I just finished up a big plate of spaghetti, so let me start out by making a few simple comparisons with homebrewing to set the stage.
Stouffer’s frozen spaghetti = Mr. Beer Kit
Boxed spaghetti noodles and canned pasta sauce = Extract brewing
Homemade noodles and meat sauce from scratch = Full-grain brewing
If you get great joy out of turning flour and eggs into delicious noodles and tomatoes, veggies, and spices into a flavorful sauce, you’re likely to love full-grain brewing. There will certainly be more work, but with that comes more control over the process and ultimately, the taste of the final product. Phil Joyce has written some great articles on PorchDrinking to give you some insight and tips regarding full-grain brewing.
However, if that seems like way to much effort for what it’s worth, and you find the Barilla pasta and Prego satisfying enough, extract brewing might be the way to go. For now, this is the boat I’m in. If you’re just getting started with brewing, this is also a way to get your feet wet and learn some basic techniques. It also helps that there are many extract kits widely available that include all the ingredients you’ll need to brew a fantastic beer. Having gotten my start in brewing in the Twin Cities, I might be a little biased, but I would highly recommend kits from Midwest Supplies and Northern Brewer, both of which distribute nationally. With the equipment Justin Hatfield laid out in his last article and a simple extract kit, you’ll soon find out how easy brewing tasty beer can be.
And then there’s Mr. Beer. Please, please, please…just don’t. That’s all I have to say about that.