All you need to brew beer is yeast, grain, hops, and water. The first three ingredients can be bought online or through local stores specializing in home brewing. Balandran advises using water that is a bit hard (as opposed to soft water) because there are flavors in the beer that cling to the minerals in the water.
In terms of brewing equipment, you can very easily buy everything you need for around $70. Balandran says the essentials are a food-grade bucket with an airtight lid, a 5-gallon stainless steel pot, a strainer, an airlock, and a burner to cook over.
Bottling is a fairly straight-forward process of siphoning the fermented beer from the bucket into individual bottles. Add a cap using a $15 capping device, let a bottles sit for a week, and you've got homebrew!
One of the best parts about homebrewing is having control over exactly how the beer is made and what goes into the mix. Like any kind of cooking, there are easy recipes and more challenging ones. Balandran encourages new brewers to add a bit of flair to their brew, like some blood orange juice in a hefeweizen or cardamom steeped into the brew along with the other ingredients.
Excited to give homebrewing a try? We certainly are!
• Listen to Evan Kleiman's full interview with Nathalie Balandran, and the rest of the episode, on the Good Food website.
Related: Beer Guide: What is Lambic Beer?
(Image: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)