. The brewing process takes all of two weeks from start to finish. Your first visit will be to select your beer of choice and empty the yeast into the brew keg. Two weeks later it’s ready for bottling and even better – consumption!. Other brew-your-own services may require or allow you to interact more throughout the brewing process but this was my experience.

If you’re gonna whine because the taste isn’t as traditional or similar to what you would expect straight off the shelf, than this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for the experience, a drinkable beer and to save a little cake, look up your local brew-your-own and give’m a shot.

Bottom line – I was looking for the best bang for the buck and I got it. Three cases of drinkable beer in two weeks and for only $70. Staff was friendly, knowledgeable and we were allowed to sample our beer as we bottled.

201 Danforth Ave
Toronto, Ontario