A home-brewer can prepare a five-gallon batch in an afternoon by boiling malt extract, hops, sugar, and water. The boiled substance, known as wort, is transferred to a bucket and yeast is added; fermentation takes about two weeks. The ingredients and equipment, including kettles, fermentation buckets, and bottles, are inexpensive and available at home-brew specialty stores.
MASH vice president Robert Fischer thinks Miamians simply need to be better educated about beer. "A lot of people just don't understand how varied the possibilities of drinking beer can be," he explains, brimming with enthusiasm. "Just like wine, you can match beers to a specific celebration or dinner. For example, you might want to start your dinner with something light, like a pilsner. With the main course you might want something a little more bitter, like an India pale ale. Then later maybe out come some cigars and you might want something else. Then there's the weather to consider. On a hot day maybe a stout wouldn't be your cup of tea. Maybe something else."
But MASH members may not have time to wean Miamians from light beer. They'll be too busy revising their recipes so the club can bring the Coconut Cup to Miami. "We're trying to build a rivalry," says Scott Ross, MASH's competition chairman. But he knows that won't be easy. "How competitive can you get," he shrugs, "when you're drinking beer all day?