BREWERS J O U R N A L
C A N A D A
WINTER 2021 | ISSUE 19 ISSN 2398-6948
BLIND ENTHUSIASM BREWING CO. From crisp ales and lagers to complex barrel-aged beers in the heart of Edmonton 12 | NO AND LOW WHICH WAY TO GO?
40| FAIRWEATHER BREWING THE PERFECT STORM
57 | HOMEBREWERS JOURNAL WINDS OF CHANGE
ello, and welcome to the latest edition of Brewers Journal Canada.
You never want to wish your life away, but I think we were all pretty glad to see the back of 2020. There were countless hurdles to jump, challenges to overcome and problems to solve. But we got there. Granted, the early part of 2021 has not been far from a walk in the park. Far from it. But a brighter future lies ahead in the coming months as we progress through the year. Here at Brewers Journal Canada, we’re looking forward to the latest iteration of the Brewers Lectures this March.
Taking place from Wednesday 24th to Friday 26th March, the inherent theme behind the Digital Edition is about “Disrupting The Status Quo” — inspired by the uncertain times we’ve all experienced.
connections, and meet peers and mentors in the brewing and beverage industry. Learn: Showcasing those who are tackling the big challenges facing the beer industry today. Our content covers topics under 5 major pillars: Sustainability, Diversity, Innovation, Technology, and Finance. Engage: Engage with the people and businesses relevant to you, and generate leads that will bring value to your organization. Brewers Lectures LIVE brings together a global gathering of provocative, forward thinking ideas. Share: Expand your knowledge and experience through interactive meet-ups, and collaborate with others to re-shape the future of the brewing industry. For more information on the Brewers Lectures, make sure to visit www.brewerslectures.com
Let us all Connect, Learn, Engage and Share.
In this edition, we have in-depth interviews with Blind Enthusiasm, Fairweather Brewing and Loop Mission. In addition, we focus on the growing and burgeoning no-and-low alcohol sector, the changing landscape for New Zealand’s hop growers and much, much more.
Connect: Build your own community through networking — make valuable
I hope you enjoy the issue and best of luck in the months ahead.
These events are designed for us to make new connections, to learn from those who are the leaders in the beer industry, generate business opportunities and share with like-minded professionals.
Tim Sheahan Editor
PROVIDING SOLUTIONS FOR ALL YOUR BEER PROCESSING AND PACKAGING NEEDS. prosperoequipment.com 1-800-953-3736
Comment | Economics Beer has been and will continue to be a product of surplus
Science | Stuck Fermentation Cause, prevention and how to fix them when they happen
Ingredients | Sustainable Malt A route to net zero option
Science | Yeast How new lager yeast technology could revolutionize global lager beer
Comment | Pasteurization The tunnel pasteurization process and what it can do for your brewery
Meet The Brewer | Fairweather Brewing Being part of a scene, a community, is a very special feeling. Fairweather Brewing, founded by Ram McAllister and Brent Milcz, has done just that
Science | Yeast 2021 Craft Beer Predictions
Comment | Diversity Figuring out whether the Beer Community is an open and welcoming one
Homebrewing | Homebrew Journal Winds of change for homebrewers
Focus | No And Low
Beer without sacrifice. The times where no alcohol means no flavour are long gone
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Meet The Brewer | Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company
How Greg Zeschuk and his Edmonton team are instilling joy by running one of the largest barrel-fermented beer programs in Canada
CONTACTS Tim Sheahan Editor email@example.com +44 (0)1442 780 592 Jakub Mulik Staff photographer Johnny Leung Canada Partnerships firstname.lastname@example.org Paddy Finnegan Brew 4.0 email@example.com Richard Piotrowski Publisher Richard@brewersjournal.ca Magdalena Lesiuk Graphic Design GraphMad@gmail.com CFJ Media 2275 Upper Middle Rd E #101, Oakville, ON L6H 0C3
29 Ingredients | Hop Revolution
The physical and distribution landscape for New Zealand hop growers is changing
In Interview | Loop See how Loop Mission is brewing with bread, fruit and other ingredients that would have otherwise gone to landfill. Lots of it.
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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be — reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without the express prior written consent of the publisher. The Brewers Journal Canada ISSN 2398-6948 is part of Reby Media, 42 Crouchfield, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP1 1PA. It is published quarterly in Canada by CFJ Media, 2275 Upper Middle Rd E #101, Oakville, ON L6H 0C3, Canada. Subscription records are maintained at CFJ Media, 2275 Upper Middle Rd E #101, Oakville, ON L6H 0C3, Canada. The Brewers Journal accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of statements or opinion given within the Journal that is not the expressly designated opinion of the Journal or its publishers. Those opinions expressed in areas other than editorial comment may not be taken as being the opinion of the Journal or its staff, and the aforementioned accept no responsibility or liability for actions that arise therefrom.
KEG LOGISTICS AND NORTH KEG COMBINE TO PROVIDE NEW KEG MANAGEMENT OPTIONS TO THE CANADIAN BREWING INDUSTRY
eg Logistics is pleased to announce its acquisition of Canadian-based keg leasing company, North Keg. The deal brings together the two leading keg leasing providers in the USA and Canada, creating the premier leader in the keg management sector supporting over 2,600 high growth breweries, cideries, and specialty beverage customers across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Keg Logistics is the only keg management company in the world that offers brewers multiple options to source kegs, including pay per use, flex term rentals, rent to own, and export keg supply. The company is uniquely positioned to provide a one stop solution to help its customers thrive in markets throughout North America and Europe. The acquisition of North Keg adds to the current Canadian brewing customers currently working with Keg Logistics and significantly deepens Keg Logistics’ density across Canada.
ment industry stated that “I am very excited to add North Keg to our Keg Logistics family. I see a tremendous opportunity to join our two successful companies together to be able to deliver a best of class keg management solution to every size Canadian Brewer. We will be able to service the startup brewer and provide cost saving options to any Canadian Brewer who sells nationwide and exports to the USA or EU”. North Keg, founded by Matt Wowchuk and Eric Liptok in 2017, has provided keg leasing solutions to an ever-expanding portfolio of breweries in Canada and their Toronto-based hub provides keg servicing capabilities and stocks new keg
inventory to allow brewers quick access to the best quality stainless steel kegs in the market. Mr. Wowchuk will continue in a sales leadership role in Canada, while Jacob Liptok will manage the Canadian operations hub. “Teaming with Keg Logistics allows North Keg to provide Canadian Customers with kegs via a short-term rental, a lease to own option and offer an export keg program in stainless kegs for brewers in Canada. We will soon be expanding the Keg Logistics pay-per-fill model into Canada as well, uniquely positioning our company to be the only single keg provider to address all keg requirements of any size brewer”, said Matt Wowchuk.
North Keg will continue to operate as before, but with the acquisition they will be able to expand to other parts of Canada and launch a pay per fill offering to all Canadian breweries. Canadian brewers will now have access to the full Keg Logistics/North Keg service menu with its ability to provide keg, brewery equipment financing, and logistics solutions to beer, wine, coffee, kombucha and cider producers. Chris Sapyta, Keg Logistics CEO and pioneer of the keg manage-
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CWB FRANCHISE FINANCE LAUNCHES SPECIALIZED LENDING SOLUTIONS FOR THE CRAFT BREWING INDUSTRY
artnership with Half Hitch Brewing Company marks entry into maturing craft beer market.
simplified lending structures that fosters development for Half Hitch and other established brewing companies.
CWB Franchise Finance, a division of CWB Financial Group, is proud to introduce a specialized lending program for the craft brewing industry as it announces its newest client, Half Hitch Brewing Company. With 20 years of lending experience working directly with restaurants and hospitality, the new offering represents growth for both CWB Franchise Finance and a maturing brewing industry that requires an agile and expert financial partner. CWB Franchise Finance will focus on providing
“Many small- and medium-sized breweries are looking for creative ways to grow, especially with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Cam Moser, Senior Manager, CWB Craft Brewery Finance, a 15-year veteran in the craft brewing industry. “Business owners in this category are passionate about producing great beer, but they need a financial partner that can provide capital for investments unique to their operation, product and brand.
“CWB was the obvious choice for our financing,” says Kyle Heier, Co-Founder and CEO of Half Hitch Brewing. “They package top-notch service with flexibility and a personal touch while being focused on our specific needs. We can confidently grow our business knowing that CWB doesn’t treat as a number, and looks well beyond the numbers. Their team is eager to learn our business inside and out to best focus on our vision and direction. We were provided with tools to execute our plan, and a new team member to grow with.” Targeted to brewery owners with a minimum two years of operation, CWB Franchise Finance provides a spectrum of industry-focused financial products, flexible structures and proactive focus and attention. Brewers looking to expand or renovate their operations, navigate acquisitions and buyouts, purchase underlying real estate and refinance or consolidate debt will benefit from Franchise Finance’s expertise. Learn more by visiting cwbfranchise.com/ brewery-financing.
NO AND LOW
GO THE LOW WAY THE TIMES WHERE NO ALCOHOL MEANT NO FLAVOUR ARE, THANKFULLY, LONG GONE. AS A CONSUMER, THERE’S MORE CHOICE THAN EVER AND FOR BREWERS, IT’S AN EXCITING AND BUOYANT SECTOR THAT’S DEFINITELY WORTH BECOMING PART OF.
here’s a saying in business that if you’re standing still, you’re going backwards. And continuing on this directional theme, there’s only one trajectory the non-alcoholic beer market is going and that’s upwards.
Granted, there’s some minor variance in these figures but there is simply no escaping that this part of the beer sector is moving both onwards and upwards.
Regardless of where you look, and trust me, there’s a lot of figures out there, the size of the market for non-alcoholic beer is set to grow considerably in the coming years. So if you’re not already brewing beer for the no and low segment, it could be a very good time to reconsider.
More than ever, people are paying more attention to the impact their diet has on their wellbeing. We’re also seeing people drink less but a better quality product when they do. But it’s hard to recall a time in recent memory when beer was more en vogue than it is now. The desire not to consume three or four pints at the local pub or bar (when permitted) doesn’t correlate with wanting to avoid beer full-stop.
One report, from Global Market Insights published in December 2020, recorded that the sector exceeded USD 9.5 billion in 2019. This market is estimated to register over 7.5% CAGR between 2020 and 2026. At Market Research Future, the global non-alcoholic beer market is projected to grow with a significant growth rate of 8.28% from 2019 to 2027 and reach a market value of USD 9.26 B by the end of 2027.
