An Interesting Approach To Homebrewing…

Finally, Someone Made Homebrewing Easy & Beautiful

Based in Somerville, HopBox is crushing Kickstarter – and looking to expand.

I once received a homebrew kit in the mail. It arrived in a box the size of a ride-on lawnmower, probably with more parts, too. One of the glass tubes was broken. The instruction manual weighed more than a growler. I never did get that IPA I was after. I think the box is still in my closet.

Homebrewing is traditionally a cumbersome, ugly affair. Thankfully Mike Langone, in a minuscule Somerville studio, is reimagining the process and infrastructure via his company HopBox, a full-service homebrew kit that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to your piece of mind. Everything is beautifully packaged in one thoughtful design – components, ingredients, recipes, bottles, etc. – allowing the aspiring brewer to grasp the process, understand it, and more quickly translate that to a bottle of beer to be proud of.

“For me, one of the frustrating things about homebrewing with the ‘typical’ setup was that I never quite understood what was happening behind the curtain, so to speak,” said Langone in a recent interview with BostInno. “Our thinking with the design of HopBox Brewing Kits is that the process itself is much more evident, more celebrated. You can actually see fermentation happening in real time, rather than putting the lid on a bucket, tossing it in a closet and crossing your fingers.”

Kickstarter is responding in kind. With 22 days still left in their campaign and an initial goal of $45,000, HopBox has already pulled in more than $90,000 from 400-plus backers. That’s a pretty undeniable proof of concept.

Langone said his team has been “blown away” by the progress so far. “While we always knew there wasn’t anything quite like it out there, there’s always a little bit of trepidation when you put yourself out there on a really public platform like Kickstarter,” he said.

The “apartment-size scale” of the kit is a major reason for its success. More standard setups can be colossal, with tubes snaking every which way and a set of instructions bordering on prohibitive. HopBox is compact and scalable. Placed out in the open, it could easily pass for art.

“Because of … its ‘always on display’ aesthetic, the brewing process is a lot less intimidating and more approachable for someone who wants to give brewing a try, but doesn’t necessarily want to commit to a bulky piece of equipment and five gallons of beer at a time,” said Langone. “I’ve had to work through a couple five-gallon batches that didn’t turn out well … as much as I love beer, that’s no easy task.”

HopBox is offering four models: The Homebrewer, The Long One, The Double Barrel and The Tall Boy. Depending on your choice, you can brew anywhere from one to three gallons at a time. That means when you nail it, you can up the ante; when something falls short, you’re not stuck with it for long. Swing-top bottles mean no clunky capping equipment. They also look badass. So there’s that.

I was hooked as soon as I caught wind of HopBox. But out of curiosity – and because dammit, I still want that IPA – I asked Langone how quickly HopBox could produce. You know, in a pinch. “It’s safe to allow about three weeks from brewing to drinking, sometimes even less,” he said.

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