KITCHEN BITCH: Brewing A Belgian Tripel MAVIS LINNEMANN My boyfriend Doug had been pining for a brew kit for months, so I got him one for Christmas for about $80 from our local Brew ‘n’ Grow. (Yes, that’s really what it’s called. It’s for home brewers and folks into organic gardening and growing hydroponic, um, plants.) The kit came with almost everything Doug needed, except a brew kettle ($40 for a 5-gal. kettle on and a glass carboy, i.e., a fermenter, which he got for $35 from the Brew ‘n’ Grow. Once we had the all the supplies for actually making the beer, we chose a Dunkelweizen ingredient kit to brew first. While more advanced home brewers may gather their own ingredients, Brewer’s Best’s beer ingredient kits are great for novice brewers who need to familiarize themselves with the brewing process before getting too adventurous, much like novice chefs need to understand basic cooking techniques before they can create their own recipes. A Dunkelweizen is a darker version of the German wheat beer, hefeweizen, and it’s one of my personal favorites. It’s dark, but drinkable, and full of flavor. Since I bought the kit, I got to choose the first beer we brewed—it was only fair. These brew kits contain ingredients for what is called extract brewing, which means you’re using malt extract in place of some of the grains you would normally use in the brewing process. These kits are helpful for those with small kitchens because you can use a 5-gal. brew kettle instead a larger pot. With all the ingredients and supplies splayed on the kitchen counter at Doug’s apartment, he and his roommate Ian dove headfirst into brewing their first beer. The process itself is not difficult, but everything—and I mean, EVERYTHING—must be sanitized at all times. Just like in food service, cleanliness and sanitation in brewing are key to producing a delicious and safe product for consumption, so extra care and precautions have to be taken along the way. MORE

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