And for many of us, that comes as no surprise.
And we’re reaching a point where the tired stereotype of those that don’t drink while out are behind us. Those drinking Labatt Blue NA, Becks Blue, or Erdinger Alcohol-Free were perviously either assumed to be A) Driving B) Pregnant C) Emerging from alcohol addiction or D) Have a medical complaint.
BREWERS JOURNAL CANADA
But no longer. People are choosing lowand no-alcohol beers by choice. The quality of these beverages is improving by the day and for the consumer, genuine options are emerging. Now, skipping the alcohol doesn’t mean you’re forgoing variety. BEER WITHOUT SACRIFICE Upstreet Brewing of Charlottetown, PEI was founded on a shared passion for craft beer. This has remained at the core of its operations in creating several flagships over the past five years. Despite the success of its taproom and retail sales across the Maritimes, they realized there was a gap in their product line. With a desire to provide beer lovers an inclusive product that can be enjoyed at any time and on any occasion, they recently added the first-ever non-alcoholic craft beer to their product line. Libra, the brewery explains, was inspired by the need for finding balance. It wasn’t long before they discovered that working in the beverage industry required constant sampling and socializing, beer being at the centre of it all. With a motivation to socialize without sacrifice, a non-alcoholic beer seemed like the answer to finding this balance. With Libra, Upstreet Brewing says you can enjoy the same great hops and flavours while consuming only a fraction of the calories and no alcohol. Even better, you can indulge in Libra without experiencing any hangover symptoms. All of the fun and none of the headaches.
I believe that if the beer tastes great then people will opt to enjoy it regardless of its ABV,” Mitch Cobb, Upstreet Craft Brewing. brewersjournal.ca
“If you’re curious about how we created a non-alcoholic beer that didn’t sacrifice any craft character, here it goes. Our research began two years ago, and since then finding the perfect brewing method has consisted of a lot of trial and error,” explains Mitch Cobb, CEO and co-founder of Upstreet Craft Brewing. “We first tried several traditional approaches which proved they wouldn’t be able to capture the full-flavoured pale ale we desired. That said, new products often require a contemporary process.” He adds: “We shifted our course to one of our own. Libra is essentially brewed the same way as our other alcoholic beer. We make small tweaks throughout the process to ensure the beer doesn’t ferment past 0.4% alcohol, while still allowing for full-body flavours. Surely, our craft was not compromised in the making of our non-alcoholic choice!” For Cobb, much of the potential for great-tasting beers in the no and low space is the way they can blur the line when it comes to consumer choice. “I think you’ll find consumers going to the store and rather than solely picking that regular six-pack, they’ll pick up a few of their usual beers plus a few non-alcoholic ones, too,” he explains. And Cobb is already seeing that in action through the brewery’s own sales channels with Libra proving to be its second best-selling beer in the 10 weeks up until January 1st. “The top-selling beer was a 7% Hazy IPA but right behind it was Libra,” he smiles. “I believe that if the beer tastes great then people will opt to enjoy it regardless of its ABV.” Cobb adds: “It’s really rewarding to see conversations taking place online where consumers are seeking out new beers in this no and low space just as drinkers do elsewhere in beer. “We’re at the point where these beers are tasting really great and we enjoy drinking them as much as anyone. It’s a good time to be a consumer in this space.” CHOICES CHOICES Rob Fink co-founded Big Drop Brewing Co in the UK back in 2016. And in the years since, his stance has remained the same. “It is the way forward. The more people that
talk about it, the better. If it was just me, they’d think I was a nutter and I have no doubt here will be other breweries that set up with the same focus,” he tells us. “And increasingly the bigger breweries will do that too. There is a move in that direction and event though we represent a small part of the beer market, it’s one that’s growing all the time.” “People end up being constrained by the choices offered to them. They’d like a quality beer low in alcohol but too often that would not exist and I was certain I was’t the only one finding that lack of quality on offer,” he adds. “For us, the whole point is to give people an alternative.” And giving people an alternative is what Big Drop did. Established as the first craft brewery solely dedicated to making non-alcoholic beer, it is continuing its global expansion by beginning to brew three beers in Canada. In addition, it’s growing its offering to Canadian consumers with the release of its Paradiso IPA in the LCBO in January, alongside newly-designed cans and an online shop. Having entered the Canadian market in 2019, the brand is now poised to expand throughout North America. “We believe that the demand for quality non-alcoholic beers is going to continue to grow as consumers are increasingly focused on what they’re putting into their bodies,” says Fink, Founder & CEO of Big Drop. “That said, they don’t want to compromise on quality or taste and working with our brewing partners, we’re able to offer an even better experience than before.”
We believe that the demand for quality non-alcoholic beers is going to continue to grow as consumers are increasingly focused on what they’re putting into their bodies,” Rob Fink, Big Drop. The newly-available Paradiso IPA radiates citrus fruit with a bright, sharp twist of bitterness on the end. In September, it scored a first for a non-alcoholic beer by being awarded ‘Country Winner’ in a full-strength category at the World Beer Awards, beating 6% abv beers into second and third place. It joins the two popular beers launched last year in Canada, the Dark Noir (Stout) and the Pale Blanche (Pale Ale), now renamed Galactic Dark and Pine Trail Pale, each of which have won ‘World’s Best’ at the World Beer Awards. The Pine Trail Pale was also recently awarded a Master medal from the Global Beer Masters - another first for the non-alcoholic category.
Fink adds: “It all comes down to choice. The macro companies offer what they offer and companies like us have our own range and the variety that comes with that. “I’m incredibly relaxed and happy about craft breweries being bringing out their alcohol-free offerings, because it is all about gaining acceptance and together we’re building that.” For breweries producing beers in the no and low space, there’s a number of techniques being leveraged often in a hybrid manner combining a number of approaches. The standard for many years was to simply heat the finished beer up to 78.4 deg C, which causes ethyl alcohol to evaporate – just like when cooking at home and you add wine to the pan, letting it steam away until the alcohol is gone.
While this method is highly effective in removing alcohol, it is also effective in removing much of the flavour of the beer, especially hoppy notes. This is why for years alcohol-free beer tasted so malty it was the only flavour that remained. One of the most common methods used today is reverse-osmosis, which uses pressure to force the beer through an extremely fine filter, removing the alcohol. This is very similar to how modern desalination plants work to make fresh water out of salt. Vacuum distillation works by placing the beer in a vacuum, which allows the brewers to lower the boiling and evaporate much of the alcohol without raising the temperature high enough to ruin the flavour. Other methods include gas stripping: The beer is heated up but then water vapour or nitrogen gas is passed through the beer, stripping away the alcohol.
And as the exposure and enjoyment of beers in the no and low space increases, Fink says the greater prevalence of these beers is only a good thing for both consumers and producers. “I’m definitely of the rising tide floats all boats sort of mindset,” he says. “Some people ask me what are we going to do about Heineken 0.0 or a similar beer. I tell them we’re not going to do anything. What do they think we are going to do? All of the money that goes into those brands raises awareness of the no and low sector and that can only be good for the rest of us!.”
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Limited fermentation: By using special yeast strains that produce very low amounts of alcohol, or different grains such as rice or maize which contain less sugar limits the fermentation process. Dilution: Water is added to the post fermentation stage beer to dilute and lower the ABV. Another technique is fermentation free. If it is during fermentation that alcohol is created, then eliminate this step. While this requires major changes to the recipe to create the same flavours, it is a common method. CHANGING STIGMAS Ted Fleming, the founder and CEO of Partake Brewing gave up alcohol more than a decade ago due to a medical condition. But he missed his beer, the taste of beer and discovering new beers, especially new craft beers. But more than that, he found that he missed the social connection that comes from sharing a drink with a colleague after a hard days work, cracking a beer after hockey, and joining in to celebrate special occasions with family and friends. So when a friend suggested that he try non-alcoholic beer he was faced with the problem that most he tasted were “awful” and, as discussed earlier, had little to no variety. For Fleming, he felt that the long-standing stigma surrounding non-alcoholic beer has been well deserved. So he took it upon himself to change things. And in doing so, created Partake Brewing.
Partake Brewing offer a range that includes a Blonde, Pale, IPA, Red and a Stout, beers that have resonated with drinkers. So much so that in September last year, the business announced that it had raised $4 million of Series A capital in a funding round led by CircleUp Growth Partners to continue to build inclusion and connection through great beer. The new funds will accelerate Partake Brewing’s growth specifically in the US market by allowing the brand to secure key hires, grow its distribution and retail network, and build consumer brand awareness to support Partake Brewing’s expanding coverage with retailers such as Total Wine & More and Whole Foods Market. Fleming remains grounded through the company’s growth and that of the wider sector, acknowledging that people want to stay in control of their drinking. And they can now do that while enjoying a quality beverage, too. “Things have come a long way. The no and low space is no longer a niche but instead something that appeals to a much broader swathe of the population that looks at non-alcoholic beer as an acceptable option,” he explains. “It’s now a choice that comes without a stigma attached.” Fleming expects the NA space to mature just as the broader craft beer sector has, and in doing so, choice will be the rule and not the exception.
“It’s an exciting time, that’s for sure,” he explains. “While people enjoy our beers for the flavour, there is also another large part of this consumer base that appreciate the low calorie count, too.” With a medium bitterness balanced by a caramel malt sweetness and perfumey, tropical aromatics, the Partake Pale Ale boosts only 10 calories and 0 carbs. Even its Stout only comes with 30 calories and 8 carbs. He says: “I think that’s an important value proposition that we bring to the table probably more than anyone else at this point. “I feel that the overall message we offer is one of holistic health and wellness. It’s a package that is of great importance to many of Partake’s fans.”
