Photo courtesy Flickr user Larry Vincent

This series explores how new technology is used in real-life people’s home kitchens. It’s one thing to watch a demo on a company website or at the store, but it’s quite another to use them in your own house. These are stories of people who use technology to make delicious food (or beer) for themselves, their families, and their friends.

Name: Luke Murphy

Preferred Technology: Pico and Zymatic from PicoBrew

Other Kitchen Technology: None!

What It Is: The Zymatic is the first fully automatic all-grain beer brewing appliance. You can make your own recipe or brew one from the library. The just-released Pico (from the same company) is the Keurig of home brewing systems: It uses ready-to-brew PicoPak ingredient kits, and it can brew five liters of craft beer in about two hours.

picobrew2Why: Luke started home-brewing about six years ago, but when his roommate moved out and his girlfriend (now wife) moved in, he stopped his beer-making ways. Needless to say, he missed the process. He bought the Zymatic and got brewin’, and when the Pico came up on Kickstarter, he helped fund it immediately. “I’m an engineer by trade, focused on process and design, so I really appreciated the blend of creativity, science, and process control,” he said. “Not only could I control my process consistently when honing in a recipe but it gave me the time to brew where I wouldn’t otherwise have it.” Beyond that, he liked the idea that the device “allows a smaller brewery an opportunity to broaden their distribution network and get exposure to where they wouldn’t otherwise be able to” (aka your kitchen counter).picobrew3

How He Discovered It: He met Pico co-founder Avi Geiger through a mutual friend while hanging out at a store dedicated to craft brewing. When he heard what Avi was up to with both devices, he was immediately interested. “The science of understanding contributing variations in the process of brewing and trying to minimize them for consistency is awesome,” he explained. He even convinced his neighbor (who was not a home brewer) to buy a Pico and says it’s fun to watch someone become interested in the science behind beer.

“Not only could I control my process consistently when honing in a recipe but it gave me the time to brew where I wouldn’t otherwise have it.”

Which Is Better: “I liken them to a PC vs. an iPad,” he said. “I can tweak and customize a lot more on a PC/Zymatic, but the iPad/Pico are just simple and easy.  Not to mention the Pico shortened the brewing process in half, which is nice.

“Something that was always tricky for me with a traditional homebrew was fermentation. PicoBrew simplifies this greatly by a really clever modification that allows you to ferment under pressure, like a lot of professional brewers. This helps take temperature variation out of the equation when fermenting, making the beer a lot more consistent.” In other words, he can now brew PicoBrew’s adaptation of Deschutes’ Fresh Squeezed IPA and Great Divide’s Yeti Stout with the push of a button. He says he would buy both devices again “without a doubt.”

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Favorite Beer to Make: A session IPA that he says he can drink all day while playing cornhole. He’s made it around five times using the Zymatic, all while hanging out in his garage bar, which he’s named the Buffalo in honor of the video of “Guy on a Buffalo” (see above for actual photo and below for infinite amusement, preferably while drinking a beer brewed with the Pico).