It’s Not Just About Beer

The words “home brewing” send just about every mind off in the same direction. Beer, and probably fairly dark beer at that. But variety in home brewing isn’t just about making a drinkable lager, or amping up the darkness and producing a stout. In reality, there is a lot more you could be doing if you are prepared to diversify your portfolio (and, in some cases, invest in more equipment). It might not be advisable to try making hard liquor (the margin of error is narrower and getting it wrong could blind you) but there is more you can do.

A good change-up from beer is cider. It is, of course, an entirely different drink and some of the ingredients are completely changed. The most obvious is the central ingredient. Beer is made with hops, cider is usually made with apples. And indeed, for your first few efforts you should not make cider with anything else. Get the hang of apples and you can then look at brewing more interesting ciders – there is a fashion in a few countries right now for pear cider (otherwise known as “perry”), as well as other, sweeter flavors.

If you fancy an even bigger change, then it is possible to make wine at home too. Indeed, this is a pretty common practice in France. Even some of the wines on sale in stores close to you were not made from grapes grown in a giant vineyard – some of them are from true family businesses in California, France and elsewhere. Obviously, the fresher the grapes the more delicate the wine will be – but if you can grow your own or find good fresh ones nearby it is worth the effort.