LAS VEGAS – Unless you’re willing to invest a lot of time and money learning how to brew beer, it’s hard to find a beer that suits your exact preferences. PicoBrew, a system which lets users create craft beer at home through packets, has introduced the Freestyle feature: an innovative system that allows users to craft the perfect beer online, then make it fresh from the comfort of their own homes. Now, if you can work a Web browser, you can craft your own beer.
How Does It Work?
I went hands-on with PicoBrew’s freestyle feature at CES Unveiled, and while I couldn’t taste the final product for myself, the process couldn’t be simpler. First, you visit PicoBrew’s website and select the Freestyle option. From there, you choose the style of beer you want to create – an IPA, a stout, a lager, or so forth. I chose a lager, which started off with a pleasant golden color and a moderately low alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage.
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From there, I could choose the style of hops that went into it (I went with chocolate hops, as I’ve never tried a chocolate lager before), the length of fermentation and even the dry-hopping method, which can add additional and unexpected flavors at the end. As I altered the beer, I watched its ABV, its flavor profile and even its color change in real time. At the end, you can even give your masterwork a unique name.
How Does It Taste?
Unfortunately, as any amateur brewer can tell you, brewing beer takes a considerable amount of time, and while Freestyle can make you something you won’t find in bars, it can’t alter the principles of chemistry. I wasn’t able to try my creation, as it would take a few weeks to create. The danger – and excitement – of Freestyle is that you’re not guaranteed to create something good. There is a chance that you could craft something unpalatable – although the software will warn you if your ingredients clash with one another.
Why Should You Care?
The craft beer revolution in North America and Europe has exposed beer-lovers to all sorts of exotic and unusual flavor profiles they may never have tried otherwise. Beer can taste like chocolate, or grapefruit, or cinnamon, or rice rather than just wheat. Freestyle is a way to open up even more flavor options to the average user who may not have the time, space or expertise to brew something from scratch.