Coopers beer kits
If Mr. Beer had 149 years of brewing history behind it and gave its buyers equipment they ever stood a chance of using again when they became more regular brewers, its products would be virtually indistinguishable from Coopers.

Having brewed its beers in Australia since 1862, Coopers is perhaps better known worldwide as a producer of home brewing products and easy-to-make home brewing mixes. Like Mr. Beer, Coopers relies heavily on cans of hopped malt extract and brewing sugar "enhancers" to ease home brewers into the process and get them producing IPA, stout, pilsner and witbier as quickly as possible.

Is it a bit of corner cutting? Sure. Does it still require boiling, fermenting, bottling and simpler forms of the basic steps required to make beer? Absolutely, and it even provides the right equipment for doing so.

The $100 to $125 Coopers kit includes a six-gallon plastic fermenting bucket, hydrometer, measuring flask, instructional DVD, long mixing spoon, an adhesive thermometer strip and 30 plastic screw-top bottles. Once a brewer finishes the lager brew pack, sugar booster and carbonation drops, however, that fermenter and airlock can make the transition to standard malt, hops, grain, yeast and water brewing a lot more easily than the two-gallon Mr. Beer.

That still leaves a home brewer short of items such as tubing, actual thermometers, sanitizer and other brewing necessities, but it allows him or her to find their footing with the Coopers offerings while building up to bigger brews. Coopers will even have standard malt extracts waiting for the novices once they hit the next level.

"The equipment available at home brew supply shops offers more room for advancement in the hobby than the Mr. Beer or Coopers kits," Glass says. "For someone really not sure about jumping into the hobby, a Coopers kit might be just the thing to test the waters with."

Buy Coopers beer kits on Amazon here.

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