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Brewing Your Own Good Beer on the Cheap

Back in college, for kicks, I started brewing my own beer with kits I purchased from a company called Windriver Brewing Company [3], located out of Wisconsin. Two friends of mine in college actually started before me and, through their urging, I started to brew myself. Since graduating though I haven’t brewed a batch and I’m looking to get back into it since it was so much fun and so easy to do.

For the frugalists out there, you can get a full kit (I have the All World Apprentice kit [4]) for $57.95 (+ shipping) which comes with everything you’ll need to brew your first batch (except bottles), including an ingredient kit (Ingredient kits usually run about $25 a piece), and each batch makes 5 gallons, or 640 ounces, or fifty three beers. That’s a dollar a beer on your first batch and only fifty cents a beer on your second batch! The beer also only take three weeks to prepare (two weeks to brew in the bucket, one week to carbonate in the bottle) so you can enjoy it very soon after starting the process.

Brewing beer is really really simple and it’s an opportunity to try something new (and good). I’m a huge fan of stouts, I love Guinness, and so when you can get an Oatmeal Stout ($23.95) or a Milkhouse Cream Stout ($22.95) at that price, you can’t beat it. Imagine drinking Guinness-like (slightly different flavors of course) at fifty cents a bottle!

I’m not going to go into the details of how to brew beer except that it takes, in total, maybe five hours of time (spread across three days in the three weeks). You can also buy bottles (big bottles too to save on the time you’ll spend) or just keep bottles you drink (they can’t be domestic twist off bottle caps, they need to be bottle-opener necessary bottles like Samuel Adams or Newcastle).

The two friends who turned me onto the idea of brewing have since graduated to buying grains themselves and skipping the kit but I think kits are still the way to go for the novice weekend dabbler such as myself. Honestly, at 50 cents a beer for a high quality beer, how can you afford to not to brew your own beer?