Craft beers are well and truly taking over the bar scene in the US and Europe, as an ever-growing number of microbreweries continue to educate and delight people with unusual lagers, ales and porters. But for the true beer connoisseur, it might be time to try taking the next step: home brewing. In Sweden, beer lovers Jakob Nielsen and Mikael Zetterberg have made it easy to create your own beer with their stylish, practical home brewery kits. Their company, Det Lilla Köksbryggeriet (loosely translated as “The Little Kitchen Brewery”) sells eight different home brewery kits, including the “OOOH! Organic IPA” and “WTF! American Wheat” beers. The company sources its brewing ingredients from Humlegården (outside of Stockholm) which supplies ingredients for many of Sweden’s breweries.
“We started brewing our own beer three years ago as we were looking for a sensible hobby for grown-ups, and were surprised by how well it tasted,” Nielsen says. Finding the process a bit tricky, he and Zetterberg set about creating an easier way to brew beer at home, even for the total beginner. “We brewed every week for a year, simplifying and refining the process to make it as simple as possible—kind of trying to create ‘beer brewing for dummies.’ When we felt we had a great recipe that was easy to make and difficult to fail with, we launched our company.”
Det Lilla Köksbryggeriet launched two years ago with 50 brewery kits, each supplying about four liters of beer, which immediately sold out. Since then they’ve sold over 5,000 kits, and have received ecstatic emails from customers about its simplicity and the great flavor of the beer. Part of Det Lilla Köksbryggeriet’s charm is the design of the brew kits, created by the founders with the help of illustrator Andreas Samuelsson, who designed packaging for the company’s newest flavors. In addition to the kit, the company sells its own brown glass bottles to store the final product in.
The brew enthusiasts have also collaborated with inventive Danish brewery Mikkeller on their first whole malt beer, a stout called Beer Geek Homebrew, a version of Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Breakfast. “We looked at Mikkeller and saw people who were coming up with one beer after the other—a fun one, a tasty one, a weird one, and so on. We like the way they think and recognized ourselves in it,” says Nielsen. “So we went to Copenhagen and knocked on Mikkeller’s door with a Kitchen Brewery kit and asked if they wanted to create something fun with us, and they said yes straight away. The craft beer world has a unique culture; you help each other out and everybody is friends more or less, so you see a lot of collaboration between breweries. Money and rights aren’t that important, you just do it!”
That same advice is exactly what Nielsen would give anyone who’s thinking of brewing their own beer for the first time: “Just do it!” And Det Lilla Köksbryggeriet’s brewery kits have made it that much easier for people to do so.
Images courtesy of Det Lilla Köksbryggeriet