Brews News: Surefire Hit or Satan in a Sunday Hat? You Be the Judge.

It was bound to happen. Williams Sonoma, aka the folks who brought “keeping up with the Joneses” to the kitchen, has entered the world of mail-order homebrew (except they call it “artisanal beer,” natch).

Check it out:

With their apartment-friendly beer-making kits, Erica Shea and Stephen Valand of the Brooklyn Brew Shop make it easy to craft artisanal beer – right in your own kitchen. Showcasing the finest barley, hops, yeast and spices, your all-natural home-crafted brew will taste as great as the premium artisanal beers served at the best brew pubs.

Choose either fresh summer wheat beer or India Pale Ale (IPA), a pub favorite with bold, hops-intensive flavor.
Includes the specialty equipment and ingredients you’ll need for home-brewing, including enough grain, hops and yeast for your first batch.
Additional equipment and ingredients required: six-quart pot, fine-mesh strainer, funnel, honey and ice.
Step-by-step instructions guide you through every stage: the mash, the sparge, the boil, fermentation and bottling.
The entire brewing process takes approximately 17 days.
Each mix produces 1 gal. of IPA beer or fresh summer wheat beer.
Equipment can be reused over and over to make more fresh beer.

Kit includes:

1-gal. glass fermenting jug.
Screw-cap stopper.
3-piece chambered airlock.
Racking cane.
4′ tubing.
Tube clamp.
12″ laboratory thermometer.
Sanitizer packet.
Ingredient mix (choose summer wheat or IPA).

jump for the burning questions…

Now, I have my own opinions about this, especially when we have such fine Homebrewing resources right in our own backyard. But I’d like to hear from the real homebrewers out there—the weekend warriors, the basement brewers. What thinkest thou about this? More specifically:

Can a mail order kit provide the instruction necessary for the novice homebrewer to be successful, or will this prove more frustrating than fruitful?

Should a copy of The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing (3rd edition) be included?

What about the price? Is $39.95 going to undercut our mom & pop homebrew shops?

And more importantly, is anyone out there willing to try this out and give us their opinion?

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