It’s now a choice that comes without a stigma attached,” Ted Fleming, Partake Brewing. brewersjournal.ca
PROMOTING INCLUSIVITY While brewing non-alcoholic beers has been Partake’s raison d’être since it started, Les Brasseurs du Nord, a microbrewery pioneer in Québec best known for its popular Boréale brand of beers, has kicked off 2021 responding to a growing trend in the market by launching a tasty line of non-alcoholic beers under the “Hors Sentiers” label. The beers have been developed in Blainville, Québec by Les Brasseurs du Nord’s master brewer, Gabriel Dulong. The Hors Sentiers line reflects the company’s strategy of diversifying and innovating while remaining true to the mission and values that have driven its success. Launching with a Blonde and an IPA, the beers are packaged in 473 ml cans containing fewer than 80 calories. “When we face challenges such as those brought on by the pandemic, we roll up our sleeves and continue to do what we do best: explore, develop and brew beers that meet the tastes of Quebecers,” says
Dulong, who in addition to master brewer is also the company’s vice-president, Operations and Innovations. “Over the past year, we have focused on innovation, including the development of this line of Hors Sentiers non-alcoholic beers. My challenge was to find the right balance between taste and the brewing process, to create tasty beers that could be enjoyed at any time. I think we have succeeded on all counts.” While the Hors Sentiers Blonde offers up flavours of fresh and crunchy wheat balanced with sweet floral notes, the IPA showcases notes of ripe mango and pineapple. Sébastien Paradis, the brewery’s president and general manager is confident that the new beers perfectly complement the company’s extensive range of beers, with some 20 launched since the beginning of the pandemic. “There’s around 275 craft breweries now in Québec, which is crazy,” he says. “Craft accounts for some 12% of the total beer market so it’s important we all play our part in
raising the awareness of great beer whether that’s with alcohol or not.” And in 2021, after a long period spent trialling recipes, the time was right to make their foray into the no alcohol space. “In the last year I think we produced at least 80 test batches across those two beers,” says Dulong. It was a challenge but a fun one to take on. We wanted to be completely sure we were happy with these beers and that meant taking our time, too. Like any beer, it’s about achieving a balance in the drink you are producing.” “For me, what’s really interesting is the misconceptions that surround non-alcoholic beers. If you don’t drink, it’s easy to assume that a brewery is not somewhere for you to go, because they can’t cater for you,” Paradis adds. “But it’s increasingly obvious that these beers are not just for a consumer that doesn’t drink alcohol, they can be for those that are moderating or simply fancy a change. A brewery should be an inclusive space, regardless of the alcohol content in your drink.”
When we face challenges such as those brought on by the pandemic, we roll up our sleeves and continue to do what we do best: explore, develop and brew beers that meet the tastes of Quebecers,” Gabriel Dulong, Les Brasseurs du Nord. 16
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MEET THE BREWER 18
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FAITH IN EXPLORATION
TO MAKE YOUR MARK IN ONE FIELD, AND BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR INSTILLING JOY IN OTHERS, IS A REAL ACHIEVEMENT. TO DO IT AGAIN IS REMARKABLY EVEN MORE IMPRESSIVE. BUT AT EDMONTON’S BLIND ENTHUSIASM, GREG ZESCHUK AND HIS TEAM ARE DOING JUST THAT.
ery few people can boast that they have the Order of Canada. A minuscule 0.00019% of the population, in fact.
Considered to be the cornerstone of the Canadian Honours System, it recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. But in the form of founder Greg Zeschuk, Edmonton, Alberta’s Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company have their own member of this incredibly exclusive club. Not that such accolades have changed him, however. “I thought someone was pulling my leg when I had the call. You don’t get any indication you’re being nominated so it’s not something you’re waiting to hear about,” he recalls. Zeschuk was busy in the brewery back in late 2018 when the unknown number called several times. “I didn’t recognize the number and tend not to answer those as a result. But after realizing the code meant the call was coming from the Government of Canada, I knew I better pick up!” he laughs. Zeschuk was recognized alongside his friend Ray Muzyka for their contributions to the video game industry. Through titles such as Baldur’s Gate, Mass Effect and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, BioWare, the company the duo co-founded back 1995, made an indelible mark on the entertainment industry.
“Being recognized in that way was really cool. It’s wonderful and an honour, something that makes you want to be a better citizen as a result. But in another sense it doesn’t change your life,” he smiles. “You still have to do the dishes!” Receiving the Canadian national order was the country’s way of acknowledging Zeschuk’s impact on the video game sector. Gaming titles made by people that love what they’re producing for an audience that adore what they’re playing. And more than 25 years on from starting the famed video game developer, Zeschuk is still committed to creating products that people can enjoy. But now they happen to be in liquid form. Blind Enthusiasm is driven by a passion for great beer and fine food. Opening in Spring of 2017, they brew three distinct types of beer at two locations in Edmonton. The team brew crisp ales and lagers as well as complex barrel-aged beers at the Market, located alongside its restaurant, Biera. At The Monolith they are running one of largest barrel-fermented beer programs in Canada. “The reason I do all of this is because I want to give people that same experience I had trying these really interesting, unique beers. Beers that broadened my horizons,” he explains. “And to do that while being part of a harmonious group, learning and working with people you admire is truly valuable.” Heading up Blind Enthusiasm since its formation in early 2017, Zeschuk has long since been a fan of all things beer, as often showcased in his web-based inter-
view platform, The Beer Diaries. But when it comes to the business of brewing, last year presented the brewery founder, like many others, with a fresh set of challenges to navigate. With keg sales all but off-limits, Blind Enthusiasm found itself in the position where packaging its beers for the off-trade became the norm rather than the exception. “We went from not expecting to package in the calendar year to doing it on a weekly basis,” he remembers. “It involved completely redoing our online store but the reception we received has been great, which we’re very grateful for.” Zeschuk adds: “The strange thing about the pandemic is that it has actually proven to be an accelerator for our business in certain aspects. “We anticipated that we would build a demand for our bottled beers through our presence at beer festivals and events. But without that part of the calendar, things have been turned on its head. “So we’re at the point where word is out there, people are enjoying our beers and we’re in a stronger position for the point when we can get out and travel again.” Blind Enthusiasm primarily package its beers in bottle. Zeschuk acknowledges that many in the industry hold the view that “if you’re not doing cans then you’re crazy” but he is resolute in his approach that for the majority of its beers, bottle is the superior vessel.
Being recognized in that way was really cool. It’s wonderful and an honour. But you still have to do the dishes! Greg Zeschuk, Blind Enthusiasm 20
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“So technically,” he exclaims “we’re crazy.” The beers the brewery produce across The Market/Biera and Monolith ranges from crisp lagers and ales to barrel-aged and barrel-fermented beers. Their first release of 2021 is Mentis Oculi, an addition to its Dry Hop Series from the Monolith. Like its sibling Un Petit Peu, they used a blend of mixed fermentation barrels from the first batches of beer fermented in Marsala barrels. Mentis Oculi differs from previous Dry Hop Series beers due to a change in hop varietal in the dry-hopping regime. For Mentis Oculi the brewery wanted to combine both old world and new world hop character. To achieve this, they used a combination of German Tettenang and American Simcoe. We expected the combination of these two very different hops would result in something more than the sum of their parts.
At the time of writing, Mentis Oculi complements “clean” beers such as amber wheat ale ZüS, smooth dark lager Düncan, low bitterness lager Fabhelles among the beverages available for consumers to procure. Upon browsing these beverages, what’s soon evident is that the brewery wants to describe the beer and its flavour profile, rather than pigeonhole it into a particular category. And it’s a viewpoint Zeschuk is pretty firm on. “It’s funny because I’m a certified BJCP judge (Beer Judge Certification Program) and know the styles really well,” he explains. “I kind of see the perverse nature of it but styles have gotten ridiculous and very few beers are genuinely true to style. Look at Gose. Around 90% of them are not stylistically a Gose but instead a faster mixed ferment beer. I guess styles are important to the consumer but I find it frustrating as styles are no longer particularly consistent or accurate.” When engaging with the consumer, Zeschuk believes it’s better to look at the beer without worrying about the style. “Try to understand the beer, learn more about it and why you might enjoy it,” he says. “Styles, for me, are now all over the map and newer guidelines mean that we have a lot of beers that don’t fit within each of those parameters.”
“But I feel that if you enjoy the beer for what it is, you don’t need to be caught up in styles or some necessary construct behind it. From the very beginning we might refer to something general such as a hoppy pale but we won’t get into the specifics because for us, some of the specifics in beer are just ridiculous.” One of the latest evolutionary stages to take place at Blind Enthusiasm is what Zeschuk refers to as the Lagerization Project. As 2020 progressed, the team placed an increased focus on lagers, a move that reflects a directional shift in their production and commercial goals. Zeschuk said that although the brewery would continue with some wheat ales, as well as ale-based barrel-aged and fermented beers, the increased emphasis on lager brewing took place “because it felt right.” “Initially we thought it would be an interesting direction to take and would further differentiate us from the rest of the breweries in Alberta. Now that we’re knee deep in lagers we’ve had some time to think about what subconscious desire drove us to shift this way and we discovered it’s related to our original reason for creating Blind Enthusiasm,” he said at the time. Zeschuk says the brewery collectively feels that lagers have been undermined as a category of beer by generically mass-produced macro producers to make a lowest common denominator beer.
Zeschuk adds: “When it comes to ratings sites such as Untappd, we try and be the first to add it because otherwise there’s a chance it’ll be listed incorrectly and graded badly as a result.
“Styles, for me, are now all over the map and newer guidelines mean that we have a lot of beers that don’t fit within each of those parameters,” Greg Zeschuk, Blind Enthusiasm brewersjournal.ca
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“Most people don’t appreciate what lagers actually can be. This was true for me as well. My eyes weren’t opened until I went to Bavaria a few years ago and had amazing dry-hopped lagers from young brewers of Germany straining against the German beer purity laws (Rheinheitsgabot) while trying to make aggressive, flavourful beers,” he says. “They were amazing beers, and unlike anything I’d ever tried in North America. My desire to share my lager awakening is what set me on our current path.” The first instalment of that new direction was Extra Special Monk Lager, a super-clean and balanced beer, with the same citrus and tropical hop character as its predecessor. The European influence evidenced in Blind Enthusiam’s output is not merely the result of the team’s mutual love of its beers but through the experiences and expertise of staff members such as Doug Checknita, head brewer at The Monolith. He trained in brewing at Olds College, worked at La Trou du Diable in Quebec and spent the 2016 brewing season working at the venerable Cantillon in Brussels. He also consulted at Brasserie de la Senne. Checknita not only brings a passion of European beer styles to the table, but also the provenance behind them, too.
and aggressively dry-hopped lagers,” he remembers. I recall thinking wow, I’ve never had anything like this. They are markedly different to what we get in North America and they are exceptional. “You have these young German brewers that aren’t engaging with ingredients such as lactose so they turn to neat hop combinations that create incredible flavours. So naturally we came back and tried our hand at putting our own spin on them.” Clean, dry, effervescent beers are the order of the day here but Zeschuk knows all too well that these qualities are unlikely to resonate with fans of hop-forward pales and IPAs. “It’s funny, when we did put ”juicy” as a descriptor on one of our bottles, someone said ‘this is not juicy because the beers needs to be hazy to be juicy. Whatever…” he laughs. Zeschuk adds: “There are lots of breweries out there, and there are lots of consumers, too. So we don’t need to focus on that core that want every beer to be hop-forward. Of course, we want to make the consumer happy but for me, there is also a journey you can take in the beers you drink.
