What if you could design a craft beer and then brew it in your kitchen with just the click of a mouse?
Thanks to two former Microsoft employees and a food scientist, you can. The trio has used technology to simplify the ancient art of brewing beer without sacrificing any of the fun—or the taste.
Their machine is called the PicoBrew Zymatic, which allows homebrew aficionados to make high-quality beer at home with about as much effort as it takes to run an espresso machine. And even though Zymatic automates most of the brewing process, it doesn’t completely quash creativity. Brewers still can tinker with their recipes and ingredients.
The Zymatic connects to the Internet so you can download a recipe directly to the machine. That information lets the Zymatic know when to release the grains and the hops you’ve selected. You then fill the gadget up with the ingredients you want, hit the start button, and wait three and a half hours. Voilà: You have a wort that can be cooled and then fermented. After about two weeks (once the yeast has done its job turning the glucose into alcohol and carbon dioxide), you’ll have beer. Next step: Drink.
But, traditionalists might cry, isn’t homebrewing just as much about the process of making the beer as it is about the final product? Well, there’s a lot that can go wrong in homebrewing. Sterilization is key, but can be easier said than done. (There are opportunities for your brew to be contaminated, which will ruin your hard work.) The Zymatic, on the other hand, is intended to remove human error, thus allowing brewers to focus on their recipes and ingredients, says PicoBrew co-founder Bill Mitchell.
The master plan is to bring homebrewing to the masses. And if recent stats are any indication, there’s a broad market for this sort of technology: The American Homebrewers Association estimates that 1.2 million American brew beer at home and that number keeps growing.
PicoBrew waged an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign last fall (it raised $511,000 more than its intended goal) and its founders believe that the social aspect of their machine will revolutionize homebrewing. The website allows users to share and rate consistent, clone-able recipes, thus growing the amount of high-quality homebrew out there. We can toast to that.
Available for pre-order now.