Want to brew beer at home, but feel intimidated by getting equipment together and going through the whole process? Check out the Brewshop 101 class being taught at Prospect Heights homebrew shop Bitter & Esters. The class gives you hands-on experience in brewing a beer and will make you want to get going on your own!
Bitter & Esters was founded by homebrewers Douglas Amport and John LaPolla. In addition to having a range of homebrew supplies and being New York state’s only brew-on-premises location, they offer multiple classes on brewing every week. Brewshop 101 takes you through the basics, outlining the equipment needed and having you go through the process of brewing yourself. With a beer in hand of course, we set about brewing the famous White House Honey Ale recipe in honor of President Obama’s visit to Brooklyn that day.
LaPolla takes you from steeping grains, to adding extract, hops, potentially adjuncts (honey for us) and yeast while explaining the purpose of each addition. Cooling techniques, fermentation, bottling and most importantly sanitation are also discussed in-depth. You get a bit of a beer history lesson during the class as well. John and Doug are also good guys to have a beer with, and the shop’s creations we got to try over the course of the class were all tasty. You get a handy guidebook to take home with you too.
Once your brew is racked for fermenting, you’ll have to go back in four weeks to give it a try. Hopefully by then you’ll be brewing yourself and will have something to share at their monthly beer swap. By then you’ll also want to check out their advanced classes, like one where you try the same base beer brewed 8 ways with 8 individual kinds of hops. Or if all else fails, get some friends together and brew in the store itself on their 15-gallon system! You can sign up for the class through Vimbly.