By Derek Warren - For Weekender

Tap This: Brewing up summer

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Summer is moving fast and anything that can be done to preserve the warm weather and feeling that accompanies summer must be done. One sure way to keep the summer vibe is by having some great summer beers. What better way then brewing them yourself!

Sure, you can head down to the local store and grab yourself a 6 pack of great summer seasonal beer, but where is the fun in that? Anyone can do that and showing your friends a 6 pack of beer is always appreciated, but when you can show them a 6 pack of beer that you made, jaws will drop.

If you have brewed your own beer before or helped someone else do it then you already know how easy it can be, but if you are new to this it can seem a bit daunting.

First, you need a homebrewing kit with fermentation vessel, a 5 gallon cooking pot, a bottling bucket, and some ingredients. Companies such as Northern Brewer exist and can take care of all these needs with just a few clicks of the mouse.

A basic starter kit costs less than $100 and allows you to get brewing right away. The bigger worry should be what kit to get.

If you head to NorthernBrewer.com you can find an endless array of kits from Pilsners to bourbon barrel aged stouts. If you are new to homebrewing, starting with the less involved kits is a good idea.

It is best to get an understanding of the fundamentals with brewing before venturing into really high ABV beers and/or barrel aging that require a few more steps. One great style to start with is an IPA or DIPA.

The IPA is definitely the most beloved style in craft beer and is also one of the best styles for beginning homebrewers. If you are new to homebrewing a liquid malt extract, or LME, kit is the best choice. If this is old hack to you, jump right into an all-grain kit.

Brewing an IPA is a great choice for homebrewers starting out because the heavy dosing of hops helps to hide any potential flaws.

A phenomenal beer kit offered from Northern Brewer is the Cascade Mountains West Coast Imperial IPA kit. The kit is available in both LME and all-grain so it is perfect for anyone.

The beer is a textbook example of a beefed up West Coast style DIPA with an extremely heavy dosing of cascade hops. The flavor and aroma is very citrus forward with grapefruit galore and a perfectly sweet malt backbone for balance. The final ABV clocks in around 9 percent and is an easy beer to brew.

The recipe is pretty straight forward but the magic of this beer really comes from the large amount of cascade hops. If you are unfamiliar with these hops they posses a wonderfully juicy grapefruit aroma and taste. The beer has a great deal of these hops added throughout process.

This is a perfect beer to enjoy to soak up the summer and if you brew it in the next week or two it will finish out just in time for one last summer party.

Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.

By Derek Warren

For Weekender

Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.