I’ve been home brewing beer off and on again since 2006, and for a while there I was getting pretty good at it. While my first few batches were decidedly uninspired and had that “home brew taste” (usually caused by pitching too little yeast and cracking open the bottles after too little fermentation, FYI), but soon enough my brewing buddies and I were altering recipes on the fly, adding everything from peanuts and chocolate to porters and Earl Grey tea to ales.
After a long hiatus, I started home brewing again about a year ago, and I quickly fell back in love with the hobby, which was easy to do because I still had all my old kit – wort chiller, primary fermenter, hygrometer, carboy, bottling bucket, bottle capper, all that stuff. If you have been thinking about trying your hand at brewing your own beer – and the time of quarantine is about as perfect a time as ever – then you don’t need to assemble a full brew kit with all that stuff and then some, and you don’t have to have one bit of prior brewing knowledge, not when you get the Mr. Beer Craft Beer Kit, which comes with everything you need to brew a two-gallon batch of beer (save water, a brew pot, and a big spoon or spatula).
The process here is straightforward and step-by-step. You mix the extract with the right amount of water and bring it to a short boil. You put the wort (unfermented beer) into the fermenter and pitch the yeast. A week or so later, you bottle the stuff and add carbonation tablets. A couple more weeks and your drink it.
Now, listen, I get it (the purists will still rage): this is hardly a comprehensive brewing kit. It’s an all extract brew without a bit of grain to be seen. Said extract is pre-hopped, so you don’t even need to manage your own hopping schedule. And sure, carbonation tablets are anathema for the serious brewer. Here’s the thing: if you know what extract vs. grain or hopping schedules mean in the first place, this brew kit is not marketed for you.
This is a true beginners home brew kit – one meant to remove as many barriers to trying the hobby as possible, AKA ones that makes brewing beer at home very easy (and very hard to mess up). If you enjoy the process of using this $45 kit that yields two gallons of homemade brew, then you may decide it’s worth investing the $200 or so into a full-sized kit, five-gallons being the basic “full sized” home brew batch. (For reference, the ingredients needed to make a five-gallon batch of fine home brewed beer usually cost around $40 to $60, so once your initial investment in equipment is settled, it’s much more economical to brew larger batches than keep getting Mr. Beer kits.)
And if you try this super simple home brew kit and decide you’d really rather just stick with beer made by the pros, at least your investment was small and you got some beer out of it.