“If you really want to understand a beer and really appreciate all the nuance then you have to travel to the place where they’re actually made,” Greg Zeschuk, Blind Enthusiasm
“If you really want to understand a beer and really appreciate all the nuance then you have to travel to the place where they’re actually made,” Zeschuk muses. “This is the most fundamental thing about beer that I’ve learned. “I would speak to Doug about Cantillon and tell him that I really enjoy those beers. But he told me that wasn’t enough and it was imperative we visit the brewery to truly understand them. And after four days drinking Cantillon, and other regional beers in Belgium, I came away with a tremendous understanding of what those beers truly are.” And as the brewery’s own Lagerization Project builds momentum, Zeschuk highlights another trip to Europe, this time to Southern Germany, as an inspirational catalyst for their lager brewing operation. “Visiting (brewhouse manufacturer) BrauKon allowed us to enjoy beers from their own in-house brewery. They showed us the equipment we were investing in and we then sat in this little brewpub drinking unbelievably fresh
“I’ve been involved in beer for nearly 10 years now and looking back, I’ve learned so much since the days of The Beer Diaries. I also know that my palate has developed, too. I don’t want to be punched in the face with a big beer in the way I used to. And I think most of us will go on that particular journey also.” Zeschuk believes that Blind Enthusiasm can attract the drinkers that enjoy the beers it makes for what they are. It’s an ethos influenced, in part, by his previous careers before entering the world of brewing. “One of the key thing for us is that we’re not trying to be a monstrosity in terms of size. We want to punch well over our weight from a quality and perception perspective, but we don’t we actually want to be a big brewery. I’ve worked at big companies and been part of big business, and I don’t want that to be the case here.” He adds: “I want to know all of our employees and work alongside them as part of
“So whenever I see a friend drinking our beer, it’s a good feeling to know I’ve been part of its creation!”
Challenging perceptions and surpassing expectations is a driving force for Zeschuk and his team, which also features assistant brewer Andrew Duncan, head brewer Rob Monk, assistant brewer Ian Nawrot, Richard Iwaniuk in finance and business operations and Shauna Perry in operations.
For Zeschuk, he feels as if brewing subtle and understated beer is somewhat of a counter to modern craft beer culture. But through their restaurant in Biera, they are afforded the perfect canvas on which to express themselves without the pressures of pleasing the beer bubble.
“Having someone choose your beer instead of a wine is incredibly validating. What’s also validating is when someone at a beer festival tries a beer and says: ‘actually, this is pretty good’. We chuckle and say well yes, yes it is. Our team at Blind Enthusiasm has decades of experience and it shows in our beers.”
“I consider Biera a beer-focused restaurant rather than a typical brewery restaurant. It promotes local ingredients in a casual fine dining environment,” he explains. “We get a truly diverse crowd and when you see patrons that might normally drink wine with their food instead turning to our beers then that’s a dream come true.”
Rob Monk, head brewer at Blind Enthusiam’s Market Brewery, previously brewed at Yukon Brewing in Whitehorse and also Spinnakers in Victoria. He handles the production of Lagers, Wheat Ales, and Barrel-Aged beers. Monolith head brewer Checknita looks after Mixed and Spontaneous Barrel-Fermented beers. With Monk, Checknita and the assistant brewing team, Zeschuk knows production is in incredibly safe hands.
a unit. Like right now, I touch every label that goes out because I’m usually the one labelling the beers.
“Between our team you have brewers that have been working professionally for a really long time. They’re only young but have been doing it their whole life. You see a lot of breweries starting out and hopefully improving over time because they’re learning as they go,” he says. “But here, we knew what we were doing right out of the gate. It’s truly valuable to have such a professional team.” Zeschuk and his colleagues are now more than three years into the story of Blind Enthusiasm. The brewery founder says he’s not one to set specific short term goals, instead looking longer term with a view to making the business self sufficient and to see it “chugging away happily”.
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He explains: “It’s very hard to be profitable when you’re growing a brewery. We have a happy little business that works well but our Monolith operation is far more like a winery or a distillery when you consider there’s a bunch of beer laid down there.
less stressful but for me, it’s just as creative.” During a career within video games that spanned several decades, Zeschuk says being part of a big business informed his desire to create something more personal in later life.
“There’s no point working on something for many years to screw it up in the last week.”
“When that’s not yet ready to sell, you’re looking at hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of dollars of beer sitting in barrel. So when the beer is slow to emerge, our plans and goals have to fit that timeline too.”
“In gaming you didn’t have a direct contact with the customer. You make the game then that’s it. Back then you might bump into someone that has enjoyed what you made, which is cool, but that’s about it,” he says. “But it’s not like beer where you can be bartending and receive direct feedback for better or worse from the customer sitting across from you.”
“I think of myself as someone that likes experiments, smiles Zeschuk. “They might not always make complete business sense but they are always quality oriented. Quality is non-negotiable.”
And the importance of timing is something Zeschuk knows a great deal about, especially when the video games you helped create in a former life would sell by the million (and million). “It’s pretty funny because I don’t think I miss that pressure. If you miss a beer launch by a week then nobody really cares that much but if we launched Mass Effect 3 a week late then all hell breaks loose,” he laughs. “Beer is
Zeschuk adds: “One of the most interesting parallels for me is taking the necessary amount of time for the product. Games get rushed and beers can be rushed. They’ll frequently end up released in an inferior state to the way they were intended and in that situation, nobody wins.
Thankfully for patrons, there seems little chance of that ever happening at Blind Enthusiasm.
He concludes: “I’m in brewing not because I have to, but because I want to. I truly enjoy it and want to play a part in giving people unique experiences and expose them to things they would not normally encounter. “And for me, when it boils down to it, it’s pretty damn cool for the people of Edmonton to drink locally-made, barrel fermented beer, right?”
CRAFT BEER IS NOT MORE EXPENSIVE. IT IS SIMPLY MORE HONEST LOCAL BEER TENDS TO GET AN UNFAVOURABLE RAP WHEN IT COMES TO THE PRICE TAG. THAT IT IS MORE EXPENSIVE, WHILE THIS IS PARTIALLY TRUE, IT IS NOT ENTIRELY ACCURATE. by Kyle Smith
Owner-Operator of Gorman & Smith Beverage Equipment
eer has been and will continue to be a product of surplus. We’re able to make beer because there is plenty to eat, and one of the champions of that is wheat. Giving specific jobs to grains isn’t a new concept by any means. In terms of nutrients and calories, wheat is much preferable to barley. Wheat gives us 10% more vitamins and minerals by weight and 35% more by volume. The average adult could get a day’s worth of calories from a pound of wheat, but they would need to eat a pound and a half of barley. Which, in turn, makes it easier to transport and store for millers, bakers, and cooks. Some varieties of wheat are even huskless, making it more cost-effective to process. The ratios of starch to protein to gluten make it better for bread, barley not so much. There are plenty of references to the preference of where wheat and barley belong on the table. Wheat is on the plate; barley is in the glass. The end of days pictured in the Christian Bible depicts a merchant with scales on a dark horse, stating that the
prices of food during a famine will increase so that a day’s wage would buy a quart of wheat or three quarts of barley. Roman legionnaires were punished with Frumentum mutatum, altered rations replacing wheat with barley. Some of the earliest production standards of Bavaria’s Reinhetsgebot were initiated after a series of poor harvests allocating wheat for bread baking and barley for beer brewing. During times of plenty, staple starches are cheap and easy to buy. During scarcity, it causes all other grains to increase in cost with a surge of demand. As the centuries passed, we learned how to take that surplus grain and turn it into other products. Beer became the way to keep water safe, and for Monasteries to generate revenue, it was also much more difficult to be damaged by water or rodents. The storage of agricultural products helps to stabilize the natural cycles of growth. Bumper crops from one year can make poor harvests more bearable. This accelerated in the last century, as opposed to merely trying to supply local markets routinely, food and beverage were industrialized to a scale never seen previously. Intending to provide West Europe and East Asia with ample calories through conflict and reconstruction, the food and beverage industries changed significantly. No longer was food regional; it was global. While importing and exporting these goods is not a novel concept, the average person’s ability to afford it was. Gone were the days of the local brewery, the post-prohibition era of the 1950s and 1960s ushered in the national brewery trend. The goal became to make a product that could satisfy the greatest number of customers at the cost of targeting a localized community’s palates. It wouldn’t be possible to get a cold one from another country if it were not for three humble supplies, the cardboard box, the wooden pallet, and the steel shipping container. The cardboard box protected bottles and cans during shipment while being lighter and cheaper than the crates of decades past. The wooden pallet made moving large numbers of the product easier with load-
ing and unloading equipment. Finally, the steel shipping container could reduce the effort and time at seaports and land terminals. With these three simple, but practical tools, shipping costs plummeted. Imported German Lagers, British Ales, or Mexican Cerveza without these efficiencies to international commerce would be significantly more expensive. However, trade is getting more costly. With fewer people travelling, there are fewer planes, which in turn means less air freight. Less air freight means more demand for sea freight, which means a shipping container’s costs on a freighter in some regions have tripled or more in the last few months. Several breweries internationally have been shut down by their local governments limiting the access to their products to international markets. These factors have been evident in press releases, but maybe between the lines. Lagers initially made in Europe are now being transferred to North American facilities. The large breweries strengthened by the consolidation of decades past are desperately trying to juggle costs in various methods. But ay, there’s the hop rub. The average consumer still likes the German Lagers, British Ales, or Mexican Cerveza that they drink. If the products they want are not available from traditional supply chains, they’ll seek other channels to fill that need. It’s one of the defining causes of why the homebrewing hobby has exploded in recent years. Craft beer producers are in a great position to address this market need to pivot to local market changes much faster than international brands. They can continually gauge their community’s product gaps much more effectively than a brewery on the other side of the globe. The reason why the beer industry has changed so dramatically the last few decades is from a Faustian handshake with cheap energy being able to provide a way to transport food and beverage products at a subsidized cost. It should be a goal for every brewer to help determine how they can reduce the mileage of their supplies and products. However, one thing is exact. Our home needs fewer protectors and more supporters.
