How to Grow Your Own Hops

Growing Hops Right At Home Is Easier than You Think

Home brewing is becoming increasingly popular as more and more beer lovers discover just how easy it can be to a cook up a batch of your very own creation. An integral part of the home brewing process are hops, which infuse beer with its signature flavor. While some home brewers choose to purchase hops for the brewing process, many are choosing to grow hops on there own.

What Are Hops?

Hops are the female flowers of the plant known as humulus lupulus. Hops are used as a means of flavoring beer, as well playing a role in preserving the beverage. Hops offset the sweetness of malt to create a complex flavor profile that beer lovers crave. Depending on how much and what type of hops are used will determine how bitter a beer may be.

Hops were used as a method of flavoring beer as far back as the 11th century. Before then, many brewers imparted flavor to their beer by use of a variety of herbs and flowers. The resulting brews contained far less alcohol content, and were also more susceptible to spoilage. Today, hops are an integral part of the brewing process, with many growers taking a scientific approach to this age’s old traditional preparation.
[Read more...]

The History of Saint Patrick’s Day (And Why We Drink)

Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of St. Patrick’s Day is aware of the fact that the celebration is inexorably tied to the excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. While some may believe that this is just another example of lively individuals taking advantage of a celebration, there is actually a solid reason why alcohol has long been a part of the holiday that is now celebrated worldwide.

While there is a justifiable reason for drinking somewhat excessively in celebration of St. Patrick, there are plenty of misconceptions that surround the history of the holiday and the man in whose honor the celebration occurs.

Who Was Saint Patrick?

Saint Patrick is considered the most recognizable of all of the patron saints of Ireland, though he was not of Irish descent himself. St. Patrick was born in Great Britain, and was first brought to Ireland as a slave after having been captured and taken from his home.
[Read more...]

VIDEO: Love. Your. Beer.

From all of us here at Kegerator.com, we’d like to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day. Forget about flowers and chocolate, here’s how we will be celebrating:

[Read more...]

The Homebrewer’s Guide to Secondary Fermentation

If you are new to brewing your own beer, it is important that you learn how the process of fermentation works and the steps you should take to make the perfect homebrew. For some beers, you may want to follow a secondary fermentation process. This conditioning process is a little more complicated, but if you understand the phases, you will be a pro-brewer in no time.

Here’s our tips for understanding the process of secondary fermentation, how it works and when you should do it.

Understanding the Phases of Fermentation

In order to make beer, you must allow it to ferment for a short period of time. The first few phases of fermentation occur fairly quickly. In the aerobic phases, or first phase, the yeast cells become accustomed to their environment and begin to multiply. This multiplication happens very quickly, but not a lot of alcohol is produced.

Oxygen is needed during this phase by the yeast for it to work. The first phase lasts a few hours and you will not be able to see what is going on unless you have a microscope. Once this process is complete, it moves into the anaerobic phase, where the yeast will metabolize the sugars into Ethanol and CO2. This reaction causes there to be foam, or krausen, at the top of the beer that is fermenting. This active phase of fermentation will usually last anywhere from a few days to a whole week.

Towards the end of this phase, the foam will subside and the yeast cells will die or go dormant, falling to the bottom of the container. However, not all of the cells will do this. A few of them will ferment slowly for several more weeks in the conditioning phase.
[Read more...]

7 Beer Products You Need for an MVP Football Party

Football Party

There are a lot of details to make sure you get covered before you host a party worthy of Sunday’s Big Game. After all, it’s the end of the season. A party is a must.

Regardless of what your football party strategy is, there is no doubt that beer is going to play a key role in your party’s success. There are a lot of different ways to can manage the flow of beer depending upon what types of beer your guests enjoy.

Take a look at this year’s top seven beer items that will make you and your party the MVP of the season.
[Read more...]

