Thursday, December 1, 2011

Knock-knock. Who's there? Mr. Beer ...

One of the cool things about being a food blogger is that once in a while people offer to send you things for free. Food-related things.

And let's be honest, there probably isn't a food-related gadget or ingredient that I'm not curious about. I don't love all of them, but I could happily spend all day testing and tasting and cooking and baking, and then spend all evening writing about what I did all day.

Sometimes the offers surprise me.

Such was the case when Mr. Beer showed up in my inbox and asked for my address. Would this be a wonderful new exciting relationship? Should I say "yes" to this unexpected offer of friendship, or politely decline?

Less than a week later, Mr. Beer was on my doorstep, looking cold and lonely. He looked innocent enough, so I let him in.

Mr. Beer came in a large box that included everything I needed to make 2 gallons of my own home-brewed beer, including a barrel-shaped brown plastic fermenting keg-thing, some plastic bottles, ingredients, sanitizer, and instructions.

It also came with an enticing booklet that offered even more options for different beers and (be still my beating heart!) ... hard cider!

I read through the instructions, and it seemed simple enough. Sanitize everything with the included cleaner, and then do some mixing and heating, and pour stuff into the keg-thing, do some stirring, and then wait a week or two ... and then into bottles along with some sugar and wait for carbonation ... and then some more waiting at cooler temps for improved flavor.

Or drink it right away, if you don't want to wait for that final colder process.

So I gave it a go, and it really was a simple process to get it all into the keg. Now there's nothing to do but wait until Mr. Beer is ready to go into some bottles.

With a process that easy, I have some concerns that Mr. Beer might abandon me to spend more time with my husband. They could become very good buddies, hanging around together, fermenting...

And then what? Could this turn into a whole new relationship with hops and malt and yeast and more complicated recipes requiring the installation of giant stainless steel tanks in our garage? What could this innocent delivery turn into?

Well, folks, I don't have that answer for you yet. Mr. Beer and I will need to spend some time together before I can tell you whether this is a one-time fling, a long and happy relationship, or the gateway to more complicated brewing adventures.

Meanwhile, he looks quite happy and I think he will be quite festive around Christmas when we have our first bottles ready to drink.

But I didn't want to wait quite that long before I posted this, because Mr. Beer also offered a little incentive for my readers (and I love passing along bargains.)

Use the coupon code cookistry at checkout on Mr. Beer's website, and you can get free shipping all during the month of December, 2011.

When the beer's ready, I'll give you an update. Meanwhile, I think I need to order a hard cider kit. That sounds quite tasty.


Ed said...

My mom got me this on a whim for christmas one winter. I make my own wine -- which I mostly give out as gifts -- and I don't drink beer. My mom is not the best gift-giver. Anyway. I made the beer and gave it to my beer snob friends. They said it was horrible and they would rather drink King Cobra. This was a few years ago, so perhaps they have improved their formula.

Just thought I would pass that along.

Donna Currie said...

Thanks for the feedback, Ed. At this point it's less than a week old, so I won't be tasting it for a while. I don't know if beer brewing will become a regular thing here, but that hard cider kit sounds really interesting to me. I might give that a try, whether the beer works out or not.

Emily R. said...

I'm thinking I want to try the hard cider kit too!

Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray said...

What a fun new venture!

Amy M said...

We started with the Mr. Beer kit. Their mixes are MUCH improved with some additions from our local beer-making supply store - the Bald Brewer on Main St. in Longmont. He's really helpful and knowledgeable, too! We added some hops to ours and the batches keep getting better and better. Happy brewing!

Steve said...

You can make some darn good beer with Mr. Beer. Just be sure to strictly follow the sanitation procedures and give it time!

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