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STUCK FERMENTATION CAUSES, PREVENTION AND HOW TO FIX THEM WHEN THEY HAPPEN ANYONE WHO WORKS WITH BREWER’S YEAST KNOWS THEY NEED TO GIVE IT A PRETTY CUSHY WORK ENVIRONMENT TO MAINTAIN ITS FUNCTION. WHEN YEAST CELLS AREN’T HAPPY – SAY, BECAUSE THEY’RE UNHEALTHY, RUN OUT OF NUTRIENTS TO DIGEST OR COLLEAGUES TO DO THEIR SHARE OF THE TASK – THEY STOP DOING THEIR JOB. IF YOU’VE EXPERIENCED THIS, YOU KNOW IT CAN PROVE QUITE FRUSTRATING TRYING TO DIAGNOSE THE CAUSE AND PRESCRIBE A SOLUTION. Submitted by Precision Fermentation Inc.
WHAT CAUSES STUCK FERMENTATION? As noted above, anything that fails to catalyze the yeast into action or stresses it beyond its limits can trigger a stuck fermentation beer. The most common causes are: u Dead (not vital) or unhealthy (not viable) yeast cells u Too little yeast pitched u Too much yeast pitched, causing excessive krausening and loss of healthy yeast through blow off u Not enough nutrients in the wort to sustain yeast activity u Yeast that flocculates (clumps together and drops out of suspension) too rapidly u Inappropriately low temperatures that create sluggish and eventually dormant yeast u Excessively high temperatures that kill the yeast (AKA “yeast autolysis”)
you’ve bought or propagated yeast in quality condition, it’s imperative to keep it viable and vital. To do so, store each yeast slurry in an airtight sanitized vessel at temperatures ideally below 42 degrees but above freezing and handle it in a hygienic manner to avoid bacterial or cross-contamination. Next, use your hemocytometer to count the number of cells in your slurry. Pitch and ferment at the correct temperature and avoid sudden fluctuations. While you can almost always get the exact numbers for your strain from the vendor or manufacturer, generally, ale yeasts like to live in wort
well below 80 degrees, hovering in the 68-degree range. Most lager yeast thrives between 45-55 degrees. HOW TO RESTART A STUCK FERMENTATION First of all, check the temperature. Second of all, check the temperature again. Is it too hot? Too cold? Adjust accordingly. If your tank climate is suitably controlled, you may have read that you can aerate the wort at this point to allow the yeast to respirate and thereby reproduce. This is mostly an urban myth and a dangerous one at that. This will not actually cause the yeast to reproduce, and the risks of introducing oxygen once fermentation has begun usually outweigh the benefits. To avoid the off-flavours that can emerge from trying to rouse the yeast this way, you’re much better off following the step below. If you determine the yeast itself caused your fermentation to stall, whether through lessthan-ideal vitality, flocculation tendencies or density/pitch rate, you’ll want to krausen by adding vigorously fermenting wort to pick up the slack from the inactive yeast and jump-start the fermentation. Typically a successful krausen makes up 10% to 20% of the volume of the wort in the tank.
HOW TO PREVENT A STUCK FERMENTATION Here’s where proper yeast management really demonstrates its value. Assuming
HEADING UP A HOP REVOLUTION
FOR YEARS, BREWERS WANTING TO SOURCE HOPS FROM NEW ZEALAND HAD A SOLE OPTION TO TURN TO. BUT THE LANDSCAPE HAS CHANGED AND COMPANIES SUCH AS HOP REVOLUTION ARE ALTERING THE NARRATIVE, DEALING DIRECTLY WITH BREWERIES ACROSS THE GLOBE TO SUPPLY VARIETALS SUCH AS NELSON SAUVIN, MOTUEKA, RIWAKA AND PACIFIC SUNRISE. AND THEY’RE ONLY JUST GETTING STARTED.
r Susan Wheeler is a viticulture research scientist by trade that started to look into the wonderful world of hops back in 2012.
Fast-forward eight years and the company she would go on to found, Hop Revolution, is expecting to harvest some 200 tonnes across four varietals in 2021. Not bad going for someone that, in her own words “got bored of grapes research so decided to read about hops instead”. Dr Wheeler’s foray into the world of hops started out as a research project, investigating the possibilities of growing Humulus
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lupulus outside of the Nelson region. But upon seeing how in demand hops from New Zealand were, this research initiative would soon become a commercial one. “I’d speak to a lot of brewers, especially from the US, and they all told me the same thing: that New Zealand hops were hard to come by. So it became obvious early on that we should do something to change that,” explains Dr Wheeler. For many years, NZ Hops had the monopoly hops hailing from this part of the world. But following a period vying for access to grow their own, Dr Wheeler was granted a license some four years ago and Hop Revolution was born.
“We became a company, started planting our first farm and from the off, more people got involved, investors came on board and we could see the scale and potential of what we were doing,” she explains. The company’s first hop garden was planted in Tapawera (Maori meaning ‘hot forest edge’). It’s a 150ha property (116ha under canopy), with the first harvest completed in March 2020. The Tapawera hop garden soils comprise alluvial silt and sandy loams overlaying deep free-draining gravels. These soils are well suited to hop growing and are characterised by low-to-mod-
erate natural levels of fertility and variations in soil depth, typical of a former flood plain. In this garden, they planted a range of Nelson Sauvin, Motueka, Riwaka and Pacific Sunrise. Jason Judkins, CEO at Hop Revolution, joined the business in January of 2019. Along with Dr Wheeler, he has seen first hand how in-demand New Zealand hops are across the globe. “Planning and planting such a big garden was a daunting exercise. You’re building the farm up, importing drying equipment from Wolf in Germany and getting everything installed,” says Judkins. “It was a big project, that’s for sure.”
Judkins and Dr Wheeler would travel to the US, attending events such as the Craft Brewers Conference to make connections with brewers and distributors alike. Following these shows the duo, as they explain, would “cold call” North American brewers so they could visit and explain the Hop Revolution proposition. “A lot of these brewers were good to give us a go,” he recalls. “We were turning up but we didn’t have any samples at that point. We didn’t have anything! Instead, we explained that we were
developing a farm and this is what we can offer.”
duced 100 tonnes, all of which was pelletised in Idaho, USA.
Judkins adds: “And we had these brewers saying “Ok, great” let us know when you’re going to have them. They would be sending money to the other side of the world and we would promise to send them the hops when harvest came around. There was a lot of trust placed in us.”
The majority of the hops were sold in the USA through direct to brewer sales and distributors, however, the company still has Nelson Sauvin and Motueka in stock for breweries in the UK and wider Europe.
The first harvest from the Tapawera hop garden took place in March 2020. This pro-
In 2021, Hop Revolution is looking at producing approximately 200 tonnes of Nelson Sauvin, Motueka, Riwaka and Pacific Sunrise. This is where their new hop garden comes in. Wairua hop garden is located on the eastern side of the Motueka River. Situated at the junction of Old School Road and the Kohatu-Kawatiri Highway, their second hop garden is located approximately eight km south of Tapawera. The predominant soil type is Motupiko silt loams derived from Moutere gravels, with low-to-moderate natural levels of fertility and free draining stony topsoil. This hop garden consists of 115 canopy ha planted with Nelson Sauvin, Motueka, Riwaka, Pacific Sunrise, and also Moutere. Another 55 ha garden, Bull Paddock Hops, will come to market in 2021 with other trials taking place across different regions of New Zealand.
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“We’ve got access to a number of different varietals and, with Wairua, I can see us going from four to probably seven but don’t see moving much beyond that,” he says. “Especially with the core four accounting for 80-90% of our industry.” These four core hops, as touched upon earlier, are Nelson Sauvin, Motueka, Riwaka and Pacific Sunrise. Nelson Sauvin, is a triploid variety bred from the New Zealand variety “Smoothcone” and a selected New Zealand male. Developed by New Zealand’s Plant & Food Research and released in 2000, the essential oil profile displays characteristics of “fresh crushed gooseberries” a descriptor often used for the grape variety Sauvignon Blanc, giving rise to this variety’s name.
some malt-forward beers. Alpha acids measure between 6.5-8.5%, Beta of 5-5.5% and oil (mL/100g) of 0.6-1.
Wheeler and the team are looking forward to working with more brewers across the globe in 2021 and beyond.
Hop Revolution is the first grower to plant Pacific Sunrise on a commercial scale. Released by New Zealand’s Hort Research in 2000 and offering up citrus and berry flavours, it has Alpha levels of 12.5-14.5%, Beta of 5-7% and oils (mL/100g) of 1.5-2.5.
“We want to do the best that we can — work with brewers and get their feedback, warts and all. It’s not a transaction but a partnership and a journey,” says Judkins.
With these four core varietals, alongside the others coming online, Judkins and Dr
Dr Wheeler adds: “We want to be with them for years to come, to improve alongside them and play our part in helping them make more excellent beers.”
