I want to tell you about a revolution in home beer making and it’s coming to your countertop. And it’s coming first to BBC17. No one is producing this kind of compact technology except one Group soon to launch on Kickstarter. But first, some home brew context perhaps you can relate to!
I remember living in a low-rise apartment building in a downtown Montreal neighborhood.
It was the early 1990s, and the craft brew Nation (read Continent) was just waking up. On hot summer evenings, I’d regularly head over to the local ‘depanneur’ (French for corner-store) and grab a six-pack of whatever was local at the time: St Ambroise Pale Ale or Belle Gueule Rouge and on occasion, a quart of high alcohol Fin du Monde – a Quebec tripel style craft beer you may be familiar with.
Anyway, at the time, there were laws that forbade anyone from brewing at home in Quebec so some of us would make the one-hour drive over provincial lines to small town Ontario where small but thriving make-your-own businesses were easy to find. Pick your brew style, combine the measured ingredients into their pot and come back two weeks later to bottle. You would have fresh, pure-made beer to last you most of the summer – if you didn’t mind having to make a minimum 50 liters (13.2 gallons).
One afternoon while reposing on my couch, I recall catching wafts of a sweet odor coming from my apartment’s hallway. I followed my nose out into the corridor and up the stairs where the smell was noticeably stronger and proportionately more foul. Near the end of the hallway a door was ajar and I heard the sounds of bubbling liquid.
Peering inside, I saw what looked like a still on a stovetop. At the center, was a large glass container half full of some bubbling, yeasty concoction – the source of that horrible smell!
The still’s owner welcomed me in and told me to leave the door open, since he was trying to vent his apartment due to the intense aroma of his home-made beer project. I don’t recall chewing him out, but do remember asking when it would be ready and could I return for a pint. He agreed. I did and it was fantastic. Nowadays, the beer brewing revolution is exploding of course – that’s why you’re headed to Milwaukee after all! Now technology is catching up and tidying up, too for the home brewing aficionado who doesn’t want the mess, cleaning and sanitizing associated with crafting your own. Recently, I caught wind of the HOPii smart home-brewing platform. Picture a Keurig but for beer.
Seriously! I’m talking about a stylish counter top unit that uses ‘wort’ or beer juice from your favorite craft brewer. Via an easy web app, that brewer (local or across the country) also provides ingredients such as dry hops and a coffee-stick pack of yeast and, in about a week you and your friends are drinking fresh, consistently-made, truly ‘local’ brew (from your own kitchen).
Makes about three liters (101.4 oz) at a time. And yes, on the app not only can I pick creative recipes from all over, I can connect with other HOPii fanatics who are also enjoying the freshest tastes right out of the ‘tank.’ It’s as if you are inside the brewery!
I can’t wait to show you what the HOPii boys are cooking up at this year’s Beer Bloggers & Writers’ Conference. We’ll be there showing the HOPii system and invite you to try it for yourself. We have come a long way from those fragrant days in steamy Montreal, my friends.
See you in Milwaukee at BBC17, HOPii-ites!
Rob Maxwell is a freelance journalist and writer who now lives in Austin,Texas. He enjoys an array of craft and micro-brews from around the Lone Star State at every opportunity.