Give a man a beer and he will be happy. Give a man homebrewing equipment and he
will have lots of beer that he made himself, and there is nothing better than that.
If the special someone in your life is a craft beer lover, consider helping them jump
into the homebrewing game with only a few items.
A good homebrewing book is important, and there’s no better book than Charlie
Papazian’s The Complete Joy of Homebrewing
. It has all the
information a beginner needs to brew their first batch, as well as tons of information
on advanced techniques to help you progress. I’ve been brewing for 7 years and still
refer to this book all the time.
I recommend going to a homebrew supply shop to buy equipment and ingredients. My
personal favorite in the DC area is MyLHBS
Church, VA (BONUS- it’s across the street from the Dogfish Head Alehouse and -
DOUBLE BONUS - down the street from Mad Fox Brewing Company
got everything you need and the staff is very knowledgeable and helpful. If you’d
rather stay in DC, 3 Stars
has an awesome shop as well. If you don’t have a car and/or don’t want to haul tons of stuff on the Metro, I like the
web store Northern Brewer
In terms of equipment, there is endless gadgetry for homebrewers, but to get started you'll only need a few things. This
is a good starter package available online, and comparable kits
are available at any shop as well. It has everything you need and no extra frills that
will confuse you. In addition to any equipment kit, you will need to purchase a large stainless steel kettle, at least
5 gallons. This
is a great one for beginners, at a great price.
Ingredient kits are the way to go when you're starting out. They come with premeasured
ingredients and step by step directions. It’s hard to not make great beer with these, and they come in hundreds of styles. For beginning brewers, make sure you stick to the extract kits - the other option is all-grain, and those require much more equipment, are much more difficult, and require much more space - whereas an extract kit can easily be brewed in your small, apartment kitchen.
I’ve brewed many different extract kits over the years and have been very happy with all of
them. I've listed some that I think are particularly interesting and easy, and my final piece of advice is a quote from the great Charlie Papazian himself - Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew!