Forget about a cumbersome set up in your shed and pouring over textbooks, a new high tech and low stress gadget means you can now make pub-standard craft beer with ease at home.
Designed to impress, the sleek black and chrome BrewArt, the world's first fully automated personal brewing system, looks the part on a smart kitchen counter next to your top-of-the-range espresso machine.
All you have to do is choose what style of beer takes your fancy, whether it's a crisp, clean Czech pilsner, a dark and chocolaty stout or a big and bold, hoppy IPA, pop in the ready-made, all-natural ingredients, add water and press a button.
"We recognised a while back that there were a group of people out there who liked the idea of brewing but weren't keen on what was available at the moment," says BrewArt's co-creator Scott Harris, who funnily enough came up with the idea over a beer. "It was all a bit industrial and focussed on making a significant quantity of beer, which isn't ideal if they happen to be living in an apartment and didn't want it to take over."
Testing out the concept, the feedback the BrewArt guys kept hearing was that many would-be brewers didn't have the time or the space for the old-fashioned approach and weren't up for a whole heap of cleaning up either. "That's when we went down the route of creating something that makes pub quality beer but also looks attractive, that's cool and trendy and also, importantly, really easy to do," Harris says.
Enter the BeerDroid
The keg-like BeerDroid, which sounds like something from the Star Wars cantina, is available exclusively at Harvey Norman stores or can be ordered online via
The website also has over 40 ingredients packs, dubbed BrewPrints, that allow you to create the beer style that suits you. They're easy to search and the site offers plenty of helpful suggestions based on what you've tried before.
Inside each BrewPrint, slick sachets contain clearly marked yeast, hops and all the other elements you'll need. You can even buy individual ingredients for those who want to improvise and design their own beers.
"The tech inside the BeerDroid makes brewing as simple as pushing a button, but some budding brewers want to be able to tinker, so we added the ability to customise settings in there too," Harris adds. "You can play around with the temperature profiles or change the ingredients and the balance if you want. We didn't take away the ability to put your own love into it."
Track your progress
Once the BrewPrint has been inserted into the BeerDroid with water, the brewing profile is automatically uploaded via Wi-Fi. You can even keep track of the beer's progress via an App on your phone available for both Android and iOS.
It doesn't make a racket either, with a quiet but powerful compressor regulating the beer's temperature during the entire process.
How long you have to wait for a cold one depends on what beer style you're making, with lagers taking longer to ferment than ales or stouts. A Czech pilsner or Belgium lager will take around eight to 10 days, whereas a pale ale will be finished in under a week. An innovative electronic detection system will alert you via push notification when it's good to go.
Push to a pint
"We launched just before father's day and already we're hearing about bragging in the pub as people get notifications that their beer is ready," Harris says. "It's just cool to be able to monitor and control that from wherever you are in the world."
The resulting ten litres of beer can be kegged or if you are away the BeerDroid will automatically store it at four degrees until you're ready to deposit it into two airtight, five-litre kegs. Once in the kegs, the beers need a minimum of two weeks to achieve natural carbonation. They also have a disposable liner and beer lines to minimise the clean up.
Then it's time to hook the kegs of your freshly-brewed beer up direct to the BrewFlo, a temperature-controlled dispenser with a pub-like chrome beer tap. When you pull the handle it pumps air into the keg but not into the liner, squeezing it free at just the right pressure to achieve the perfect pour and head retention.
"What we didn't want was a beer that looked good but tasted flat or the alternative," Harris says. "We had to make sure you get a rich, creamy head and full carbonation every time. The other advantage of this patented design is that the beer remains sealed all the time, so you don't get the oxidisation like you do in normal kegging systems."
Ready for a cold one
The BrewFlo has all the smarts built-in to keep your beer just the right temperature and a digital monitor that lets you know how much is left in the keg. Easy to clean and designed with smart, snap on parts that take the stress out of hooking one element up to another, the complete BrewArt experience allows you to have the guys round at the weekend for a few pints you made yourself, all without any fuss.
And if you and your mates get stuck in then change your mind on what you fancy halfway through the keg, no drama, Harris says. "You can get half way through a keg of stout, decide you want a pilsner, take it out, put it aside for a couple of weeks, plug it back in later and it will be fine."