I know some people are very anti-beer making kits. They would rather buy all the equipment and ingredients on their ownin order to create a unique brew or follow a recipe. I certainly enjoy the hunt for that certain flavor of hops or a unique spice to add to my batch. I also like talking to other brewers about what they use and why. But I am not as hostile toward starter or recipe kits as some of my fellow homebrewers.
First of all, I think kits are a great place to start. Especially when you buy a kit with the equipment. Creating a beer is kind of like cooking—even if you follow the recipe to the best of your ability, there is still a huge margin of error. And when you are just starting out, you might not know the difference between the incredible variety of ingredients out there. You may accidentally get something wrong and make a terrible batch of beer. That is a crime in and of itself, but it also may discourage you from trying again.That would be an even bigger shame. Kits give you more of a direction and less margin for error. The science of beermaking can be tough to figure out, so a kit that has all the right ratios and ingredients that are going to taste good together can boost your confidence.
Secondly, sometimes kits are just easier if you want a specific flavor. Instead of hunting down everything you need, you can purchase a recipe kit with everything already measured out and good to go. Some companies offer advanced recipe kits that will challenge even the more experienced among us. It really depends on the level of effort you want to put in. I like to read about the different kit varieties and sometimes I’ll find one that sounds super intriguing. So then I’ll order it.
My third and final reason is a financial one: they can be cheaper. Let’s face it, this can be an expensive hobby. It can be overwhelming to try and figure out what you need to buy to get started or to make a batch of what you want. When you buy an equipment kit (usually a starter set), you already know you have the things that you need. The same goes for a recipe kit. You get what you need to make the batch, so you aren’t wasting money on unused ingredients or have anything leftover that ends up going to waste.
I just like to share my hobby with others. I don’t really care how any of us go about it. And if I’m tasting someone’s homemade beer, I really don’t care if the ingredients came from a kit or if they were purchased individually. I’m just happy to have a buddy to share a handcrafted beer with!