Offering up tropical fruit, berry, herbal and earth flavours, it has an Alpha percentage between 12-13%, Beta of 6-8% and oil (mL/100g) of 1-1.2. Riwaka, as the team explain, has a rockstar reputation. With an almost 1:1 ratio of alpha to beta acids gives it a strong sweet citrus note. With flavours of grapefruit and kumquat, Alpha comes in at 4.5-6.5%, Beta of 4-5% and oil (mL/100g) of 0.8. Mouteka, with flavours of lemon, lime and tropical fruit, works in lagers, pilsners and
SUSTAINABLE MALT A ROUTE TO NET ZERO OPTION SUSTAINABILITY: BETTER THAN CSR, BUT DO YOU HAVE PLAN? by Nigel Davies, PhD
Sustainability consultancy (www.maltdoctor.co.uk)
Director of Technical and Sustainability at Muntons, a malted ingredient company with global presence email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
ustainability and climate change are written about so much that it’s easy to feel they are just words with sometimes dubious substance behind them. It should not just be viewed as the new version of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Of course there is overlap but CSR focusses on current brand reputation whereas sustainability is strategic, forward looking and about business performance and longevity. It is tempting to think that it is all about protecting the planet, whereas it is more dynamic than that and highly relevant to businesses truly concerned about risk, raw material use and availability and operational cost. An effective sustainability strategy should address the triple bottom line: profit, people, planet. Operational improvement to increase return on investment (profit); protecting natural resources and reducing environmental impact (planet) positive engagement with stakeholders (people). The common threads of a sustainability strategy mirror those of any manufacturing business concerned with efficiency and cost reductions: Energy and emissions, Waste, Water, Packaging, Social issues. The issue is not where to look it is about what to do and how quickly to do it. The global speed of reaction and progress on these topics is lamentably slow which is why we see such
aggressive action being taken by those who want change now. UN secretary general António Guterres recently described 2020 as a pivotal year if we are to get a grip on the way we live and work to prevent a global climate catastrophe. We might be able to claw our way back after 2030, but as the activist Greta Thunberg put it “we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes” and Stewart Gilliland, Chairman, C&C Group captured it his way, “we do not have the luxury of time – we must all play our part and act swiftly and decisively”. Frankly a message I have promulgated at numerous conferences on this subject over the past 15 years is that “we have to get over ourselves; we need pragmatism not endless debate”. WHICH MEASURE SHOULD I USE TO DETERMINE THE SIZE OF THE PROBLEM? There has been an explosion in the number of calculators for GHG available, each having its own merits and demerits. Don’t let this apparent disagreement deter you. I have found that for those calculators including all the correct elements there is likely only a few percent difference in their total GHG, maybe as little as 6% hence you are 94%+ certain you have it right. Calcu-
lators developed by the author and more widely by Cool Farm Institute (The Cool Farm Tool) identify that around 60% of embedded carbon comes from the growing of malting barley — half from the manufacture of the fertilizers and a third from their use on the crop. This simple fact alone has enabled cross supply chain action to achieve a 30% reduction in the embedded carbon in malting barley. Current research offers the possibility that by using cover crops like clover or vetch between the cereals it is possible not only to capture in the soil the amount of carbon emitted by growing, but even more such that the effective carbon footprint of malting barley becomes negative. Farmers operating on tight margins can overlay cost onto GHG reduction and choose the low cost, high GHG reduction options. The most effective choice is to use a nitrogen based fertilizer which is produced in a way which emits less GHG into the atmosphere. These abated nitrogen fertilizers cost the same as those previously available yet reduce GHG emissions by 40%. Combine that with precision farming techniques that only apply exactly the fertilizer required by land type and yield mapping and significant GHG reduction becomes possible.
Illustration of the three scopes of a carbon footprint. From Greenhouse Gas Protocol: Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard, 2011, https://ghgprotocol.org/sites/ default/files/standards/Corporate-Value-Chain-Accounting-Reporing-Standard_041613_2.pdf
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SUSTAINABILITY FOR CEREAL GROWERS There is competitive advantage to those who have a good sustainability presence. So called ‘brands with a purpose’ achieve around 12% greater margin. It is important to establish that sustainability credentials are being described and validated in the same way. A group of companies working through the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI) created a Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) that covers all crop types in all geographies and allows pre-competitive and competitive activity. There are levels of performance above the basic bronze level such that companies are now able to set roadmaps to improved sustainability such as requiring various proportions of their raw material supply to be FSA silver or gold certified by a specific year. If a farmer is growing crops where the sustainability standards are different he can still become certified to those standards if they have been benchmarked against FSA. Companies using his produce simply change their requirement to a particular FSA level and keep their individual company initiatives which may have had significant resources spent on establishing them. The FSA translates good local sustainability into a credible global comparison standard. SCIENCE BASED TARGETS (SBT)
years and more, but the SBT is a big step up which at first sight seems daunting and perhaps just impossible. In fact, there are many opportunities to use existing technologies to achieve the target and exceed it. Muntons has invested in electricity generation through anaerobic digestion reducing road miles from tankers taking waste from brewing to farmland. A biomass plant run on wood from forestry that has no other productive use, gives a 90% GHG reduction on one site and currently a similar system with an added CHP to make that site also self-sufficient in electricity, is on track for completion in 2021. This program will help Muntons to achieve its scope 1 and 2 SBT four years early.
nomic growth and goal 12: responsible consumption and production. That signals where industry thinks it can act now but in none of those seminars did any representative think any of the other goals were inappropriate and some were on a parallel track of improvement. If we don’t protect the planet by managing the way we use resources there will be no possibility of addressing the other goals effectively. WHERE NEXT? Carbon markets: When the carbon sequestering capability of cover crops becomes more widely accepted it is likely that the initial interest shown recently in supporting farmers will develop into a carbon market. Locking carbon up in the soil within your own supply chain is much more preferable than doing so in forests, especially where we have seen such widespread loss of sequestered carbon in fires in the US, UK and Australia in recent years. Agriculture: The World Resources Institute has calculated what impact an integrated GHG approach to agricultural emissions could bring. They estimate that total Agricultural GHG emissions can be reduced by 73% by reducing food demand and waste; greater crop yields through soil improvement and breeding; restoration of land we have overused.
Fuel choice: Hydrogen is fast becoming the first choice to achieve carbon To address climate change COP21 in neutrality with zero GHG emissions. Grid Paris in 2015, it was determined the generation of electricity will likely move planet could cope with no more than more rapidly toward this technology and a 2C temperature rise. It made sense even the highly efficient biomass boilers to reduce emissions from human activity to relieve the pressure on the ris- Carbon footprint allocation across the supply chain for beer in may find they can use hydrogen in part ing CO2 levels. A comprehensive re- bottles or cans. Original data from Beverage Industry Environ- or whole as a fuel source. Already many mental Roundtable (BIER). 2012. Research on the carbon foot- of our vehicles and industrial burners can view of all industries across the globe print of beer. www.bieroundtable.com operate with 20% hydrogen inclusion resulted in a metrics being developed with no modifications. Large fleet users with different reduction targets by inMULTIPLE STRANDS TO SUSTAINABILITY recognize that conversion to electric is not dustry sector. This Science Based Target Ini– HOW CAN THESE BE INTEGRATED? practical and many are switching these to hytiative (SBTI) is voluntary but a powerful logic drogen right now. based allocation of GHG reduction requireSustainability is about so much more than ments. Malting and Brewing came under the Technology: will also play its part but we must carbon. To many, just carbon alone seems other industry sector and needed to reduce adopt an attitude of looking for savings even in a headache yet we need to consider much by >80%. Muntons was one of the first manconventional production areas. Some supplimore such as poverty, nutrition and food ufacturers and the first maltster worldwide ers of energy efficient equipment will provide waste. The United Nations Sustainable Develto have a target recognized and approved. new equipment and payback to them comes opment Goals (UN SDG) described 17 goals There are significant business benefits in setas you save energy. There is really no excuse with specific targets to be achieved over the ting a target. 63% of CEO’s report that it drives for not adopting such emissions-reducing next 15 years. At sustainability master classes innovation; 35% say that it increases regutechnology when there is no capital outlay. with food and beverage companies delelatory resilience, 55% that it has given them gates invariably rank goal 17: Partnership as a competitive advantage. We need to open our eyes to the possibilities key. It is only by working collaboratively and in front of us which will make the requirements openly on sustainability challenges that we The target really focusses the mind. Leadof new technology easier in the future. A lot is will come up with solutions that embrace all ing environmentally conscious companies possible but only if we collaborate openly and concerns. Second and third choices vary from like Muntons, have had energy efficiency take responsibility for our own actions. goal 13: Climate change action, goal 8: ecoand GHG reduction programs in place for 20
YEAST HOW NEW LAGER YEAST TECHNOLOGY COULD REVOLUTIONIZE GLOBAL LAGER BEER
RENAISSANCE BIOSCIENCE HAS SAID A NON-GMO LAGER YEAST STRAIN DEVELOPMENT COULD OPEN UP A NEW WORLD OF LAGER FLAVOURS AND POSSIBILITIES.
he publication of a landmark paper on lager yeast development in the February 2021 issue of “Applied and Environmental Microbiology” (Volume 87, Issue 3).
“Industrially Applicable De Novo Lager Yeast Hybrids with a Unique Genome Architecture: Creation and Characterization,” is a paper by Turgeon et al. It explains how the Renaissance research team developed an innovative approach in creating novel non-GMO lager yeast strains that are immediately suitable for lager beer production. It says this would help broaden the diversity of commercial lager beer strains for both major global beer producers and smaller craft breweries. For hundreds of years, lager beer has been produced using strains from two related lager yeast types: Group I and Group II. Although these groups are genetically different, they produce very similar flavour and aroma profiles, and thus play a role in the lack of diversity in commercial lager beer.
To date, approaches aimed at creating new lager yeast have generated strains that possess undesirable brewing characteristics that render them commercially unviable. This novel approach circumvents the issue and allows for the creation of new lager strains that are directly suitable for lager production. In the paper, the company proposes that yeast created using this novel approach be classified as a third group of lager strains (Group III). Renaissance BioScience CEO, Dr. John Husnik, explained: “This Renaissance achievement is one of the most practical innovations in lager yeast strain development.” “Our paper outlines how this advance was developed and importantly explains the potential to create many different novel lager yeast strains, and also to fine-tune and enhance many current proprietary strains used by beer producers around the world. “This yeast technology is ready to begin commercial usage and applications. Congratulations to our team on this exciting advance. We’re about to enter a whole new world of lager beer innovation.” Zachari Turgeon, Principal Scientist and the paper’s lead author, added: “Our expert research and development team has developed an elegant and highly rigorous approach to developing lager strains that has significant potential to expand flavour profiles and improve the industrial efficiency of beermaking.
“In addition, the Renaissance platform approach could be combined with our patented hydrogen sulfide-preventing technology to reduce or even eliminate the off-aroma hydrogen sulfide, a common concern for lager beermakers everywhere, and this provides patent protection for any lager yeast innovations produced with our technology.” “We look forward to discussions with beer producers and master brewers about our paper and the Renaissance approach to yeast strain improvements.” The Renaissance approach was to breed the S. eubayanus subgenome from industrial lager strains and hybridize them to different ale strains, eliminating the need to breed undomesticated, wild S. eubayanus strains. This creates a number of beneficial results: u None of the negative traits associated with using wild S. eubayanus are present. u The genomic structure of the new Renaissance strains produced is unique compared to all known lager yeast — the authors propose that these novel strains form a third group of lager yeast (Group III). u The new Renaissance strains now have a wider temperature tolerance range; this can increase their uses for different styles of beer, as well as improve propagation and the manufacturing of the yeast. u Renaissance’s R&D team can significantly increase the diversity of lager yeast by using a wide variety of different parental strains, leading to optimi-
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zation of lager yeast performance, an increase in the aroma and flavour diversity of lager strains, and the elimination of off-aromas.
of banana for global markets, but there are many types of apples with various flavours and textures used for specific purposes such as baking or cidermaking.
