Many people interested in the hobby of homebrewing are often dismayed by the upfront cost. Getting a large enough kettle, fermentation buckets, airlocks, and the bare essentials, on top of ingredients, is a large, upfront investment for a curiosity; however, it doesn’t have to be that way. Home fermentation can be easy and cheap, and it’ll give you some room to grow into the hobby with small, incremental investments.
For a simple and cheap way to get into the hobby, here’s what you’ll need:
- A large mason jar (Mine measures 4 1/2 cups)
- 0.5 lbs of ginger root
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 4 cups of water, minus the displacement caused by the above
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, I highly recommend buying an airlock and a lid that will fit it. As a note, mason jars have a nigh-universal thread size, so it’s actually very easy to find. If you don’t buy one, that’s okay, but you’ll need to unscrew the lid every few hours to release the gasses that build up during fermentation. This is critical, as unmaintained, the pressure can rise high enough that the mason jar will rupture leaving glass and partially fermented ginger beer everywhere.
Once you have all of the above, you’re ready to go.
Start by lightly scrubbing the ginger under cold running water. After that, run it through a grater or microplane into the mason jar. The larger holes in a standard box grater are fine and get the job done quickly. From there, add your sugar and unfiltered, unpurified tap water. Screw on the lid or airlock, and let it sit for about a week. Be sure to release the gasses, called burping, frequently at first if you don’t have an airlock.
After a week, strain out the solids and you have ginger beer! I personally opted to mix mine with the juice of two limes, some fresh mint from my windowsill planter, and a healthy serving of Suntory Whiskey. That said, it’s perfectly pleasant to drink on its own. Remember, brewing doesn’t have to be expensive or complex to be delicious.