Brewing your own beer may seem difficult in London's small flats, but it is indeed possible. What better way to get cheap, good quality Real Ale but to make it yourself?
Homebrewing is one of those hobbies that can be incredibly simple (pour in kit, water and add yeast) all the way through to insanely complex (grow and malt your own barley, hops and then mash from scratch) with everything in between. It's incredibly satisfying to gradually learn the skills while producing delicious, cheap beer.
A good place to start would be to pop into a homebrew shop and pick up a fermentation bucket, bottle capper, caps and a couple of kits. Collect re-usable bottles (thick-walled, proper lip on the bottle) by drinking good quality bottle-conditioned real ales.
An excellent book for beginners and experts alike is Graham Wheeler's Home Brewing.
Water is critical to brewing. London's domestic water supply is high in lime and otherwise quite soft, and is treated with chloramine. Classic brewing waters tend to contain higher amounts of minerals. Some homebrewers add these salts to "Burtonise" the water.
The simplest water treatment, recommended for all London brewers, is to open boil all your water to ensure sterility and drive off some of the chloramine.
Homebrew shops in London
- Pitfield Beer Shop, N1 6EY
- Spencers Homebrew, HA5 5DY
- Cheers Winemaking and Brewing Supplies, SM3 8LN