HOW DID YOU DEVELOP THIS?
u The Renaissance development approach is entirely non-GMO, relying entirely on yeast’s natural sexual reproduction.
That’s the current situation with lager beers as there are really just two types of lager yeast: Frohberg-type and Saaztype. Bananas are akin to lager yeast, whereas apples are like ale yeast. We are able to breed ale yeast and develop new strains based on brewers’ needs, think English ale, Belgian ale, Saison, and American ale.
The Renaissance team has extensive experience and expertise in non-GMO classical breeding techniques, and a wealth of knowhow around developing innovations in yeast that can solve difficult industrial challenges, e.g., reducing the presence of the carcinogen acrylamide in foods or reducing the amount of the contaminant hydrogen sulfide in wines and beer.
The Renaissance lager yeast innovation means that lager beers now have the opportunity to eventually become as varied as ales are today. There’s a very exciting world of possibilities for lager beer globally, with virtually unlimited potential.
This innovation and achievement followed years of diverse experiences working with yeast. The team applied this knowledge and experience to build upon the body of work previously done by academic labs in the area of lager yeast strain development.
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS LAGER YEAST DEVELOPMENT?
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS THIS WILL HELP IMPROVE LAGER BEER PRODUCTION AND EFFICIENCIES?
The results have allowed for tremendous success in advancing the breeding technology, enabling the creation of unique, industry-ready lager strains.
Zachari Turgeon, Principal Scientist, Renaissance BioScience:
Zachari Turgeon, Principal Scientist, Renaissance BioScience:
ANY OTHER COMMENTS TO MAKE ON THIS?
For 500 years, lager beer has been produced with just two types of yeast, labelled Group I and Group II. The Renaissance lager yeast platform technology is what we think forms a new type of yeast — Group III.
u Increase the flavour and aroma diversity of lager beer. u Reduce off-aromas (such as hydrogen sulphide and VDKs). u Improve stress tolerance and substrate utilization, leading to more efficient fermentation performance in high-gravity brewing. u Introduce novel aromas not typically found in lager yeast, including unique enzyme activities. u Increase temperature tolerance range, allowing for lager beer brewing at warmed temperatures.
Jessica Swanson, lead development scientist and beverage unit manager, said: “The Renaissance approach in making commercially applicable and highly valuable lager strains could also be combined with yeast advances and technologies previously developed by other researchers to produce protected enhanced strains. “Most importantly, all of these innovation possibilities will have significant benefits for beer consumers around the world.”
Developed using our extensive experience in yeast breeding, this lager yeast technology is really a platform or a palette for lager yeast users and master brewers to create new lager beer flavours and aromas, as well as to reduce off-aromas. We are able to speak to a large beer producer about any specific lager yeast production challenges they might need addressed in their proprietary lager yeast, and then breed the small changes required directly in the yeast.
Zachari Turgeon, Principal Scientist, Renaissance BioScience:
John Husnik, PhD, CEO, CSO, Renaissance BioScience: It’s vital to give credit to the extensive work performed in prior decades by academic labs around the world in lager yeast strain development. This existing work, which advanced many different aspects of breeding, has been extremely helpful to the Renaissance team, providing a strong foundation of knowledge from which to further our efforts in yeast strain innovation.
Smaller brewers might wish to develop entirely new flavours in order to compete seasonally, or fine-tune their existing yeasts to breed out inefficiencies in order to scale up more efficiently to serve new regional markets. CAN YOU PUT THIS IN CONTEXT FOR WHAT IT MEANS FOR LAGER BEER? Jessica Swanson, Lead Development Scientist and Beverage Unit Manager: To put this development into general terms, consider that there is just one major variety
THE TUNNEL PASTEURIZATION PROCESS...
HISTORY TO TODAY
PASTEURIZATION WAS DEVELOPED BY LOUIS PASTEUR AROUND 1864 AND HAS BEEN USED IN THE BEER INDUSTRY SINCE THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. IT REFERS TO THE REDUCTION OF MICROORGANISMS IN BEER OR OTHER FOODS BY HEATING TO A REGULATED TEMPERATURE FOR A SPECIFIC TIME IN ORDER TO MINIMIZE THE EFFECT ON PHYSICAL STABILITY AND FLAVOR WHILE MAXIMIZING BIOLOGICAL STABILITY. VARIOUS ORGANISMS IN BEER ARE NOT PATHOLOGICAL BUT AFFECT THE TASTE OF BEER. DRAFT BEER IS KEPT REFRIGERATED AND USUALLY CONSUMED IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, HOWEVER, CAN AND BOTTLE BEER IS PASTEURIZED FOR A LONG SHELF LIFE. by Edward A. Michalski
CEO and Founder of PRO Engineering/Manufacturing, Inc.
he shelf-life of beer has become a critical issue since it is one of the most consumed fermented beverages in the world. Beer’s shelf-life is determined by several factors including its microbiological, foam, colloidal, color, and flavor stabilities . Several months are possible if common contaminants are inactivated. This requires a pasteurization process at a time temperature of around 60°C (140°F) for about 20 minutes as stated in the book, “Brewing: Science and Practice” by Briggs, Boulton, Brookes, & Stevens. Heat treatment of beer is currently done by flash pasteurization, batch pasteurization, or by tunnel pasteurization in the form of bottles and cans already sealed. Tunnel pasteurizers
are an important procedure in the brewery packaging line. Tunnel pasteurization occurs by travelling the cans or bottles through a tunnel that
consists of progressively higher temperature zones, holding zones, and progressively cooler zones. Tunnel pasteurizers comprise a long, enclosed chamber, typically 15 to 30m, in which water sprayed onto the packages controls the temperature; the packages are moved through by a conveyor in the tunnel and is divided into 3 to 12 spray zones. The zones are divided into a heating zone where the temperature is progressively increased; pasteurization zone, where the product reaches the desired temperature; and cooling zone(s), where the packages are cooled to reach the desired beer out temperature (BOT). The system includes a shell, tube heat exchangers, regeneration, and steam water heating. The water running off the packages falls into reservoirs and is recycled to the sprays. Tunnel pasteurizers use a single or double deck, nevertheless, the single deck conveyor has become more prevalent in the brewing industry in the United States because the lower decks in the double set are more likely to be subject to blockage. Brewers should consider that aspects such as bottle size, material and shape influence the specific pasteurizing conditions, such as residence time within the tunnel, to achieve appropriate results. If pasteurization reaches a beer tempera-
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we often change how we talk about pasteurization and we look to hold the product at a temperature for a certain time, maybe 165 0F for 10 minutes as P.U. levels alone will not be enough for proper pasteurization. International brewing groups refer to the rate of under-pasteurized packages as one per 10,000 packages, being desired non-detectable or “less than 1” CFU/ml of aerobic and anaerobic bacterial testing, yeast, and molds.
ture too high from the desired level, flavours called “pasteurization tastes” may develop in the beer, along with alterations in the foam formation. Tunnel pasteurizer manufacturers incorporated the term Pasteurization Unit (P.U.) to monitor the process, in order to measure the “lethal effect” of the heat on the microorganisms in the beer, tea, or other infused beverages. It is defined that 1 P.U. is added to the product when exposed to 60°C (140°F) for one minute. Lethality (P.U per minute) is a rate term exponential with temperature. Lethality is significant only when the temperature reaches around 57°C (135°F), even when P.U accumulation starts at 49°C (120°F). The organisms which cause the most trouble in the brewing industry are lactobacillus, pedioococcus, and wild yeast, causing turbidity and poor taste in beer, or, additionally, in the case of yeast, continued production of carbon dioxide leading to bursting bottles or undesired can expansion.
should reach the 60°C (140°F) which is the lowest possible peak temperature in order to avoid overheating the rest of the package since temperature gets higher going from the “cold spot” to the top of the can or bottle. Beverage makers also should be aware that different minimum P.U.s have been considered as the requirement for pasteurizing different beverages. Fine filtered beer typically has a target PU range of 12 +/-2 for proper pasteurization, whereas hard cider may have a higher minimum magnitude of pasteurization starting at 20 to 25 Pus. Once we start talking about non-alcoholic beverages with natural sugars added
Traditionally, tunnel pasteurizers use spray densities as low as 3.4 gals/min./ ft. of tunnel surface area and use spray heads aligned in a straight line running the length of the tunnel. However, in poorly designed tunnel pasteurizers, measurements have shown a variance of water applied to the containers across the width of the tunnel, resulting in non-uniform heating or cooling of the beer. Modeling of the pasteurization tunnel has been demonstrated to be useful to predict the operation status of the process to make changes in the design, operation, or optimization (17–20). There are different references of design, description, features, and capabilities of tunnel pasteurizers in the brewing industry; the publication by the Master Brewers Association of the Americas titled, “A comparison of flash and tunnel pasteurization technologies used for brewery packaging applications” written by Duff et al., may be useful for delving deep into the topic. Another reference for more information is the Brewers Association for Small and Independent Craft Brewers where regularly published information on topics related to pasteurization appears.
The theory of transfer of heat from the water spray to the beer in the can or bottle is that the film resistance to transfer is greatest at the inside wall of the container. The mixing within the container occurs via thermal conduction and convection currents generated while beer is heated and circulated. The motion of circulation across the heat transfer surfaces reduced the internal surface film resistance and inclines to cause equilibrium in the beer temperature. The “cold spot” in the can or bottle is in the centre of the bottom because it is the last point to be in equilibrium temperature. To ensure complete pasteurization of beer, the “cold spot”
MEET THE BREWER 40
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FAIRWEATHER BREWING THE PERFECT STORM BEING PART OF A SCENE, OF A COMMUNITY, IS A VERY SPECIAL FEELING. FAIRWEATHER BREWING, FOUNDED BY RAM MCALLISTER AND BRENT MILCZ IN MAY 2017, HAS DONE JUST THAT. AND THE PEOPLE OF HAMILTON ARE ALL THE BETTER OFF FOR IT.
Logic is hard to come by these days,” says Ram McAllister. “And in times like these there’s often little point in looking for it, either.”
