|Inside Bitter & Esters Brewshop –credit|
Vimbly, a site that lists activities and classes (many are free!) –– ranging from wrestling lessons to a chef’s knife skills workshop –– suggested that I spend last Friday afternoon in a beer brewing class in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. The crisp day raining orange and red leaves in the Brooklyn breeze was the perfect atmosphere to try Bitter & Esters, a brew supply shop in Brooklyn where everyone from beginners to professionals can learn how to create and perfect craft beer.
Walking into the shop, I was greeted warmly and handed a fresh pint of (delicious!) beer. Considering it was early afternoon, I was shocked how quickly I consumed the glass. But the biggest shock was the smell in Bitter & Esters! Rather than the expected putrid scent of a bar sticky with spilled beer and who knows what else, this brew shop smelled like a sweet, fragrant bakery, hugging you with warmth on the cold day. When we prepared the beer later, using sweet ingredients like malt and toasted barley, it was pretty clear why the shop smelled the way it did. Total disclosure: if Bitter & Esters sold a perfume that smelled like their store, I’d be rocking that scent daily.
|What a classroom should look like|
After seeing how complicated and technical home brewing is, I honestly don’t think that I’ll be brewing beer at home anytime soon (space and time constraints being my biggest concerns), though I hope to one day attempt it! However, the class was highly informative and enlightening about the beer brewing process, and I’d recommend it to all beer lovers ––from Budweiser fans to the most unique home-brew drinkers.
|Making our cauldron full of warm beer|
John, our instructor and one of the owners of Bitter & Esters, had a ton of enthusiasm, and told a few jokes, which made the three-hour workshop entertaining as well as educational. Also, the beer refills were nothing to scoff at, either. Our 8-person class made a batch of White House Honey Ale; in the process, we learned how to boil and cool the wort, add and time the hops, and the sanitization techniques necessary for brewing beer at home. Our beer would take two weeks to ferment, so we practiced bottling techniques with water.
|Learning about bottling|
My favorite part of the lesson was being able to taste each ingredient before it went into the brew (and yes, mixing ingredients in a cauldron with a long spoon felt a lot like making a witches brew). From the powdered sugary malt to a variety of crispy and bitter hops, understanding what contributes to a good batch of beer truly helped me better appreciate what I’m drinking, and gave me a greater respect for the craft brew process.
Find your next activity or fun day out at Vimbly.com.