Now I love a great brew and I’m even more fascinated by the art of brewing, which I admittedly have little physical experience with. My husband, Steve, on the other hand is the beerhead and the brew master in the family so when we’re out I pick his brain about styles and taste profiles before I order. Though I’ve wanted to go to a make-your-own-beer shop and Steve has promised to get his beer making equipment out of storage our plans never seem to come together. So when the folks over at the Village Wine Shop on Queen Street East gave me a bottle of “The Big & Easy-Bottle Brew” in Mexican Cerveza style I was as giddy as a kid with their first Easy Bake Oven.
I was really excited to try my hand at what promised to be fool-proof, rapid home brewing. Granted the hard work had already been done by the manufacturers since what you’re actually getting is mircobrewed “wort” in a bottle. Wort being the liquid extracted from the mashing process during the brewing of beer (or whiskey). Wort contains all of the sugars that will be fermented by the brewing yeast to produce the alcohol in your beverage of choice.
After unscrewing the specially designed pressure cap, this is so your beer doesn’t explode while it ferments, I dropped in the provided yeast capsule, screwed the top back on, placed the bottle in a kitchen cabinet and waited 12 days for the fermentation process to finish. At the end of what seemed like 3 weeks of waiting we refrigerated the beer for an additional 12 hours before opening it (really important step) and were presented with a semi-clear, mild beer that wasn’t half bad for $5.
Aside from having to wait for 12 days it is the cheapest, most decent quality beer you can get these days for that price and it’s much better than the cheap $1/beer brands The Beer Store sells by the case. Not to mention it’s damn good fun! If you’ve got the space for it you can keep multiple batches going and always have a good supply of home brew on hand to enjoy and share. Heck, Big & Easy brews may just beat out cookies for party gifts this holiday season.
The Big & Easy comes in three styles: Premium Pilsner, Red Lager and Mexican Cerveza and yields a 5% alc/vol brew. If you really want to be creative you can add small quantities of dried “adjunct” to your wort before you add your yeast capsule. Dried citrus peel, spices and herbs are great options but in small quantities least they overpower your brew.
Have fun and let me know what you come up with when you finally try it.