When homebrewing was legalized in 1977, brewers had access to little more than a dusty can of pre-hopped malt extract with a package of dry bread yeast taped to the top. The results were often as uninspiring as they were predictable. Things have changed though. Even modest homebrew shops typically carry a wide variety of fresh malts and hops from around the world with dozens of different pure yeast cultures optimized for every imaginable style. While the expanded options are liberating, the selection can also be overwhelming.
To help make sense of the bewildering array of options, we assembled five ridiculously simple homebrew recipes to help cut through the clutter. We also include suggestions for how you can riff on each to make it your own making your buddies green with envy.
Our recipes rely on liquid extract for the base malt, but we also include all-grain versions that assume a 65-percent mash efficiency. All batches boil the wort for 60 minutes and are designed to produce five gallons of beer.