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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 12/22/2010

Chat Leftovers: Beer-making gifts for the beginner

By Jane Touzalin

Merry Wednesday and happy holidays. Today's Food section is full of great flavors, from columnist Jim Shahin's smoked goose to Nancy Baggett's holiday candy. And read all about how Washington's street-food vendors fare when the temperature tanks.

Insider tip: Today's Dinner in Minutes is good eats. I liked it so much that I snagged some after the photo shoot and trucked it home, where I spilled it all over the sidewalk. No biggie: I can make it in only 30 minutes, But not immediately. I'll steer clear of the supermarket for the next few days. A lot of folks are starting to panic right about now, and the grocery store could be nearly as frenzied as the mall.

If you are among the panicked, take heart. An hour spent with today's Free Range chat should help solve any culinary conundrums. Be there at noon. Meanwhile, here's an answer to a question we didn't have time to handle during last week's chat:

My brother received a home-brewing kit from my parents. I'm not exactly sure what hops/barley/etc. was included in the set, but I'd like to add to his possibilities by getting him some ingredients, or at least things that will give his beer a little something extra. I've never home-brewed. Other than the basics, what would a novice home-brewer be interested in having? I'd love to take him somewhere in the area where he can shop and go through the offerings himself. Web sites are welcome, too. He generally enjoys IPAs and the like, but I'm pretty sure that as long as he has a drinkable, non-poisonous product in the end, he won't care what kind of beer he creates (at first).

I'm no home-brewer either, so I punted this one over to our beer columnist, Greg Kitsock. Here's his response:

A first-time home-brewer might want to try his hand at something forgiving, like an IPA or an Irish-style dry stout. If there are any defects, the hops or roasted malt will tend to cover them up.

There are a number of outlets in this area where you can buy supplies, including MyLHBS (Local Home Brew Shop) in Falls Church and the Flying Barrel in Frederick.

For more knowledge about home-brewing, you might want to get your brother a copy of Charlie Papazian's "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" or a magazine like Zymurgy, published by the American Homebrewers Association, or Brew Your Own. You might also encourage him to join a local home-brew club, like the Washington-area group Brewers United for Real Potables.

Best of luck!

By Jane Touzalin  | December 22, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Beer, Chat Leftovers  | Tags:  Chat Leftovers, Free Range, Jane Touzalin  
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Another great and free resource for first time brewers is by John Palmer. Papzian's book is good, but has a lot of inaccuracies.

Posted by: df540148 | December 22, 2010 7:41 AM | Report abuse

A subscription to Beer Advocate magazine might be nice too. There's always one homebrew recipe (usually intermediate/advanced?), a style guideline article, and plenty of articles on beer and tasting notes. I think that the recipes and style guidelines could provide ideas/inspiration for a beginning homebrewer.

Posted by: ArlingtonSMP | December 22, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

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