Even with the plethora of readily available beer brands, some people still prefer their own homemade brews. Nonetheless, not everyone has the expertise nor the time to go over the best ways and equipment to use when brewing. It is a steep learning curve. But worry not, the Pico from PicoBrew may just save the day.
Earlier this year, PicoBrew introduced the Zymatic and while it offered plenty of tools for monitoring and automating the brewing process, the dimensions and the $2,000 price-tag just didn't make sense for home brewers. Having learned from its downfall, the company came up with the Pico, which is a more affordable and compact version of the Zymatic.
At its core, the Pico, with a height of just 12 inches, functions the same as its bigger brother. Unlike home-brewing starter kits where ingredients need to be gradually added based on the provided instructions, the Pico will happily take everything in — prepackaged pods of grains and hops — after the chamber gets filled with water.
After two hours, the beer is brewed. The yeast then needs to be added when the keg has cooled down for it to ferment. With the magic of time, roughly five to seven days, the beer is ready for consumption. And that's most of the manual labor that the brewer needs to do.
The Pico gives the same convenience as the Keurig coffee maker. It eliminates all the prep work that needs to be done and gives consumers a product that they can just dump the ingredients into, press some buttons and proceed with their day. It's almost a foolproof method, unless you're that big of a fool.
There's also plenty of choices for the prepackaged pods. At the moment, PicoBrew has more than 50 breweries supplying it with the prepped grains and hops, which it calls PicoPaks. Moreover, brewers will be free to adjust the IBU (International Bittering Units) and the alcohol levels and thereby, creating their own unique brew.
As with almost anything, the Pico also has its own drawbacks. Due to the size limitations, it can only produce 5 liters of beer at a time, which is half of what the Zymatic is capable of at 9.5 liters per batch. And although it's smaller and advertised as a countertop appliance just like a microwave, it will still need a decent amount of space due to the keg that comes with it.
At the moment, the Pico is only sold through Kickstarter. At $499, backers will receive a Pico, one PicoPak, the keg and a booklet. Below is PicoBrew's five-minute introduction video for the Pico.