It was probably because the beer kits in his day were not really up to scratch.
Don't let this 30 year old story concern you.
Thankfully, the standard of beer kits is pretty good in this modern era and there's a massive range to choose from. We've been brewing with beer kits for a few years now, and frankly we've yet to have a dud kit.
So with that in mind, what is the best beer kit for beginning beer brewers?
There's a couple of things to think about.
The first is what kind of beer you may want to make. Our judgement is that if this is your first beer, you will want to get in there and just make beer.
Which is the point, we get that.
However you might not know that lagers are harder to get right that ales due to temperature and storage issues. For this reason (so to avoid any disappointment) we would recommend you do try an ale. That said, the difference in ale from lager quality isn't something to worry about too much.
Ales are good tasting beers and there are plenty of beer kits that you can choice from. We are personally really into brewing nut brown ales. This is an old English style beer that originates from the dank and dirty pubs of London and beyond. Arguably one of the original working man's beers, a well brewed nut brown ale is a worthy beer for anyone that appreciates a cold beer after a hard day's yakka.
We recommend the Black Rock Nut Brown Ale kit for the beginner's choice beer kit. We've used this kit many times and it always produces a handy drinking beer.
You could also try out the Munton's Connoisseur Nut Brown Kit. Its reviews on Amazon suggest that it is an ideal brewing kit for beginners if prepared with some DME or dry malt.
So, maybe you're still of the mind to try your hand at brewing a lager?
In our view, lagers are what the make the world go round. There's not much better than after a hot day in the sun mowing the lawns that raising a class of cold lager to your mouth and empyting it's contents down one's throat.
It's even better if it's your own beer!
So what's a good first lager to brew?
Lagers can be a challenge to make as they need lower temperatures during fermentation to achieve the desire result. Since lagers are light in body it is very easy to tell a lager that has been fermented at too warm a temperature as they may taste too fruit or spicy due to too much ester production. This is why we suggested early that you may wish to try your hand at an ale first.
But whatever, we often say learn lagers by brewing lagers..
You could think of this kit as being your 'standard brewing' kit - nothing too fancy or ambitious but you can be confident they will help you produce good beer.
If you want to try a beer kit that could be perceived as having a bit more quality, you could consider brewing with the Williams Warn Bohemian Pilsner beer kit. This kit is described as having “a rich, complex maltiness and a crisp finish”. Our brew largely lived up to this claim so we would be happy to recommend this kit to the learner brewer.
A handy thing about this kit is that if comes with a yeast that is tailored for the beer (being the Fermentis Saflager W34/70 lager yeast) whereas some of the kits like the Black Rock range have the same yeast across their whole range.
The choice is of course yours.
And the end of the day, you just need to start brewing. We all need to start some where and grabbing a quality beer kit for your first batch of beer will help give you a great insight into the beer making process.