Great brews

Things You Should Know If You Want to Make Your Own Beer

5So, you have just started thinking about making your own beer at home. We welcome you to the club! More and more people prefer making their own beer at home, because this way they manage to save money and also obtain a type of beer that is more to their taste than the commercial products sold on the market. We want to help you by introducing you to the wonderful world of beer making. It is simple, it costs very little and it is fun! Now let’s see what things you should know should you start making your own beer at home.


The basic stuff


No beer could be made at home without the basic equipment, so we are going to introduce you to it. So, this is what you will need:


  • One large pot – you do not have to get one specifically for this purpose, any large pot in your kitchen will do
  • Strainer
  • Kitchen thermometer
  • Rolling pin
  • Funnel
  • Bottled water
  • Container
  • Polyvinyl tubing
  • Bottles


Besides equipment, you will also need the right ingredients. Beer is a very simple beverage, so your list of ingredients should be pretty straightforward, as follows:


  • 3 pounds dried malt extract
  • 8 ounces crystal malt (crushed)
  • 1 ounce pellet hops
  • 1 package brewer yeast
  • Half a cup of sugar


The above ingredients are for obtaining 2.5 gallons of beer. So, if you are planning to share your beer with your friends, this is the kind of quantity you can make to serve everyone with a fresh pint of homemade beer.



Essential steps


Making beer at home is pretty simple, so you do not have to be a rocket scientist to nail it right from the get go. We want to make things even simpler, by breaking them down into a few essential steps.


  1. The boiling


Crush the crystal malt in a bag with the rolling pin. Pour 2 ½ gallons of water into the large pot along with the grains. Go for medium high heat to bring the contents to temperature, then turn off the heater, cover and let it steep for half an hour. Use the strainer to remove the grains, then boil, without boiling over. Add 2/3 of the hop pellets and boil for one hour. At the end, add the rest of the pellets and turn off the heat. Cover again and let it steep for 10 minutes.


  1. Dealing with the wort


The above step was used for obtaining what is called the wort, or unfermented beer. This needs to be cooled before proceeding further. Immersing your pot in a bath of cold water is one quick method; the colder the water, the faster you will be able to cool down the wort. Make sure everything that goes in contact with your wort now is properly sanitized, or, otherwise, you will contaminate the beer. After cooling, pour the contents of the pot in the fermenting container and add from the remaining water if too much was lost during the boiling process.


  1. The fermentation

Now you add the yeast and seal the container. The fermentation process needs 7-10 days to work its magic. To finish the process, you also need to prime the beer. Remember about the sugar? Boil it with a cup of water for a few minutes, let it cool and pour it in another container where you are going to transfer your beer. This way, your beer will not have a flat taste, but quite flavorful and delicious!


When you’re done with the priming, too, pour your beer in bottles and put caps on all of them. Serve beer cold and enjoy all the praising from your friends. You are totally worthy of every word!

Great brews · Great food

6 Great Tips and Tricks for Hosting a Perfect Garden Party

Weather permitting, garden parties must be the most awesome way of getting together with friends and family and having a great time. However, they can also be a lot of work, and you need all the help you can enlist. In this post, we want to help you by offering you a few great tips and tricks that always get us going. We hope that they will help you host a perfect garden party that no one will forget anytime soon.

Go for a special garden party drink


What is a party without drinks? They are the soul of the party and they keep everyone going, regardless of whether they prefer sitting around, engaged in witty conversation or they are more active and get involved in backyard sports with the kids. Give your garden party a soul, by offering a special drink that everyone will love. A pink grapefruit Margarita, for instance, is an awesome idea, and so is Sangria, the famous Spanish drink that keeps you cool in summer. What will be your signature drink?

Keep a low profile so that everyone can enjoy themselves

Garden parties are not meant to be extravagant or sophisticated. They are the perfect opportunity for everyone to let their hair down and enjoy a pleasant time, together with friends. So, the idea is to keep a low profile. Don’t bring out the good-good china, or fancy utensils. A place where everyone will feel comfortable and at home will do. Do not necessarily go for paper plates, but, if this is how your friends will be at ease, don’t hesitate, either.

