Some weddings you leave with glazed nuts … the almond kind. The plan for ours is to have our guests leave with a fresh commemorative beverage. I am an enthusiastic home-brewer and whilst my skill base is by no means even ‘adept’ I continue to surprise myself by creating delicious concoctions for a fraction of the price it costs to buy them … and it’s a whole lot more fun! In the past, I have made chilli pale ale, apple and pear ciders, ginger beers, stouts, draughts, and quite a few more.
So, as one of the numerous DIY aspects of our wedding for the last few months and for the next few, I am brewing beer. Lots of beer. We estimate that a maximum of 120 guests will be joining us at our home for our wedding ceremony and reception, and I’d love each person to be able to take home a frosty one to drink later, and keep as a little bit of memorabilia. I thought I’d share my process with you lot so that other grooms out there, that may be feeling like they aren’t contributing to the plans much, can do the same and actually be excited about it too.
So, the first thing to wrap your lips around is the cost. It is dirt-cheap. First thing is your brewing setup – you can go to any good homebrew store (there is usually at least one within 5 suburbs of everyone) and they should have a starter kit for around $99 which will give you your fermenter, bottle caps and a capper, your tools for measurement and in some cases even your first batch of beer ingredients. This cost is a one off for most, unless you’re like myself and have 2 or 3 setups going at once! The second cost is your ingredients.
You will need:
- Your can of brewing mix (anywhere from $20 – $40)
- Brewing sugar ($8)
- Other brewing mixes to enhance the flavor with, eg. hops ($10) – Optional
- Get all your friends to save their beer bottles, big or small, for you to use.
That’s it! You’re looking at anywhere from $40 to $60 for your batch of brew, which within two weeks will equate to 23 litres of beer (around 25 longnecks or 60 stubbies). That’s pretty darn good value at 66c a stubbie, or $1.60 a longneck.
For the ins and outs of brewing itself there is a plethora of information on the internet, it can almost be overwhelming so I suggest get friendly with the person at that homebrew shop you go to – they are a very valuable resource and each time you go back in for your next batch you can ask about your previous one and what went wrong etc.
For me, brewing the beer is only half the fun. In the past I have created labels for my brew as a bit of fun and I sure as hell was going to with wedding beer! Having a background in graphic design this part comes easy, and free for me, but I’m sure most men could convince a mate with Photoshop and Illustrator to whip them something up. I have made my labels in the same fashion and style that I made our invitations..
I then got them printed onto sticker paper at our local printing shop, chopped them up and stuck them on. Ta-da!
So far for our guests I’ve brewed an Apple & Kiwi cider (bought 4kg of kiwi fruits on special, pulped them up, strained and just popped it in the fermenter with everything else), a dark ale, wheat beer and have now got a Czech Pilsner and Mexican Ceverza going.
They look ace together, and it’s just something you wouldn’t expect to get at a wedding. In the same way it’s overwhelmingly satisfying to cook a delicious meal for friends, the same applies to giving them a tasty drink to enjoy.
P.S There’s nothing like some old jars with a few stencils on ’em to drink your homemade brew from. 🙂
Photography by Brent Dakis
Ms Gingham says: Just like many of our brides make cookies for favors, so is Brent doing his tasty bit with what every Aussie loves … grog! Great idea Brent, thanks for sharing!
Brent says: “I’m that guy with the absurd ideas, the only difference is that I end up making them happen. I’m young but feel very, very old. My partner and I met three years ago and within that time I started my own jewellery business, we have had a son who is now 18months, CJ is 18 weeks pregnant with the next, we moved to the forest and bought a home, opened up a fashion retail store, Limerence, that stocks only handmade and Australian items, and are now getting married. Our mother’s joke that we won’t have anything left to do for the next 50 years. I make jewellery, practice graphic design, I love my wine and my music collection and in general, when I get a moment to think about it, I love my life.”
Read more from Brent here.