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SodaStream Dumbs Down Home Brewing With Beer Bar System

Whirlpool's getting in on the home brewing biz, too

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The company that popularized at-home soda makers is now attempting to do the same for beer: SodaStream just unveiled a "homemade beer system" called the Beer Bar.

Announced yesterday, the new system appears to be the same as any other SodaStream — except instead of mixing the water with cola (or other flavored) syrup, it's mixed with "beer concentrate." When mixed as directed, the resulting "beer" contains 4.5 percent alcohol by volume. The system is rolling out with just one beer variety, the light "Blondie" which it claims "has a smooth authentic taste, and a hop filled aroma."

Americans who want to scope out the Beer Bar will have to be patient, however: The appliance is currently only available in Germany and Switzerland, though it's expected to begin arriving in other markets later this year — and investors, at least, are psyched about it: SodaStream's stock is currently up more than 5 percent today following the Beer Bar announcement. Liter bottles of the Blondie concentrate are currently selling on the SodaStream Germany site for €2.99, or approximately $3.34; one bottle makes three liters of beer.

In the meantime, another at-home beer making system is taking a slightly fresher approach: PicoBrew, the so-called Keurig of home brewing, is currently available for pre-order after raising $1.4 million on Kickstarter. PicoBrew uses pre-packaged pods filled with grains, hops, and yeast to brew beer in five-liter batches; users will be able to recreate dozens of different craft beers from brewers such as Dogfish Head.

For home brewers that want to take a more hands-on approach, appliance giant Whirlpool just launched a crowdfunding campaign via Indiegogo for its Vessi Fermentor. As CNET explains, "It's a single tank that claims it can help your homebrew taste better by reducing contamination and taking control of the temperature and the pressure during fermentation." Users of this appliance will still have to make the wort themselves, meaning this device is intended for more seasoned home brewers — and ones who don't mind coughing up the suggested retail price of nearly $2,000.

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