Food & Drink

Brew Beer with a Countertop Appliance

You Can Do Mini Keg Stands—Not Really

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Brewing beer at home is work.

Equipment. Raw materials. Kitchen space. High-priced logo designers.

The PicoBrew Pico (catchy, eh?) jams the process into a countertop appliance the size of a fancy coffee machine.

For a few days, we took this bad boy for a spin in an attempt to impress everyone with our heartiest intoxicant. A few observations from our lab:

—There are lots of pieces to Pico.
—Brewing beer in an office is noisy and, uh, fragrant.
—People will constantly ask if the beer is ready.
—No matter how simplified, brewing beer is an involved, multistep process.
—While you don’t get the instant gratification of drinking a beer from the fridge, you can tell your friends you brewed a great IPA in the same way you tell your friends you made an amazing General Tso’s chicken from Blue Apron.

We sampled PicoBrew’s Half-Squeezed, an IPA they adapted from Deschutes Brewery’s Fresh Squeezed IPA. The beauty of the Pico is its ready-made ingredient kits, which come premeasured. Very important. You can also buy kits from other craft brewers large and small.

So how’d it actually turn out? Coworker comments below:

“Overall, it’s a totally drinkable beer. Definitely on the light side, but well balanced and even a little hoppy.”

“It’s not quite ‘craft beer’ caliber, but I’d take it over Coors or Budweiser any day.”

“I must say, I’m pretty impressed with the flavor of a gallon-at-a-time beer. I’d share it with friends and not feel insecure about it.”

“It was so easy to make. All I had to do was watch someone else do it.”

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