Brew your own booze

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By Stephanie Bomba

So you’re into the sauce but you always end up with a killer hangover the next morning. Well, Randy Gratton may have just the cure for you. No, it’s not come top-secret potion concocted by the government for alcoholic fighter pilots. It is, quite simply, home-brewed beer and wine.

Gratton, owner of Brewer’s Pride in Scarborough says you don’t get much of a hangover when you brew your own booze. Health nuts take note because brewing your own booze doesn’t have as many preservatives in the mix. Gratton says the two main reasons people brew their own booze are the chemicals and the price. “Most people feel there are not as many chemicals [in it] and it’s more natural.”

Bryan Belyea, who owns The Brewing Experience, agrees. “It’s better beer because it’s all-natural and there’s no preservatives. It’s genuine cold-filtered draft. And you get more varieties than in the beer store.”

Belyea also says most of his customers like to chat with each other as they brew their alcohol. “It’s a social event to some extent,” he says.

If the social aspect of brewing your own booze doesn’t appeal to you, there is one last all-important factor which will make you run out and brew your own: price. It is WAY cheaper to brew your own booze. You don’t have to pay the middle man. The only difference between buying your ferment at the liquor store or buying it at the brew-your-own place is you have to buy it in bulk at the breweries (this might actually be an added bonus for some of you heavy drinkers).

The Brewing Experience at Midland and Lawrence Ave. charges $75 to $100 for 48 litres of beer (the equivalent of six 2-4s). And it costs about $80 to buy a wine concentrate kit (red wine is more expensive).

Brewer’s Pride on Danforth Road charges a flat fee of $85 a batch of wine or beer. A batch of wine is equivalent to 30 full 750mL bottles (about $3 per bottle). The Brewing Experience offers a deal for all those virgin booze-brewers. If it’s your first time, they take $25 off per batch.

And both The Brewing Experience and Brewer’s Pride offer discounts to groups of five or more.

There is, of course, another option. You could do it all at home (if you’re feeling particularly adventurous). It’s a big pain because you need to buy the equipment.

If you’re going to tackle brewing your own booze, most U-brews sell kits on how to do it yourself. There are several books available in bookstores (though reading may take the fun out of it). There are even websites dedicated to home brewing, some of which give instructions for free.

But if you’re impatient, brewing your own alcohol might not be for you. Depending on what you choose to brew, the process can take up to six weeks for wine and two weeks for beer.

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