Kris Connor
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Beer is no longer the "blue collar" drink.  In fact, more and more people are recognizing the fact that the world of beer is very complex and turning out a tasty batch requires a lot more expertise than wine-making.

Thanks in part to breweries like Sam Adams and Abita,  a lot more attention is being paid to craft brews and there are so many options out there far beyond the two or three brands most people are familiar with.

This trend is given credence by the fact that one of the posh high end retailers, Williams-Sonoma, is now offering their version of home brewing.


Having the fanciest espresso machine is no longer the ultimate status symbol when it comes to at-home beverages. If you really want to impress your friends and house guests (unless they are wine snobs), it's now hip to serve them up a chilled pint of the beer you proudly brewed in your own house. As any such hobby goes, it can get extremely complicated and personalized, but for the beginner, Williams-Sonoma has created an introductory kit that will let you easily home-brew a tasty IPA or a smooth Summer Wheat ale. The Beer Making Kit ($40), which originally comes from the Brooklyn Brew Shop, includes just about everything you'll need to create a delicious beer at home.

Included in the kit is a one-gallon fermenting jug, a three-piece chambered airlock, four feet of tubing, and the necessary ingredients. You will need a few items of your own, like a 6-quart pot, strainer, funnel, and honey. The entire process takes about 17 days, but the equipment can be used over and over again to create fresh batches of brew. Each kit has ingredients to make a single gallon of either the IPA or Summer Wheat ale. A note of warning: this is one of those things (unlike driving directions or that Ikea bookshelf) that actually requires reading instructions. Read through them carefully and you'll be a brew master in no time.

Craft beer from all of the world will come to the Lake Charles Civic Center on September 24th. Over 150 beers to sample as well as a sanctioned BBQ Cook-Off and a Home Brew competition will highlight the Louisiana BeerFest..For more information visit BEERFEST