Create the right ambiance with the right music

A garden party would not be complete without music. Here is an idea that we enjoy tremendously. We have a vintage record player and we use it to play our favorite tunes directly from vinyl! Needless to say, all our friends enjoy the freedom to choose from the records we have, and the vintage player is a great conversation starter, too!

How about a nice centerpiece?


The table would not be perfect unless you add a nice centerpiece. Decorate the table as you see fit, but without encumbering it too much. After all, your guests must still be able to eat leisurely and the shyest ones should not find an excuse to avoid engaging in conversation with the person across the table from them, just because they found the perfect hiding place behind the centerpiece.

Tasty looking platters

For a garden party, food should be kept as simple and as tasty as possible. One bite appetizers and finger foods are all the rage at garden parties, because anyone can grab something to eat and move along, without actually stopping to eat for hours.

Hanging lights in the evening


It is nothing unusual for garden parties to prolong well into the evening and even the night and you should be prepared for such situations. Make sure to supply on candle lights and hanging lights, so you can light up the garden, as soon as the sun goes to sleep.

Great brews

Some stuff about Belgian beer

Belgium is a small country, but one that has plenty to offer to its visitors. A lot of traditional products individualize this small patch of land in Europe. Who has never heard of waffles, Belgian chocolate, Cuberdons (or Neuzekes, as they are nicknamed due to their shape similar to a nose) or Belgian beer?

Well, you most definitely have heard about the last one, as it is famous all over the world, for its flavors and diversity. It really is a shock that a country so small has been able to produce so many varieties of beer. You can find a wide range of flavors, from the sweetest to the most bitter here. There’s a lot to to say about how you should choose one, but, one aspect that Belgians stress when it comes to drinking this old traditional beverage is employing a special glass. And you’ll see when you go there that each beer you order comes with its own type of glass that is able to make the most of its taste. If you spend more time there, we recommend you try all the beers you can find, but, if you’re just passing through, you can choose from the following:


The most popular: Duvel


wiskey 3I am not an expert and not even a Belgian, so I won’t say this is the most popular beer there, but it is definitely one that Belgians consume with much pleasure. Duvel has not only a wonderful golden color, but, when it is poured in its special glass, it forms a thick layer of foam that is nothing I’ve ever seen in any other beer. This is a strong pale ale beer with an alcohol content of 8.5 %, which gives us a hint on the origins of its name, translated from Dutch as Devil. Duvel has a bitter, crispy taste that makes it almost addictive from the first glass. This beer is usually made with two hop varieties, but Duvel has launched a special edition a couple of years ago made with three hop varieties, which I highly recommend and which was so popular when it got on the market, that a Facebook group was created by those who wanted more of the new assortment. Be careful though, this is also stronger, as it contains 9.5 % alcohol.


The Trappist: Westmalle


wiskey 4Firstly, let’s talk a bit about what Trappist means. Generally, we call Trappist those beers that are brewed inside a monastery (that’s right, you read correctly). Why is this important for Belgian beer? Well, nowadays, there are 11 monastery located breweries in the world: 1 in the United States, 1 in Austria, 1 in Italy, 2 in the Netherlands and 6 in Belgium. I’m sure now it’s pretty clear why.

Westmalle is one of the strongest pale ale beers, as it contains 9.5 % (way to go monks!) alcohol, one of the tastiest and one of the most popular in Belgium and in many other countries, as it has gained international renown. This Trappist beer has a subtle aroma in which you can feel a taste of yeast. It has a dark color and it is served in a sturdy glass that resembles a goblet. I assume that the sturdy structure of the glass was designed to keep it in one piece, since this beer can get you positively wasted after a couple of glasses.


The most special: Duchesse de Bourgogne


wiskey 5When you first taste this beer, you get the impression that maybe you made a mistake and ordered a bottle of wine (maybe you had too much beer before this one), but then you look at the label and you see spelled beer. This is not your average type of beer, in its small bottle and with its reddish, wine-like nuance, it definitely makes you think about wine – and it also tastes like one, the kind that was maybe preserved in bad conditions and has acquired a sour, but still a bit sweet flavor. However, I guarantee that you’ll love it, if you taste it with an open mind. You’ll also love its finesse bottle and glass and you’ll come back for more.


Nevertheless, these three varieties can only give you a basic image about how wonderful and unexpected Belgian beer can be. To taste them all, well, maybe you should just find a job and move there for a couple of years.