As soon as we got engaged, Mike wanted to brew beer for our wedding. We gave out these bottles as an overnight gift to some of our guests. Beware, this project is awesome but it takes at least a month of prep. First collect beer bottles, remove all labels, and sterilize them:
We got our beer making kits from Brooklyn Brewshop. You can order from them online – the kits come with the raw ingredients for one gallon of beer. We went with Spicy Saison, Rye IPA and Maple Porter Stout. The first stage of making beer is a lot like making oatmeal…with a thermometer.
Then there’s a complicated process of separating the cooked grains (mash) from the liquid (wort). The wort is what will become alcoholic thanks to the miracle yeast. Mike is a weirdo and likes to eat the mash – we call it “manmeal,” and it’s absolutely disgusting.
Keep the wort in a cool place, out of direct sunlight. Let it ferment for about a week. You need to hook it up to a special pipe that lets air bubbles out, but doesn’t let air in.
Make sure to label all the gallons right away, because they all start to look the same after a while.
When the bubbling has subsided (after about 5-6 days) move the jugs to a cool dark place. Store it there for another week. Now you’re ready to bottle! We bought our labels from My Own Labels. The hardest part of the process was coming up with the names. Mike gets all the credit here: he came up with “I Do” brew, and he based the different names on songs
Rye IPA was called “Rye me to the Moon” based on Fly me to the Moon
Maple Porter Stout was called “Maple Stout Put your Hands up” based on the Isley brothers You Make me Want to Shout.
Spicey Saison was called “Saisons of love” after Rent’s Seasons of Love.
But beer isn’t complete without some snack mix. I found this delicious recipe from The DIY Wedding (I’d highly recommend this book. My friend gave it to me after her wedding, and I just passed it on to my next friend who will be getting married). Is uses about every packaged good from the grocery store. Warning, if you’re trying to lose weight before the wedding have someone else make this because you won’t be able to resist it 🙂
Other gifts we came up with for our overnight guests: journals and writing games for my friends who are writers, mini bottles of bourbon distilled in the Hudson Valley , and fancy chocolate bars.