Turn your kitchen into a craft brewery? New appliance makes it so

Keurig for beer?. Courtesy Handout

The convenience of the Keurig coffee machine is being harnessed to create what could become another popular home brew: beer.

That’s the hope of PicoBrew, a startup led by a former Microsoft vice-president, that’s tapping into the pod-based mania created by the Keurig machine’s method for creating coffee to produce a home appliance that can accomplish the same feat for beer.

Its latest model, the Pico, is a 12-inch wide, 30-pound machine that loads prepackaged pods of grains, hops and yeast into a chamber of water, and after a two-hour brew cycle, produces five litres of IPA, lager or whatever type of beer you fancy.

It’s only slightly more complicated than popping a Green Mountain K-Cup into your Keurig. At present, there are more than 50 breweries, mostly in the U.S., making PicoPak pods for the machine, including Rogue Ales and Elysian Brewing. Packs start from US$19 per five-litre batch.

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The catch

There are some inconveniences, though, the main being the unit doesn’t contain the mini keg where the beer ends up, so you need space for that, too (hopefully in your fridge unless you like your beer warm). It’s also bulkier than your typical counter-top appliance.

For now, it’s available via Kickstarter, where the price starts at $499 (U.S). The company’s website says the eventual retail price will be $1,000. If everything goes according to plan, the Pico will start shipping to Kickstarter customers next spring, when the units will also become available for general sale.

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