Whether you favour the light and fruity aroma of a summer-fresh pale ale or the velvety coffee and chocolate richness of a traditional Irish stout, you can now craft your own beer on the kitchen counter with a hi-tech gadget that's as easy as pushing a button.
The world's first fully automated personal brewing system, BrewArt's main component, the BeerDroid, looks like a fancy espresso machine with stylish black and chrome finishes.
Available exclusively at Harvey Norman stores or online via the BrewArt website, the keg-like BeerDroid is a one-stop machine. All you have to do is select which beer style you want to quench your thirst from a range of 44 and counting BrewPrints or create your own from BrewArt ingredients. These cool looking packages contain all the ingredients you need.
"People love the brewing aspect and the smart tech without all the hassle," says Scott Harris, BrewArt's co-creator. "They also like the fact it looks good in the kitchen. Brewing at home had previously been a bit too industrial, but we're all about making great beer as easy as possible."
Once you've hooked the BeerDroid up, all you have to do is add water and the requisite ingredients as outlined in the BrewPrint pack, switch it on and walk away. The instructions will be automatically uploaded to the BeerDroid via Wi-Fi and you can keep track of the beer's progress via an app on your phone. A pale ale will be good to keg in about five days, while a pilsner could take up to twice that time.
"What we've done is put up what we believe are some of the top 40 most popular beers in Australia, though we're also developing the same for the US and Europe, so we'll end up with a huge range of beers eventually," Harris adds.
App it up
Once everything is in motion, you can check in on your beer from anywhere in the world via the app and let your mates know when beer ETA is. Once it's good to go, the app will even ask if you're ready to keg or if you want to store it chilled instead until you're ready to decant the beer into two airtight, five-litre kegs. Two weeks after storing, the beer's ready to drink.
Even better, when you are ready to imbibe, you can also invest in another super-smart element of the BrewArt system, the chrome-tapped BrewFlo, which allows you to pour a pub-perfect pint with spot on head and carbonation. "We've tuned the tech in the BrewFlo to give the right speed of pour and also the right head retention," Harris says.
Mix and match
You don't even have to be a beer wiz to get started, he adds. "There are people out there who know exactly what beer style they like, but if you just know what brand you're into, you can type it into the BrewArt website and it will recommend a bunch of BrewPrints for you."
For those who are a touch more knowledgeable, you can also buy individual ingredients to adapt the existing beer profiles. "What we expect to find, and what we planned for, was that most people will go with the existing BrewPrints, but there will also be a group of people who will start mixing and matching. 'Well, I like that beer but I'm going to add a bit more malt flavour,' or they might go, 'I'm going to add some more hops, I like that really spicy note.'"
Czech it out
The truly adventurous can build their own beer from scratch, with BrewArt's long-term goal to encourage a vibrant beer-loving community of 'BrewArtists' on the site who will be able to share their new brews with each other and even score the glory of having them added to the official collection of BrewPrints. "We really want it so that the people who are brewing are actually coming up with cool recipes and we'll allow them to upload them to the site," Harris says.
While he insists he hasn't managed to work his way through all 44 options as yet, Harris will say that his personal favourite is the US-style West Coast Pale Ale, "That's got a nice hoppy finish, to it and I love our Ruby Porter too, which is a darker style of beer with a thick, foamy head. If I'm going for a summer's day crisp sort of lager I'd probably go the Czech Pilsner. It's very clean but has a nice bitter finish on it."
He's had plenty of mates round to taste test the BrewArt's finest too. "At one end of the scale they love our Mountain Range IPA, which is a strong one that's really hoppy, then at the other end of the scale, because we've got really good temperature control, our lagers come out very clean and clear, so they're all for our Lion City Lager."