Top 10 Gifts for the Beer Snob in Your Life

The holiday season is officially here. The Christmas lights are up in my neighborhood, the house smells like a fresh tree and my daughter keeps asking me when Santa is coming over. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s definitely that time of year again.

No matter what you celebrate, it’s quite possible that you’re looking for gift ideas for that special someone in your life. In this case, that special someone is your favorite beer snob. Here’s a list of my favorite beer-related gift ideas that any beer geek is guaranteed to enjoy.

Listed in order of price, starting with the lowest, here are the best ten beer gifts to get for your favorite beer snob.
[Read more...]

The Story of a Turkey Farmer That Serves His Flock Beer

Last week, the story of Joe Morrette, a turkey farmer out of New Hampshire, made national news. For the last twenty years, Morrette has been feeding his flock beer, because he believes it helps fatten them up and make them tastier come Thanksgiving Day.

It all started two decades ago after a turkey knocked over a beer one of his workers was drinking at the end of the day. Without hesitation, his flock started to guzzle it down. As a result, he says he stopped giving his flock water, and has been feeding them beer ever since. He used to give them Coors, but has since switched to giving them an unnamed lager. He believes, as do his longtime customers, that feeding his flock beer not only makes them fatter, but also juicier and more flavorful.
[Read more...]

The 3 Types of Beer You’ll Find at NFL Stadiums

Football & Beer

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of going to the Houston Texans game at Reliant stadium. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a game in Reliant, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they offered a wide range of beer that didn’t have the world “light” in it. Of course, they were all over-priced, which is the norm for all food and drinks in a sports stadium, but at least they had flavor.

This discovery got me thinking about what types of beer the average football fan will find at their teams stadium. It is no secret, however, that certain NFL stadiums have far better selections than others. I would imagine that the stadium’s location plays a large role in determining what types of beer are available at the games. No matter where it’s located or how terrible the team is playing that year, there are a few common themes that can be found in all NFL stadiums.

Cheap Beer

Pretty much every NFL stadium will have a few premium brews available, but for the most part, the overabundance of cheap light beers will be what you find at every concession stand. To the surprise of no one, these are standard at every professional sporting event nowadays. You will find these more popular, mainstream beers available on draft and, in some cases, cans and bottles. Although, it’s unlikely they’ll let you take the bottle back with you to your seat.
[Read more...]

How to Setup the Perfect In-Home Bar

Thanksgiving is a time to surround yourself with family and friends. If you are entertaining everyone in your home this year, then you are probably searching for a simple way to setup the perfect in-home bar for Thanksgiving Day. With so many people in your home, space is at a premium. Fortunately, there are a variety of space-saving tips that you can use to maximize the little amount of free space you have available.

Choose the Right Kegerator

Every beer geek out there loves a good draft beer. If you really want to impress your guests, then you need a kegerator for your in-home bar. Kegerators are not only a great accessory for Thanksgiving dinner, but they’re great for year-round use. Not only are they perfect for football season, but they offer a simple way to dispense adult beverages without consuming a lot of space. Most people immediately think of full-size kegerators but don’t always have space for them. If you want to add a kegerator to your home bar this Thanksgiving but don’t have the space, then consider these alternatives.

Ice Maker for Home Bar
  • Mini Kegerators

    The easiest way to enjoy all of the perks of a kegerator while also saving space is by using a mini kegerator. Mini kegerators are much smaller your typical kegerator dispenser. You can put them on your countertop or home bar top for convenient use, and then store it away when you’re not using it. While they include all of the functionality of a full-sized kegerator they are designed to dispense beer from mini-kegs. Some can even store and dispense beer from two mini-kegs simultaneously.

  • Undercounter Kegerators

    If you want to use a full-sized keg then consider an undercounter kegerator. Undercounter kegerators are nearly identical to traditional full-size kegerators, but the primary difference being that you can install them directly in your countertop. This is an ideal solution for anyone that has little floor-space for a portable kegerator.

