Sometime last year I was told about the WilliamsWarn Personal Brewery and a very short time later I decided I had to have one. Then on the 20th of March this year I put down my first home brew in about 20 years and only 6 days later I was drinking my best ever hand crafted beer.
It is now 7 months and 15 brews later (#16 is currently on the go and will be my first Wheat Beer) and I have made quite a few best ever beers since that first Summer Ale back in March and I am so impressed with the WilliamsWarn and what it can produce that I felt inspired to start this blog.
I thought very carefully before purchasing the WilliamsWarn (or just the WW from now on), as at the time there were no "50 months interest free" finance deal available and so it was quite an investment, especially given the fact that it was still a very new product unlike anything else available on the market for the average or novice home brewer like myself.
And I did consider spending less than half of what the WW would cost on all the equipment to make and keg my own beer "properly" using all grain techniques, but with a small house with no garage that is home to the wife and I and our 2 very young girls (Tasmin 2, Eden <1), the WW was definitely a wise choice for time and space reasons. And I'm no Albert Einstein or George Clooney as shown by this photo of me pouring a drink from my WW #124:
All the beers I have made so far have been from extract and I am sure that one day I'll attempt an all grain brew, probably with some assistance from a fellow home brewer who owns a large enough pot and burner. However for the time being I am quite happy with the results the extract beers have been producing, especially since it takes considerably less time to put a brew together using extract (last week I did one before 1PM while minding both of my 2 girls for the morning).
With some of the beers I have made so far I have added extra ingredients such as steeped speciality grains, home made (Belgian) candy sugar and to my first stout I even added dark chocolate hand made by a neighbour, but now I am focusing on getting familiar with all the different brewers yeasts and hops available to the home brewer as these are core ingredients to any good beer!
Where I currently live (Nelson, NZ) has been an inspiration to me beer-wise as we are very spoilt for choice with the close proximity of quality pubs and real craft breweries, plus the bonus of NZ Hops being just down the road in Richmond as the hop growing region of New Zealand is just on our door step. Even the closest pub to my front door (it is a Lion Nathan one so I don't go there) has hops growing in its beer garden!
The second closest pub to home is a Sprig and Fern Tavern and not too much further away is the great The Free House. Then about a 15 minute walk (even with 2 little girls) is the Founders Brewery and in the area we also have McCashin's Brewery, Bays Brewery, The Lighthouse Brewery to name just a few. To see more in the district check out the NZ Beer Tourist website.
And look no further than my closest supermarket the Nelson Fresh Choice if you want to buy great beer with your bread, milk and nappies, or just spend 10 minutes or so browsing the options and reading labels...
I suspect that if I didn't get my WW back in March this year, that by now I would of probably spent close to half the total amount it cost me in beer bought over the bar and at supermarkets. And in doing so I would of missed out in all the fun and joy of making my very own beers, while learning with every brew more about the craft of brewing, even if I am using extract and possibly the simplest and fastest piece of home brewing equipment in the world today.
With that I will end my first blog entry and introduction. Later this week I plan to write more about the equipment I use and this will not be just about the WilliamsWarn Personal Brewery but also the odd bits and pieces I have found useful, including things found inside those Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs that my 2 year old daughter loves almost more than I love making and drinking my very own beer!