Find a back issue

Brews News: Surefire Hit or Satan in a Sunday Hat? You Be the Judge.

It was bound to happen. Williams Sonoma, aka the folks who brought “keeping up with the Joneses” to the kitchen, has entered the world of mail-order homebrew (except they call it “artisanal beer,” natch).

Check it out:

With their apartment-friendly beer-making kits, Erica Shea and Stephen Valand of the Brooklyn Brew Shop make it easy to craft artisanal beer – right in your own kitchen. Showcasing the finest barley, hops, yeast and spices, your all-natural home-crafted brew will taste as great as the premium artisanal beers served at the best brew pubs.

Choose either fresh summer wheat beer or India Pale Ale (IPA), a pub favorite with bold, hops-intensive flavor.
Includes the specialty equipment and ingredients you’ll need for home-brewing, including enough grain, hops and yeast for your first batch.
Additional equipment and ingredients required: six-quart pot, fine-mesh strainer, funnel, honey and ice.
Step-by-step instructions guide you through every stage: the mash, the sparge, the boil, fermentation and bottling.
The entire brewing process takes approximately 17 days.
Each mix produces 1 gal. of IPA beer or fresh summer wheat beer.
Equipment can be reused over and over to make more fresh beer.

Kit includes:

1-gal. glass fermenting jug.
Screw-cap stopper.
3-piece chambered airlock.
Racking cane.
4′ tubing.
Tube clamp.
12″ laboratory thermometer.
Sanitizer packet.
Ingredient mix (choose summer wheat or IPA).

jump for the burning questions…

Now, I have my own opinions about this, especially when we have such fine Homebrewing resources right in our own backyard. But I’d like to hear from the real homebrewers out there—the weekend warriors, the basement brewers. What thinkest thou about this? More specifically:

Can a mail order kit provide the instruction necessary for the novice homebrewer to be successful, or will this prove more frustrating than fruitful?

Should a copy of The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing (3rd edition) be included?

What about the price? Is $39.95 going to undercut our mom & pop homebrew shops?

And more importantly, is anyone out there willing to try this out and give us their opinion?

2 comments on “Brews News: Surefire Hit or Satan in a Sunday Hat? You Be the Judge.

  1. No doubt, this can’t give you the info you need to get started. Sure, you’ll be able to brew some beer and it’ll probably taste ok, but there is a ton more that goes into it. “The New Complete Joy…” is an incredible companion, but the advice of guys at homebrew stores (Homebrew Headquarters is my choice outpost) is invaluable. You can get supplies to brew five times more beer for only about twice the price.

  2. I am a homebrewer who tried Brooklyn’s kit out or curiosity (and excitement), since it promised to be a cheap and easy way to do all-grain brews. However, the kit they sent me was missing hops (they offered me $5 off my next order after several ‘are you sure you’re not an idiot’ type questions over email), shipping cost was $12 for just the batch, the equipment they recommended was limited to do the job and the batch tasted a little off… barely drinkable. It may have been that I used extra hops that were in my fridge instead of what the recipe called for, but the experience was enough to make me want to stick to the local homebrew store. If you want to go all-grain, you really need more equipment and experience with extract brewing first.