Bongo Zeptobrewery: Free Lessons From The Smallest Brewer Around

Just when you were getting used to the fact that it’s not cool to say “microbrewery” anymore, those wily craft brewers started talking about ultra-teeny brewing facilities called nanobreweries. Well, now a few mirthful homebrewers around the country are complicating things even further by concocting the concept of a zeptobrewery, which refers to the second-smallest unit of metric measurement.

One such entrepreneurial jokester is Daniel Berlin, whose home-based Bongo Zeptobrewery makes just five gallons at a time of “fine-ass beer from South Philadelphia.” Berlin, a 27-year-old culinary student at The Art Institute, isn’t yet licensed to sell his beers, which have taken awards at amateur brewing contests (like Flashpoint Brewfest, held last year at Noble American Cookery, the American Homebrewers Association-sanctioned War of the Worts and the Ohio State Fair), so while he finishes school and draws up plans for his anticipated brewpub, he takes his merry gang of two-dozen brews to the sampling public at gallery openings and beer fests across the region.

Because spotting him around town can be hit-or-miss, he’s offering Foobooz readers the opportunity to learn to brew with him for free. Over a half- or full-day of brewing, he’ll teach you the hands-on basics, then invite you back to bottle and send you home with examples of your work. Plus, he won’t charge you a cent–which is more than the Korean brewers he’s consulted for over SKYPE can say.

People interested in beer and food pairings should derive added value from brewing with Berlin, as he thinks large-scale thoughts about food and beer combinations. To wit, he says, “You shouldn’t be afraid to think of beer as a prepared item like mustard and try to cook with it as much as possible.” Home chefs can leave his custom brew-inars with knowledge of how to steep malts into soups, boil wort into a base for sauce and bake spent grains into breads.

“As a brewer and a chef, I have access to the beer at different stages and I can customize each brew to what I’m cooking,” he says. “Consumers are limited to what they can buy off the shelf.”

Such macro ideas from such a zepto brewer.

Schedule a brew day by emailing Berlin at