Brew Hard Seltzer

Sip on refreshingly simple seltzers with the help of a homebrew kit.

It’s no secret that among the many kitchen “crafts” to surge in popularity during the 2020 pandemic (hello, sourdough!), homebrewing was in the top tier. Another interesting phenomenon of 2020 was the upward trend of hard seltzer.

Homebrewing your own seltzer allows you to choose from a wide variety of flavors and garnishes. Photo by Adobe Stock/aamulya

I was introduced to a couple of brands of craft hard seltzer and found them enjoyable, especially during the sweltering mid-August Kansas heat. So, I decided last spring that I would try my hand at brewing a batch from home for the first time. If the project proved successful, I fancied the idea of enjoying the fruits of my labor and sharing the seltzer with friends and family.

Coming into homebrewing as a complete novice, I was looking for a solution that could get me all the necessary equipment, additives, flavorings — pretty much everything but the water — in one shot. I also had little knowledge of the science behind brewing, other than knowing  that it’s a fermentation process that converts sugar into alcohol over time.

Northern Brewer’s Craft Hard Seltzer Making Starter Kit seemed to check off everything on my wish list. The 5-gallon kit lists for $129.99 and yields 48 bottles of seltzer. Doing a bit of quick math, that works out to be about $2.70 per 12-ounce bottle. (Not including the cost of bottles, if buying them new.) While perhaps a little higher than a retail six-pack, the kit comes with nearly all the necessary equipment, so my next batch would only set me back about $20 for ingredients. I settled on the ruby-red grapefruit recipe.

The kit includes two 5-gallon buckets — one for bottling and one for fermenting — with pre-drilled holes for spigots, a plastic lid drilled for an airlock, two spigots, a 5-gallon stainless steel pot, an airlock, a large stainless steel spoon for mixing ingredients, a hydrometer, and two packets of no-rinse cleanser for sanitizing the equipment.

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