There was a time when people brewed their own beer to save money. You could make a bucketful of passable beer for next to nothing, and you still can—if that’s your goal.
But homebrewers started to get sophisticated; custom fabrication led to amazing systems and for the DIY type who loved to tinker, homebrewing was the ultimate, all-consuming hobby. Serious homebrewers still make incredible beer. Beer that is just as good, or better than some of the commercial breweries out there.
But if you’ve wanted to casually make great beer, without spending hours in your garage, then maybe the Pico Zymatic is for you.
Theoretically, what’s not to love about the Pico Zymatic? Throw in your malted barley, divide your hops according to the recipe, press the button and go pound a few pints at the bar. There’s no standing around in a garage with a bunch of dudes watching water boil (although many would argue that’s the fun of homebrewing!), very little cleaning is necessary, and you can program the whole thing with your computer, tablet or phone. It comes pre-programmed with recipes, or you can create your own.
Designed and built by an impressive team consisting of a former Microsoft executive, a former Microsoft engineer, and a food scientist, if anyone can pull this miracle off, these are the guys to do it. Coming in at about $1500 it isn’t cheap, but if it does what it claims to, it’s worth every penny.
Of course, you’ll still need quite a bit of gear to turn your Picobrew liquid into actual beer.
You’ll still need a few cornelius kegs, and preferably a kegerator (a beer fridge with CO2 and a tap handle), but any homebrewing store will be able to set you up with that. And not to worry, you’re $1500 deep already, so what’s another $1000?
It’ll only make 2.5-3 gallons (9-11 litres) at a time, which is about 21 pints. And if you’re making good beer, your friends will quickly make sure 21 pints isn’t enough.
Is this the be-all, end-all of homebrewing gear? Tough to say. The world of homebrewing is full of opinionated types, some who absolutely detest the Picobrew Zymatic, some who are very skeptical, and others who have ordered one already off the Kickstarter campaign.