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*
Many of our recommended trends are naturally grandiose and full of noticeable flair. Not so with this up-and-comer. It’s all about subtlety and miniature modesty. It begins with you reading this article with studious interest and ends with you hosting an amazing hipster dinner party. After all, you haven’t thrown one since your coconut oil fiasco, so your friends will be chomping at the bit. In addition to this article I recommend picking up “Tiny Food Party!: Bite-Size Recipes for Miniature Meals” and reading it on some sort of public transportation.
First up, you’re going to need to make a trip to the farmers market (you already go there daily anyway). Don’t be distracted by the big beautiful local organic free-range cruelty-free fruits and veggies. You’re looking for only the littlest and cutest of the offerings. I suggest starting with a classic tiny food staple: baby corn. Everyone’s going to expect it so you might as well not let them down and it’s not as gauche as cocktail weenies. Proceed to fill your smallish free-cycled coffee bag with all sorts of tiny. Baby bok choy, baby carrots, baby zucchini, baby turnips, baby grapes, baby apples … you get the idea. Definitely get some shallots so you can make microscopic onion rings. Melt my heart, that will be darling.
Next up, animal products. Look, I realize that boss-level hipsters are all vegans and/or freegans, but many of your friends are scattered across the established hipster spectrum. Lots of them eat meat, but only if it’s ethically-raised free-range cruelty-free organic non-injected happy meat from a local farmstead that offers a free gym membership to the animals. Anyways, you’re gonna need some tiny cuts of meat. Everyone’s mind automatically jumps to baby back ribs because of Chili’s and Austin Powers 2, so we’re not going that route. Heck, just get a nice 10oz sirloin with good marbling and cut it into 37 tiny steaks. After that you’re definitely going to need some cage-free quail eggs. Wait. Quail eggs are gigantic. You’re gonna need hummingbird eggs. I’m not sure how we’re going to pull this one off. Heading to google … okay I’m back, first and foremost, holy smokes these things are adorable. It turns out that this is pretty easy. You just need to find a hummingbird nest with freshly laid eggs and take them. No problem! Beware though, it looks like the little bastards are pretty defensive. Don some sort of protective head cover when you harvest the eggs. In the event that you don’t own a beekeeping mask (which you should if you’re reading this) maybe you can up-cycle a bucket, don’t forget the eye holes. Pop the itty-bitty gems into your handcrafted danish modern tiny egg carton and off you go. Don’t worry, the momma bird will lay new eggs in a matter of days and all of this is totally free-range! As a bonus, you’re also foraging now (awesome), but that’s another trend for another day. While we’re foraging, another idea is rather than an enormous lobster tail, prep-up single crayfish tails for each plate. Don’t use a trap to procure them, catch them individually by hand. Your guests will marvel at your attention to detail.
Now that your ingredients are assembled, and assuming your eyes weren’t feverishly eviscerated by angry hummingbirds, you’re ready for the big day. Dive deep into the theme by sending out tiny invites to your friends. Have the table set with dollhouse plates and tiny cutlery for at least ten solid hipster guests and make sure there is a tiny guide that details each course. In this guide you can’t use the words “gluten-free” enough. I don’t know what gluten is (something with wheat I think), but I do know that hipsters don’t want to eat it or even be in the same room with it. Hell, gluten is like hipster kryptonite. But I digress. Cooking time should be limited to a matter of seconds as the thermal mass of each item is so miniscule. Be careful not to overcook the steaks by searing them longer than 2-3 seconds per side. Also, watch those hummingbird eggs, they are properly poached the instant they hit boiling water. Season with extra small salt crystals and ultra-fine ground pepper (details, people). Garnish each plate with a single oregano leaf. As you nibble (never bite) go into detail about the health benefits of scaling down portion sizes and the unfortunate obesity epidemic in America. In addition to ungodly amounts of GMO corn syrup being injected into everything we consume, you’ll get to blame it on gluten, which your guests will love. Later on, at the after-party (hipsters LIVE for after-parties), while you are sip-chugging craft pico-brews from super tiny red plastic cups (if they give you any guff about plastic, tell them there’s a Low song about plastic cups so they can STFU) look upon your assembled hipster acolytes, stroke your beard, and proudly proclaim “micro-foods naturally have more micro-nutrients.” They can’t argue with that logic, even if they don’t know why.
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.