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BOX BREW KITS: CRAFT YOUR OWN BEER - IN STYLE.

Introducing Box Brew Kits, a handmade small batch home-brew kit. Unlike most bulky kits currently available, a Box Brew Kit fits in your apartment and gives you everything you need to tackle the brewing process in classic style, even if you've never brewed before. Each of our home-brewing kits celebrates the rustic roots of home-brewing, and no two are exactly alike. Each kit includes complete written instructions and diagrams, a brewers' log, and more than 25 tasty recipes to try. We have multiple sizes available, capable of brewing one to three gallons of beer in about three weeks. Enjoy! 

 

Box Brew Kits: craft your own beer - in style.

Brewing Kits & Accessories

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Recipe Packs

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Our Latest Ramblings

Boston Brewer Panel: On Homebrew Tips and Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Over the course of February, we got the chance to interview brewers from six of our favorite Boston-area craft breweries. Each of them weighed in on more than a dozen questions for our first ever brewer panel.

In this post--the third in a five-part series--you’ll hear from brewers at Jack's Abby Brewing, Clown Shoes, Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, Nightshift Brewing, Idle Hands Craft Ales, Enlightenment Ales, and Aeronaut Brewing Co. on their top homebrewing tips, lessons brewers tend to learn the hard way, and what keeps them awake at night.
In case you missed the previous posts in this series, you can find them here: To get notified when the next post is published, sign up here.

What's the one tip you give most brewers to brew better beer?

Bryan Doran
Test Batch Brewer at Clown Shoes Beer
Ipswich, MA
@clownshoesbeer

Sanitation and cleanliness is key to success. The best recipe and the best ingredients in the world won’t matter if you have an infected batch or an off-flavor from something being dirty.

Jack Hendler
Brewer at Jack's Abby Brewing
Framingham, MA
@JacksAbby

Don't try to brew lagers. :)

Adrian Beck-Oliver
Brewer at Aeronaut Brewing Co.
Somerville, MA
@AeronautBrewing

Other than the ever-popular (and important) answer of sanitation and fermentation, I'd say consistency. Brew the same recipe multiple times to dial in your process and system so that you can get the same beer and numbers every time. From there you can make individual changes to your recipe and process and get a real sense of ingredients and the science behind brewing.

Dann Paquette
Brewer at Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Somerville, MA
@PrettyBeer

It's more than just one tip but I don't know where to start. It helps to have specialized equipment in a brewery and I don't like to be in the dark as to what I'm working with. I sense that homebrewing benefits from doing it very often and having an overall confidence about what you're doing and in the results.

Rob Burns
Co-Founder at Nightshift Brewing
Everett, MA
@NightShiftBeer

The biggest thing is fermentation. You need to make sure you are pitching healthy yeast, the right cell count, and fermenting at the correct temperatures. That will make a world of difference.

Ben Howe
Founder and Head Brewer at Idle Hands Craft Ales/Enlightenment Ales
Everett, MA
@idlehandsbeer/@Alelightenment

Take notes. Record everything you do with every batch so you can look back and compare. Start with very simple recipes and master those before doing something complicated. And for god's sake, actually use the hydrometer! There's a reason it comes with your homebrew kit!

What’s the one lesson you think most homebrewers learn the hard way? And how can they overcome it?

Bryan Doran
Test Batch Brewer at Clown Shoes Beer
Ipswich, MA
@clownshoesbeer

Bad sanitation is something people seem to learn the hard way. Despite being told by just about everyone, it seems people need to experience a bad batch or two (or 100) before they realize the importance of basic cleaning and sanitation.

Jack Hendler
Brewer at Jack's Abby Brewing
Framingham, MA
@JacksAbby

Sanitation. Sanitation. Sanitation. On the surface is seems like an easy concept, but it's significantly harder to achieve even with experience and the proper tools. It takes a non-stop combative approach that's that doesn't easily fit into a fun part-time hobby.

Adrian Beck-Oliver
Brewer at Aeronaut Brewing Co.
Somerville, MA
@AeronautBrewing

Always watch your pot when you're approaching boil, and be quick to spray down excess foam. Boiling over on the stove in your rental apartment will result in hours of scrubbing and chipping off caramalized wort.

Dann Paquette
Brewer at Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Somerville, MA
@PrettyBeer

I've been handed so many homebrews over the years. The off-bits I taste are usually down to temperatures post-boil. DMS from not chilling the wort fast enough, high fermentation temp flavours, aldehydes. I've tasted quite a bit of good homebrew in the past few years, though.

Rob Burns
Co-Founder at Nightshift Brewing
Everett, MA
@NightShiftBeer

Bad batches of beer due to poor cleaning and sanitation. Beer is fragile and prone to all sorts of unwanted bacteria/wild yeasts. You really need to pay attention with how you clean and sanitize everything that comes into contact with the beer.

