Brew Your Own Beer at Brooklyn’s Bitter & Esters

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As microbrews and small batch beers grow in popularity, taking the beer brewing process into your own hands is the next logical step. Bitter and Esters, located in Brooklyn, provides everything you need to make your very own customized beer. Douglas Amport and John La Polla founded Bitter & Esters as the city’s first do-it-yourself brewery two years ago, with an appreciation for both the scientific and artistic sides of brewing. Just like cooking and baking, Douglas and John show that beer brewing is equal parts art and science.

Limited only by your own imagination for flavors and types of brews, Bitter & Esters offers a dizzying array of hops, malts, extract syrups, and gourmet flavor enhancers to choose from. Select a recipe from two large bound books of beers, or work with one of the brew masters to create your own special blend. For the adventurous and adept, Bitter & Esters offers everything you’ll need to brew your beer at home, from machinery and equipment to fermenters and bottles. For those apprehensive about the home brewing process, Bitter & Esters offers a full range of classes right in their store, from beginner to advanced, to get you started.

Mixing Up The Brew

Mixing Up The Brew

Booking your own brewing session at Bitter & Esters is definitely the best way to dive right into the beer brewing process without a lot of muss and fuss. Set aside 3 1/2 to 4 hours, gather up five of your friends, and begin working with the experts at Bitter & Esters on the specific beer you’d like to brew. They’ll walk you through the whole process, from picking and grinding your hops, to steeping them, mixing in the yeast, flavoring additions, and finally sending your unfermented pre-beer into its container to ferment in a special temperature controlled room. We were lucky to have both John and Doug on hand for our session, and both can answer just about any beer brewing question you can throw at them. They’ll be as hands on or off as you want, and you’re free to bring whatever snacks and drinks you like. We brought a cheese and charcuterie spread, along with some lamb meatballs and savory tarts, most of which disappeared over the 4 hours we were brewing. You’ll have plenty of downtime as your beer goes through the process, so bring whatever libations you enjoy. Beer is obviously the natural choice here, and if you’re lucky you might even get to taste one they have on tap. The atmosphere is relaxed and informal, with plenty of time to socialize.

Owners Doug And John

Owners Doug And John

Once you tuck your hopped up beer away to ferment, you can book a date 4-5 weeks later to come back and carbonate and bottle your finished brew. You’ll get to take home six cases total (that’s 144 bottles), and the whole process, brewing, bottling and all, costs $350 for a signature beer recipe. That totals at just under $60 per person; well worth the experience and finished product. Personally, I love everything about the brewing process at Bitter & Esters, and want to get back to craft a new batch of beer as soon as possible. If you’re interested, call early, as appointments book up quickly around the holidays.

Bitter & Esters makes the perfect venue for a birthday celebration, bachelorette/bachelor party, or reunion. You can also brew a signature beer to serve at events, like weddings, birthdays, or graduations.

For more information, and to book your brewing appointment at Bitter & Esters, visit their website. 

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