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Boozy, Briny DIY-ers Swap Yeasty Secrets at Franklin Avenue 'Ferment Fest'

By Sonja Sharp | May 2, 2013 10:05am
 At Brooklyn Homebrew, customers can buy beer recipes and ingredients.
At Brooklyn Homebrew, customers can buy beer recipes and ingredients.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

CROWN HEIGHTS — Fans of fermentation, the microbial magic behind tequila, Sriracha and sourdough bread, among scores of other awesome edibles, are gearing up to swap bacteria-laden goodies this month at a living picnic on Franklin Avenue.

"Fermentation just implies a microbial anaerobic process that turns sugars into byproducts like lactic acid or alcohol," said Peter Paggi, the brewing brains behind LaunchPad's May 18 Ferment Fest. "It's a fun way to combine applied chemistry and biology with drinking."

Though booze is by far the most popular product of Brooklyn's home-fermenters, Paggi and co-organizer Chris Duffy are eager to see what else the festival turns up, be it kefir or kimchi, salami or sauerkraut.

"Alcohol fermentation is obviously the most well-known, but there are plenty of fermented fruits (pickles and olives, for example), hot sauces, meats (like salami and pepperoni), and dairy products (yogurt is fermented, technically)," Paggi said.

"To make a salami, you're going to want to introduce some bacteria that you don't want anywhere near your beer."

The organizers are still searching for 'homebrewers, canners and picklers' for the all-day cookout, though the bacterially uninitiated are also welcome.

"It's really a bring-what-you-want kind of thing," Paggi said. "It's open to everyone, not just homebrewers."