  • Outdoor Kegerators

    The final option is to buy an outdoor kegerator. This is the perfect solution if you spend a lot of time outside or simply have limited space to entertain indoors. The best part about outdoor kegerators is they are designed to maintain a constant internal temperature regardless of what the surrounding temperature is. This means you can safely store and dispense your beer outdoors all year round.

Take Advantage of Beverage Refrigerators

If a kegerator isn’t your style, then consider using a space-saving beverage refrigerator. A mini-fridge is a simple way to keep all of your adult beverages cool without having to make a trip to the kitchen all the time. Beverage refrigerators take up very little space and can even act as an additional countertop as well.

If you have the space in your kitchen, you can install a built-in beverage fridge directly into your countertops. This would allow you to have an extra fridge with a convenient location, but not sacrifice any of your floor space. If you have an old trash compactor, many undercounter fridges are designed to be the same shape for an easy transition.

Don’t Forget to Accessorize

When setting up your in-home bar for a Thanksgiving Day celebration there are a number of important bar accessories which will make entertaining much easier.

Ice Maker for Home Bar
  • Ice Makers

    One of the most important pieces of equipment to have is an icemaker or ice crusher. Icemakers take up very little space and are incredibly convenient. First, they make ice easily accessible to all of your guests. This will allow you to worry about preparing Thanksgiving dinner, entertaining and ensuring there’s enough pumpkin pie leftover for seconds rather than continually getting ice for everyone’s glasses. Second, having an ice maker readily accessible eliminates the risk that you’ll run out of ice.

  • Blenders, Juicers & Cocktail Accessories

    If your guests will primarily be drinking mixed drinks then there are a variety of bar accessories you may want for your in-home bar. The market for drink and cocktail preparation appliances has greatly expanded over the past several years. You can get anything from a margarita mixed drink maker to a premium juicer and blender. When choosing the right appliances for your in-home bar the most important consideration is what types of beverages your guests will be drinking. There is no reason to purchase a professional juicer or blender if your guests will primarily be drinking beer, wine, or beverages on the rocks.

  • Glassware Options

    An overlooked aspect of setting up your in-home bar is choosing the right glassware. While selecting glassware is extremely important if you’re serving wine, it is equally important when serving beer or mixed drinks. Different types of beers will taste best in glasses specifically designed to accentuate their bouquet, clarity, and level of carbonation. This is especially true if you are a home brewer and will be serving your own unique beers during your Thanksgiving Day celebration.

  • Setting up the perfect in-home bar for Thanksgiving Day doesn’t have to be a complicated and overwhelming process. Before choosing what appliances you will use there are two key characteristics to consider. The first is available space. It doesn’t matter what type of appliances you want if you don’t have space to set them up. For example, it would be great to have a full size kegerator but that doesn’t mean you have the space to actually use one. Instead, opting for an outdoor or mini kegerator is a more realistic solution. The second consideration is versatility. While it would be great to purchase bar accessories and appliances solely for Thanksgiving Day, try to purchase equipment which you will likely use throughout the rest of the year as well.

    Recommended Reading:

3 Free Resources to Help You Celebrate ‘Learn to Homebrew Day’

Homebrew Supplies

On this date fourteen years ago, the American Homebrewers Association established the first annual “Learn to Homebrew Day” to help teach people how to brew their own beer. Over the years, partly because of this “beer holiday,” the craft of brewing your own beer has grown substantially in popularity.

Like any new hobby, knowing where to get started and how to do it right can be somewhat daunting for a beginner. I know it was for me. Because of that, I have compiled a list of free online resources that will help you get started, or just learn more about the process and techniques that go into it.

1. Get Started in Our Homebrew Learning Center

We have a trove of information about homebrewing in our Homebrew learning center. We’ve been homebrewing for years now, and it’s a hobby that we think everyone should try at least once. We’ve compiled a collection of information about homebrewing that we think will help you get started. And that information is growing as the days go by.
[Read more...]