The Beer Machine
If you really like a macrobrewed beer, don't want to get your hands dirty and find the actual brewing process a painful bore, you're likely in The Beer Machine's key demographic.
The Beer Machine is the kind of product that makes home brewing enthusiasts cringe, but lets home brew wannabes play Anheuser-Busch (BUD) for a few days. The 2.6 gallon contraption is basically a giant refrigerator-friendly fermenter with a tap and CO2 dispenser. It's entire brewing process, meanwhile, consists of combining water, hop-and-barley-derived "beer mix" and yeast, letting it ferment for about six days and throwing it into the fridge for another 10 days.
For $115 to $135 per machine, plus about $26 to $35 for beer mix packs, armchair brewers get to brew stout, porter, brown ale and lager through a process that in no way resembles actual brewing. It's not the best option out there, but if your potential home brewer is among the laziest people on earth and is OK with never holding a handful of hops in his or her life, the Beer Machine is definitely the path of least resistance.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.
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