Beer lovers who have balked at the complexity of home brewing their own lagers, stouts or ales have reason to be excited, thanks to the Pico, a counter-top appliance that looks to make homebrewing as easy as using a cappuccino machine. All you need to do is load modules for hops and grains into the Pico, attach a 5-liter mini-keg that has been filled with water and press Brew.
After a week or two, your batch will be ready for you, and since the Pico allows for customization of bitterness and alcohol levels, brewers can make a batch that's unique to their own tastes. PicoBrew has launched the device's Kickstarter drive today (Oct. 26), where early bird brewers can reserve a unit for $499, half of its eventual $999 retail price.
When PicoBrew visited the Tom's Guide offices, we got to sample a pale ale and a stout, both of which our staff gave high marks to. The stout was from Rogue, one of the "more than 50" breweries that PicoBrew has partnered with to make the PicoPak ingredient sets based on popular beers.
Dogfish Head and Elysian are two other notable breweries that are already on board with the PicoBrew, which looks to sell recipes and PicoPaks on the BrewMarketplace, its online store. Both professional and amateur brewers will earn royalties from sales made on the site, which PicoBrew is calling the "AppStore for beer," where customers can also rate and comment on recipes and PicoPacks.
A foot wide and 31 pounds, the Pico may fit onto the counter, but both it and its kegs take up a lot of space. We at Tom's Guide see it as a device that primarily stays in the garage or study, and is brought out for special occasions.