PicoBrew’s newest product, Pico, makes brewing beer at home so easy that anyone—even someone who has never brewed before—can create and enjoy amazing craft beer at home.
Well. Shit. Over two years ago we alerted you that micro-brewing was way too big and way too mainstream and literally told you to get into picobrewing. Well one of you bastards did it and now you’re rich and we’re still not rich. $1.5 million dollars on kickstarter!!!1 *stab* Just look at that stupid thing. Propped up neatly on a granite countertop next to a spice-rack and an array of vinaigrette and e.v.o.o. Well, isn’t that adorable?! *more stabbing*
Micro-brews have been bhut jolokia-hot since the mid 80’s and show no sign of going anywhere but up on the hotness scale. Talking about micro-brews, of course, is even hotter. Presently you get to impress your friends with knowledge of hop varieties, yeast strains, grain bills, roasting, malting, milling, the lovibond scale, specific-gravity, attenuation rates, flocculation, the IBU scale, head retention, mouthfeel, dry-hopping, etc. etc. etc. Of course you got a 100% on your indie band or craft-beer quiz. The problem here is that all hipsters are into micro-brews and every self respecting hipster is a homebrewer that has at least three 5-gallon batches (including a coffee stout) under their belt. So how the heck can you impress anybody on the subject anymore? I mean you could go all out and make an amazing brewkettle out of a reclaimed keg, or an electric HERMs system, but let’s face it, Kevin is probably already slaving away on a project like that in his garage with a borrowed angle grinder.
When you can’t go bigger on a supertrend like micro-brews and homebrewing you have to go the other direction … smaller. This is a solid opportunity to multi-trend because, as we’ve outlined, tiny food is stupid-hot right now. Truth be told, on the surface there’s not really much to this one … you just brew a really small batch of beer. Of course how you brew it and more importantly who notices you brewing it are the most important details. You could probably go as big as a couple of liters, but to really impress you should brew only a single pint. Either play it safe and cask condition the only universally accepted hipster style of beer, an IPA, or go bolder with a Russian imperial stout. Many hipsters will love this because “Russian,” “imperial,” and “stout” are three of the top ten hipster words to use right now, rounding out the list are “paleo,” “crossfit,” “organic,” “artisan,” “heirloom,” “croudsource,” and “bodymod.” … but I digress.
On to the brewing. Make sure it’s a busy day in the neighborhood and invite a friend over to be your “assistant to the brewmaster” (use that exact title.) If you’re feeling confident don some lederhosen, but at the very least you should accessorize with a traditional Bavarian alpine hat, it has a short brim and we all understand the importance of that. Setup your brewstand somewhere in the middle of your driveway and make sure that no trees or shrubs block the view from the intrigued onlookers. We’re going to keep it simple today with a partial mash extract batch. Don’t use your usual 6.5 gallon stainless steel brewkettle, use the smallest pot in your apartment. (Of course you live in an apartment, mortgages are for slaves.) Your brewstand should be nothing much more than a coleman camp grill. Steep your specialty grains in an actual tea bag. With this small of a batch it would be easy to overdo the 40L caramel malt. Once you’ve steeped at 162F for at least 40 minutes, bring the now wort up to 212F for your liquid malt extract and bittering hop addition. As with the specialty grain, you need to go light on the hops. Two individual cascade hops should be good here. Boil for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally with your no doubt self-whittled hickory mash paddle. Turn the heat up to encourage a few hot breaks to coagulate proteins. Next, add your flavoring hop and wait another 10 minutes. Finally, add your aroma hop and rest. Extra points if you build a tiny immersion wort chiller to get the wort down to 70F quickly, but you can just add some cold water and probably will go this route because most of your wort from this pico-brew has boiled off. Pitch some obscure yeast strain that nobody has heard of.
After brew day let it ferment for about three weeks and plan a tiny food party. If you took our advice and already did that (kudos) fear not; just send a pigeon to Ike, Theo, and Matilda inviting them to your house for a sampling. When they arrive have the pint/secondary fermentation vessel in the center of your reclaimed wood coffee table along with four shot glasses. Before you uncork (never cap) your pico-brew explain the benefits of smaller batch sizes and educate them on the metric prefix scale and be sure that they know pico denotes 0.000000000001 the size of the typical macrobrew batch. Speaking of that, it’s nowhere near ready to drink, but you could use this event as an opportunity to show off your macrobrew cellar. Pour each guest a 3oz serving and allow it to breathe. Note the head retention. As you bring your masterpiece to you lips inhale sharply through your nose. Swish it around a bit like a seasoned taster and comment on the fruity esters from the Belgian yeast strain and the noble hop profile. Look around at your guests, satisfied, and remark “for me, anything more than a 3oz serving cuts into the appreciation of the craft.” They will eagerly nod in agreement and probably say something using the phrase “right-size” and the word “mouthfeel,” even if they don’t know why.
Imagine this: it’s the year 2023, you have a few guests over for a fondue party (OVER right now, but will resurge in ten years), and you get to say “Would anyone care for a 2013 Miller Lite in a can? It was a very good year.” That’s what you’ll get to do if you take my advice right now and start cellaring subpar American style pilsner lagers. If you haven’t already dug a root cellar now’s the time. You get to bring it up when people notice the dirt under your fingernails at the marketing meeting. “Oh, that, yeah, I’m hand digging a root cellar.” You should probably pick up a book on root cellaring so people on public transportation will ask you about root cellaring when they see you reading it. I’d recommend: The Complete Root Cellar Book: Building Plans, Uses and 100 Recipes.
Next you should build reclaimed wood aging racks. If you can’t find any reclaimed wood be sure to “upcycle” something else, preferably something made out of cast iron or rusted sheet metal. Ten years from now you’ll be able to crack a can (use a Churchkey), pour gently into a traditional Bavarian stoneware stein, and inhale the aroma thoughtfully. “The bouquet has subtle notes of industrial cleanser and aluminum.” You can remark as you bring the stein to you lips. Swish it around in your mouth a bit like a professional wine taster. “I detect absolutely no hops and liberal use of corn sugar,” you can comment. “The mouthfeel is almost exactly like water, remarkable, 2013 was a great year for Miller Lite indeed.”
Here he is, you’ve seen him at Trampled By Turtles shows, doing the hipster 2-step and fist pumping during the banjo solos. We here at NHT love this guy. We want to help him keep ahead of the curve. So that’s why we’re calling PBRs OVER! Currently the refuge of cash strapped hipsters who want to throw back cheap beer and be a throwback to their Gramdpa’s opening fishing wknd ethos. Heck they’re already “wearing your grandpa’s clothes” so why not drink his bad beer too.
The hope we’ve all had was of course the resurgence of the American craft beer movement. Duluth, MN is (per capita) second only to Portland, OR in micro-breweries per capita. All hail the comeback of craft beer ..it’s soooo popular that you guessed it….NHT calls it OVER! too. Doesn’t mean we wont keep drinking our Bell’s Two Hearteds up here but we can’t in good conscious recommend them for hipsters. They really can’t afford them anyway. So what’s a hipster to do? NHT humbly suggests hard cider. It’s available, reasonably priced and esoteric enough to cause other uninformed hipsters to ask some questions. You can try and order it at your favorite bar and they wont even have it .. imagine how hip it is to out hip the bartender! This is hipster gold. The cider drinking hipster can reference apple horticulture techniques, Ben Franklin (an original hipster), and Appalachia. That hipster will get laid tonight for sure.