PicoBrew's all-in-one homebrew appliances put a brewery on your countertop. They're relatively easy to use, and give novice beer makers detailed steps to make their own suds -- no previous experience required. There was one huge hindrance for the Pico C, Pico Pro and Pico S though: you couldn't buy ingredients from your local homebrew shop and pop them into these small appliances. You could do that with the $2,500 modular Pico Z, but it simply wasn't an option on the more affordable models. Well, that changes today with the so-called UnPak'd Kit.
If the name sounds strange, you'll have to remember that PicoBrew's all-in-one PicoPaks are what the Pico C, Pico Pro and Pico S have run on until now. The PicoPak is a compostable package of grains, malts and yeast that fit inside the Pico brewer's clear drawer. They also come with separate small packs of hops, because, well you definitely need those to make most beer. There's a range of styles available on the company's website, and you could even make your own from a curated selection of ingredients. However, even if you used one of those Freestyle PicoPaks to get close to your own recipe, you still had to get it from PicoBrew. There was no "I think I'll brew today" on a Saturday morning. You were forced to plan ahead, and it wasn't great.
With the UnPak'd Kit, PicoBrew offers reusable grain and hops bags so you are able to brew on a whim. Since PicoBrew has also expanded into coffee, kombucha and more since last year, the UnPak'd Kit also includes reusable bags for cold-brew coffee. A PicoBrew appliance is much different that your typical homebrew pot-and-burner setup, so you'll have to fine-tune the ratios to fit either the Pico C, Pico Pro or Pico S. The company has created a RecipeCrafter tool to help with that, in addition to helping you create all-new recipes as well.
In order to accommodate the new totally DIY brew method, the Pico C, Pico Pro and Pico S will automatically receive an update the next time they're connected to WiFi. Once that's sorted, there will be a new "Manual Brew" option on the main menu. From there, set your desired time and temperature and hit start. PicoBrew will let you tweak the duration and temperature of each step in the process, so you get your desired wort before you begin fermentation.
If you don't have a PicoBrew device yet, you can get a Pico C (and all the necessary kegs and other parts) with the UnPak'd Kit for $329. Already own a Pico C? You can get an UnPak'd Kit for $19.99. Owners of Pico Pro and Pico S devices will have to pay slightly more for the new kit at $39.99. You can also purchase a set of BrewBags (1 grain bag and 4 hop/adjunct bags) for $15.99, and a 3-pack of coffee bags are available separately for $8.99.
The Pico C bundle, Pico UnPak'd Kit and BrewBags are all on sale at the PicoBrew website now.