Along with the rising popularity of craft beer, home brewing is a rapidly growing hobby worth checking out. It’s not as hard as you’d think to brew a delicious batch of beer either. These kits all provide a beginner-friendly intro to home brewing, whether you’re an aspiring brewmaster of just sick of paying $6 for a Bud Light.
Mr. Beer Premium Kit
What it is: The most readily available homebrew kit, Mr. Beer provides a basic fermenter, bottles, caps, recipes and ingredients, a.k.a. everything you need to brew your first two gallons of beer.
Why it’s cool: The kit is easy to use. Recipes rely on malt-extract powders and booster back to provide alcohol content and flavor—basically there’s a lot more mixing than brewing. Unfortunately, bags of powder don’t produce the best tasting beer, but they will give you a fast and easy introduction to brewing. If you’re looking to be more adventurous, listen to these guys and doctor up an excellent brew from what they give you by adding a few extra ingredients and steps.
$54.95 at mrbeer.com
Brooklyn Brew Shop 1-Gallon Kit
What it is: Like Mr. Beer, the Brooklyn Brew Shop kit is another all-in-one brewing package. However, you’ll have to supply your own bottles and caps once your beer finishes in the glass fermenter.
Why it’s cool: This is an authentic, but beginner friendly, craft brew experience. More labor-intensive than Mr. Beer’s formulations, the recipes use real hops and you’ll have to boil the ingredients to form the beer’s wort. It’s worth the time, though, to make flashy seasonals like “Jalapeno Session” or standbys like the Double IPA. The ingredients are fresh and tailored to please craft-beer lovers, and the gear looks professional and upscale, unlike the campier Mr. Beer products.
$40 at brooklynbrewshop.com
Love 2 Brew Complete Beer-Making Kit
What it is: A real-deal brewing kit, the Love 2 Brew will make five gallons of beer per batch and provides a solid foundation of gear for someone who wants to be a serious brewer.
Why it’s cool: The Complete Beer-Making Kit gives you quantity, quality and freedom. Unlike the other options, this doesn’t come with included recipes or ingredients (although they’re available on the website). For someone looking to experiment and source out their own ingredients, this kit will match that ambition. With a secondary glass fermenter, thermometer and hydrometer, the Love 2 Brew allows for complex brews and precise measurements.
$99.99 at love2brew.com
Austin Home Brew Commercial Clones
What it is: As the title indicates, these are recipe kits that let you brew commercial beers from home, and they’re available in both extract and all-grain varieties. Even if you already have a basic kit like Mr. Beer or Brooklyn Brew, these recipes are awesome buys (if you need gear too, Austin Home Brew sells full kits as well).
Why it’s cool: Simply put, you can make some of best beers in the world from your house. You can try nearly identical matches of hard-to-find beers like Vermont’s Heady Topper, the top-rated beer on BeerAdvocate.com. Even if you’re trying something familiar, the Commercial Clone provides high-quality ingredients with great potential.
Prices vary at austinhomebrew.com
Northern Brew All-Grain Starter Kit Bag
What it is: While the extract-based beer we’ve already showed you can still be delicious, nearly all advanced brewing is done all-grain, meaning everything is from scratch. This brew-in-a-bag creates a manageable entry into advanced brewing by providing every ingredient already portioned out, along with detailed instructions.
Why it’s cool: Whether you’ve been dabbling with extracts or you’re a bold novice, this is the ideal kit for your first all-grain experiment. Jumping to all-grain is when your beers will become your own personal creations, rather than a somewhat variable product of an extract recipe. While responsibility over every aspect of the brewing process may seem daunting for some, the rewards are unmatched.
$64.99 at northernbrewer.com