Spending time in the kitchen with the ones you love is an age-old tradition and an integral part of every culture. If you’re looking for a unique gift for the epicurean or brewmaster hopeful in your life, look no further than FarmSteady and Brooklyn Brew Shop, two sister companies based in New York.
Brooklyn Brew Shop and FarmSteady
The business began as Brooklyn Brew Stop in an effort to spread a passion for making beer and other brewed products. The brew-making kits provide the basic supplies and a list of additional ingredients required. Home brewmasters can then consult the website for additional instructions and tips about the process. All types of brews can be made on a basic kitchen stove.
Erica Shea and Stephen Valand are the co-founders of Brooklyn Brew Shop and FarmSteady, authors of Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Beer Making Book and Make Some Beer, and members of the Forbes “30 Under 30” Class of 2014.
The couple’s story started when Erica gifted her dad’s old brew-making kit to Stephen. After they began dabbling in flavors and processes, they quickly discovered the five-gallon production was just too messy and space consumptive for their small New York kitchen. So they went on a hunt for smaller supplies. Unable to find what they needed, they did what few businesses do — scaled down.
They created the kits to make one-gallon beverages instead, making brew production more accessible to more people. Post development, the duo launched Brooklyn Brew Shop locally at the Brooklyn Flea Market in 2009. From there they were able to grow it into what it is today.
As a process that’s literally been around for thousands of years, making brew isn’t new or challenging. However, finding supplies and wholesome ingredients can be. These kits allow any beginner to discover just how easy and enjoyable making home brews can be.
If you know someone interested in making their own beer, wine or cider, this is a great way to get started. Brooklyn Brew Shop ships across the nation so you can have them sent directly to family and friends. With myriad flavors to choose from, there is something to appeal to most imbibers. Even better, each brew kit provides an activity. Like learning to bake, once you have the basic process down, you can experiment with a variety of flavors using the same supplies again and again.
Throughout the seasons, the selections change to match the cravings for pumpkin in the fall and something with a bit of spice in the winter. Then there are standard selections, too, such as Everyday IPA, Afternoon Wheat and Bruxelles Blonde.
If beer isn’t your thing, you can get kits to make Hard Apple Cider, Sparkling Wine and Sparkling Rosé (found on the FarmSteady site, too).
The company is involved in local and widespread campaigns for change. For example, in 2020, it launched the Black Is Beautiful kit, created in conjunction with the nationwide Black Is Beautiful initiative, and donated $25 from each kit sold to Color of Change.
Moving into the food realm, FarmSteady launched in 2016, offering kits for a variety of products from donuts to kombucha. These kits are a great way to get the kids into the kitchen, help the newly independent young adults gain new skills or present a fun kitchen activity for anyone on those cold winter days. The kits are a throwback to days on the farm when everything was made from scratch. Again, these setups provide the basic supplies and a list of additional ingredients.
They offer lessons on fermentation, baking, cheese-making and more. Some products are seasonal, such as apple cider or gingerbread donuts. Others are regularly available. The baker in your life can make bagels, sourdough bread, pretzels, or focaccia bread. For those who like fermented foods, they can create hot sauce, pickles, sauerkraut or fermented vegetables.
In addition to the kits, FarmSteady sells several books that cover the topic of foraging for your food and a mushroom manual by the National Audubon Society. There’s also a foraging knife or an entire foraging tool kit that includes bags and a spile for collecting syrup. Plus, there is an assortment of books about sourdough making alongside “An Anarchy of Chillies,” an informational dive into the many types of chilies and their well-established uses.
The compost tote is yet another gift option, made from biodegradable materials with a bamboo handle.
You can find FarmSteady and Brooklyn Brew Shop products on their respective websites. The kits and accessories are also sold at national retailers, including Nordstrom, Williams-Sonoma and more. They also sell internationally in over 25 countries.
Product review notes
Although I haven’t had a chance to make the products myself, the company sent a few to try out. They arrived quickly and in good condition. Packaging is mostly cardboard and recyclable. I received the Hard Cider Kit, which includes Dry Cider Yeast, Glass Fermentation Jug, Racking Cane, Tubing, Tubing Clamp, Screw-cap Stopper, Airlock and Cleanser.
The only additional item I need is a gallon of apple cider. I have brewed beer before so I already have a capper, bottles and caps. The short videos showing the process are easy to follow. I will be referring back to them when we make this over the holidays.
FarmSteady also provided an apple cider donut mix. I love the reusable cloth bag. It’s a nice touch instead of plastic. This kit doesn’t come with the donut mold (sold separately), but it does offer an alternative solution on the website, simply using a muffin tin instead.
Both kits eliminate unnecessary packaging waste and stick to basic, natural ingredients with simple instructions. I plan to pick up some of these for my nieces who love to bake.
Images via FarmSteady and Brooklyn Brew Shop
Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.