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Posted: Wed Mar 6 2013
If you add up all the beers you've drunk in your life, that'd be reason enough to get an account at Family Beer. Or a support group. Family Beer itself is a type of support group, in that you're not judged whether you prefer lager or bitter, or if, after meeting Peio and Silvia, you just want them to adopt you.
In this shop in Gràcia and via their online store, Family Beer sells equipment for brewing beer at home for only €50, which is pretty good for an investment that they'll tell you will last 'for life'. The kit includes all the tools to make beer, plus malts, yeast and hops. If you've already got a kit, you can buy brewer's utensils, malts (grains) and yeasts, and even spices and garnishes, such as nutmeg, cloves, bitter orange peel, and for the experts, oak chips to give your brew that special flavour. The equipment is for producing ale, the easiest variety to make.
As for the malts, which is the ingredient that gives beer its character, you can get different mixes depending on the seaons. For example, winter brings classic wheat ales as well as seasonal spins such as a Christmas malt, made from ginger, cinnamon and apple, and the bourbon-flavoured 'hot hot hot'.
The brewing process is more like making a stew than the sort of complicated recipe you may have imagined. Marinate, strain, boil, cool and wait. If even that seems daunting, don't worry, and if you think it's all going wrong at 3am, they'll pick up the phone if you call. How's that for support?