Ben Howe
Founder and Head Brewer at Idle Hands Craft Ales/Enlightenment Ales
Everett, MA
@idlehandsbeer/@Alelightenment

Sanitation: it's not a joke. Clean your equipment and then sanitize it!

As a brewer, what keeps you awake at night?

Bryan Doran
Test Batch Brewer at Clown Shoes Beer
Ipswich, MA
@clownshoesbeer

I only brew test batches, which means I don’t have to worry about a lot of things a head brewer has to do. In brewing test batches, I worry about the base beer a lot. Consistency across the brews to make sure the variations in flavors are intended and a result of the test.

Jack Hendler
Brewer at Jack's Abby Brewing
Framingham, MA
@JacksAbby

Everything. There is an ever-evolving list of worries. Safety, staff training, QA/QC, scheduling, R&M. The list never ends.

Adrian Beck-Oliver
Brewer at Aeronaut Brewing Co.
Somerville, MA
@AeronautBrewing

Brew scheduling and yeast management. At any given time we can have 3 or 4 strains active and in a brewery with only 7 fermentors and several dry hopped beers, it can be a juggling act to make sure tanks are emptying on time to get a new beer in with a yeast strain you want to keep active, coupled with trying to keep varied lineup across our 8 draft lines.

Dann Paquette
Brewer at Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Somerville, MA
@PrettyBeer

Been doing this a while so many worries I had a decade ago no longer bother me. Sometimes I can't remember if I set the temp on a tank or not. Living 90 minutes from my brewery doesn't help that thought go away.

Rob Burns
Co-Founder at Nightshift Brewing
Everett, MA
@NightShiftBeer

Everything. I used to sleep like a rock when I had a "normal" job. Now I am restless constantly. Business is booming and we can't keep up with demand but there is still so much that goes into running a brewery to worry about. The list is endless from hop contracting, to budgeting, to constant maintenance on all the equipment, to construction management, to employee and hiring fun, to future growth plans and strategies, and lately snow. That's all before you even get to brewing beer. Then you have to worry about are your cleaning processes flawless, wort quality, yeast health, O2 pickup while transferring and packaging beer, shelf stability, cross-contamination between sour and non-sour beers, is the beer high quality, is this batch world class. For the most part, things go smoothly but every week there are some bumps along the way that cause you to stay up at night.

Ben Howe
Founder and Head Brewer at Idle Hands Craft Ales/Enlightenment Ales
Everett, MA
@idlehandsbeer/@Alelightenment

Honestly? The thought of the beer I sent out to bars and stores not being excellent. I worry all the time that the beer I'm making is not up to the standards I have in my head. More practically, though, paranoid fears of tanks that are over pressurizing, or fermentations that are stuck. Things like that.

Make sure you're on the mailing list for the next post in the brewer panel series by signing up here.

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Boston Brewer Panel: On the Rise of Women and Beards in Craft Beer

In this post--the second in a five-part series--you’ll hear from brewers at Jack's Abby Brewing, Clown Shoes, Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, Nightshift Brewing, Idle Hands Craft Ales, Enlightenment Ales, and Aeronaut Brewing Co. on women's rising interest in craft beer and homebrewing and why beards are so prevalent in the industry.

In case you missed the first post on changing consumer tastes and preferences and the creative process, you can read it here.

To get notified when the next post is published, sign up here.

How have you seen the role of women in craft beer and homebrewing evolve in recent years? And what do you think the future will be like for them?

Jack Hendler
Brewer at Jack's Abby Brewing
Framingham, MA 
@JacksAbby

Even in the few years that Jack's Abby has been open, we've seen a staggering change in the mix of applicants that apply for jobs at the brewery. It's reassuring how many women are interested in positions at our brewery.

 

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Boston Brewer Panel: On Evolving Tastes and the Creative Process

In this post--the first in a five-part series--you’ll hear from brewers at Jack's Abby Brewing, Clown Shoes, Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, Nightshift Brewing, Idle Hands Craft Ales/Enlightenment Ales, and Aeronaut Brewing Co. on evolving beer tastes and the creative process for coming up with a new beer.

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How are your customers’ tastes evolving? And where do you feel the craft beer movement is headed next? 

Jack Hendler, Brewer at Jack's Abby Brewing, Framingham, MA (@JacksAbby)

That's the million dollar question. I've believed for years that as craft continues to attract mainstream beer drinkers, craft would need more "gateway" or mainstream beers. So far I've been wrong as very hoppy beers continue to grow at a staggering clip. It's hard to tell if extreme hoppy beers are a fad or will continue their upward trend.

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