McAllister is the co-founder of Fairweather Brewing in Hamilton, Ontario. Based on the West Side of town, he and
his team have just finished their latest canning run. With trading restrictions still in place, packaging small pack is the rule, rather than the exception, for most breweries. Freshly canned was High Grade, its flagship American IPA. Assertively hopped, it’s a fruit-forward beer expressing flavours of mango, pineapple, nectarine, peach. Also packaged that morning was Dream Pop, a 6.2% American sour ale, dry-hopped with Citra & Mosaic. “People get pretty upset when that’s not around, so we do our best to make sure we have it in stock as much as possible,” he smiles. Current beers on offer also include Beki, a Sour ale with lactose & lemon juice, which is conditioned on lemon zest, cucumber & mint. While Brain Child is an India Pale Ale, refermented cool with gewurztraminer juice. Fairweather also have a strong presence in the hop-forward, hazy space but what’s rewarding to McAllister and the team is that their consumers will often try new beers, regardless of their style preferences.
“They kind of have to,” he laughs. “We’re making new beers all the time so to some extent, you know, they have to trust us and what we produce. I’d estimate we’re probably 100 beers deep at this point so we’d hope there’s some faith established. I think we have that, and we’re grateful for it.” McAllister is joined by Brent Milcz who co-founded Fairweather Brewing back in May 2017. A close-knit duo, McAllister and Milcz would become friends while attending Niagara College’s venerable Brewmaster’s program. Opening its doors in May 2017, Fairweather operates out of a revitalized warehouse in west Hamilton’s Ainslie Wood neighbourhood. Starting out, the duo’s guiding principles were a commitment to the creative spirit and tradition in brewing, to produce beers that honour the relationships and experiences that bring everyone together. “They should be swirled, wafted, clanged together, sipped, shared, gazed at, spoken loudly over, savoured, spilled, and taken everywhere,” they said.
And it’s a mission statement that’s been adhered to ever since. The last 12 months have been a rollercoaster for the brewery, like all of their peers. But a calm approach to the situation put them in good stead early on. “The initial feeling was one of alarm. Like it was for everybody,” says McAllister. “We had no idea what to expect but took the decision to take a minute and voluntarily close our operation for five or six weeks.” He adds: “It gave the whole team a minute to catch our breath and I think that was a positive for us all. It needed to happen.” Upon reopening, the brewery ran as non-profit for a period, engaging with the community on a number of projects.
Previously the business packaged and sold its beer in 500ml bottles, which presented them with a barrier to entry when it came to mailing costs and stability. “We always had the website ready to go and ready to switch on, it’s just we never did it,” explains Milcz. “And then COVID kind of forced our hand.” On the first weekend the Government implemented restrictions, the brewery was in the process of placing a down payment on a canning line. But unsure of the months that lay ahead, they held off. However, they would soon return to the investment, added a six-head Codi line to their armoury and haven’t looked back since.
“It gave us a chance to be more than just an entity that makes money,” he recalls.
An average canning run wields anything between 3,000 and 6,000 cans in a session, beers that have gone somewhat to negate the drop-off in draught sales.
While, unsurprisingly, the brewery has not had the year economically it would have liked they have taken great pride in ensuring its staff have remained in employment, the bills have been paid and the lights have stayed on.
While the duo is obviously longing for Fairweather to be pouring pints once again, it’s not necessarily the nature of the dispense that enthuses them but what that moment will represent.
A major contributor to that was the brewery’s successful e-commerce operation.
“If we’re pouring draught beers it means the taproom is back open, and
that means being able to see our community again, says McAllister. “The last year has been brutal for the industry, so I long for that day when we can welcome people back and for us to get on with our lives.” And when that day comes, it’ll be time for a party. Fairweather turned three in May of last year. It was a milestone that passed them by and, with the uncertainty of the coming months, the team is instead looking forward to bigger and better things for their fifth anniversary in 2022. “Looking back it’s funny that it has been that long already,” says McAllister. “I feel that we’re still very much the new kids on the block.” Milcz adds: “At nearly four years old you are geriatric in this game. I think we’re at the point we’ve got our act together so when the time comes, we’ll have a proper birthday for turning five.” At this point, nearly four years in, there is a sense of accomplishment. The duo were keen not to set out lofty goals and expectations from the off, but they’re proud of the point they’ve reached.
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“Hamilton has been good to us,” says McAllister. “And being a central part of the brewing scene here is a great feeling. Everybody was very welcoming and supportive from the off.” “We did things at our own pace, which I couldn’t be happier about. But before long, the ball started rolling and momentum started to build. The beer, and our culture has remained front and centre, though.” For Milcz, he’s gratified by the firm financial footing the brewery is on but also, the team they’ve built.
personal preferences the collective enjoy drinking, too. “At the end of the day, we’ve never really made beers with the specific reason that they’d be received well,” says McAllister. “Though we’d obviously never make something that we’d hope would be received badly, either! We focus on keeping things interesting and what tastes great.” And for fortunate patrons of Hamilton’s brewing scene, there’s a lot of fantastic breweries to enjoy, from Fairweather to Merit, Collective Arts, Grain & Grit and everyone in-between.
“It’s been really rewarding being part of the neighbourhood that is home to so many breweries, especially ones we get on so well with,” says Milcz. McAllister concludes: “I think for anyone coming to Hamilton, to visit breweries and to have that beer experience, will be hard pressed to find another town of this size where you can enjoy such diversity. You won’t be disappointed.” “Breweries are part of the community but they can also be the catalyst for something much bigger, and long may that continue.”
“We’ve probably lost less than one person a year since we’ve opened, so it shows we’re hopefully doing something right,” he explains. McAllister adds: “And when they leave, that’s probably because they’re too good for us and have gone on to get an MBA or go into space!” The brewing team at Fairweather work on a 10bbl kit that has been upgraded with a larger Criveller kettle owing to the volume of sour beers they produce. These beers then ferment in 30bbl vessels. With some 100 beers under their belt during the last, close to, four years, new recipe creation is often influenced by styles that are selling well for the business. But there’s still a major focus on the
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THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
THE BEAUTIFUL THING ABOUT BEER IS THE ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES INVOLVED IN ITS PRODUCTION. EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN RECIPES, THEIR OWN PROCESSES, THEIR OWN IDENTITIES. AT LOOP MISSION, THAT INVOLVES BREWING WITH BREAD, FRUIT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS THAT WOULD HAVE OTHERWISE GONE TO LANDFILL. LOTS OF IT. brewersjournal.ca
t all started with a phone call
Some five years ago David Côté was busy helping run RISE Kombucha while Julie Poitras-Saulnier was a sustainability specialist in the foodservice industry. “I took a call from a customer of mine, a grocery story,” says Côté. “He told me that he was throwing away 16 tonnes of fruit and vegetables every single day. We stopped everything.” At the time Poitras-Saulnier was working for a big corporation, and in Côté’s words,
tired of being the “sustainable person” in such a corporation. “Her job was to produce marketing, to basically create less bad instead of more good. Sustainability was seen as the branch to wipe away the bad part of the business,” he says. “She wanted to start a project where the more you sell of something, the better it is for the world.” Following the call, the duo visited the grocery firm to witness first hand the sheer volume of food being wasted.
“It was between 16 to 25 tonnes each and every day,” he says. “We couldn’t believe it. I freaked.” Côté and Poitras-Saulnier knew they had to act. Côté sold part of his business, Poitras-Saulnier sold her house and they started Loop from their apartment in Montreal. Loop Juices began life with the overstock secured from these businesses used to formulate recipes that were then sent to a co-packer to create the juices.
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Before long we were fielding calls from so many people in the industry telling us about how much food they were wasting,” David Côté A government grant for reducing food waste was secured, they opened their own factory and Loop would grow from there. “Before long we were fielding calls from so many people in the industry telling us about how much food they were wasting,” Côté recalls. “Bread companies, potato chip companies, pie companies. We became the centre for food waste so we rebranded as Loop Mission.”
we came in, take the extra bread and brew with it. Simple as that.” Bread replaces approximately 30% of the grain bill of Loop’s beers, the equivalent of 450 kilos of bread per batch of beer. Loop work with two breweries in Canada. Junction Craft Brewery in Toronto and another partner brewery in Québec.
After the success of their juices, a foray into the world of beer would follow. And in doing so, much of the bread that would otherwise end up in landfill has been turned into beer ever since.
The partnership with Junction, like all of Loop’s collaborations, works on many logical levels. For one, there’s a bakery, and therefore a source of ingredients, only minutes away from the brewery in the form of Rudolph’s Bakeries.
“At the end of each day, unsold bread was being collected from stores, loaded onto trucks and sent to landfill,” says Côté. So
“The owner realised that they were losing a lot of money transporting the bread due to its shape. So they decided to cut off
the crusts,” he says. “Lots of people don’t eat the crusts so these would have been thrown away.” Côté recalls the modest conveyor that transports the crusts into a bin that would be sent to landfill. “We thought: oh sh*t, this is so easy, right? So we just arranged it so we could take the excess bread and brew with it instead.” The brew team at Junction work with existing recipes from Côté and his colleagues, allowing for uniformity, grain and ingredients permitting, in the beers produced across Canada and elsewhere. The flagship beers in the Loop Mission range are 3.5% light sour beers. These include a strawberry Berliner Weisse, a lime and coriander Gose and a lime and ginger Gose. Other additions include 5% milkshake beers brewed with juices and permeate. Permeate is made when milk is filtered through a sieve or membrane using ultrafiltration. This process separates the lactose, vitamins and the minerals, which are collectively known as permeate, from the milk protein and also fat. The beers are brewed with 1,400 litres of juice per batch. Loop achieve approximately a 50% yield from the fruit they use, which equates close to three tonnes of fruit used to make one beer. For Côté, these type of beers ideally lend themselves to the ingredients Loop have so successfully saved from landfill.
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“Our brand is so focused on saving produce that we try and incorporate it into everything we do,” he says. “There is no single product we’ve made so far that doesn’t feature some kind of fruit or root such as ginger.” So going forward, Côté expects future additions to the Loop Mission family of beers to fall into the radler space and also a move into the no and low alcohol arena. Loop prides itself as a circular economy project, and for Côté, the word economy is very important here.
“We pay for all of the food waste that we receive. That is really important to us,” he says, “Because our goal with Loop is also to educate the industry that there is still a value in what they’re wasting. We want to show that we can create value without extracting new resources while creating more more jobs and revenues with what’s readily available.” And working with breweries such as Junction in Ontario, the brewery sells the Loop Mission beers as part of their product offering and Loop Mission receives royalties on those sales. Loop beers have gone from strength-to-strength since launch, proving an instant hit in Montreal and
very successful in the initial months since rolling out of Junction last Autumn. For Côté, there is an immense pride in quality of the beers, Junction Craft Brewery and also the brand he and Poitras-Saulnier have created. “You can go in a small beer shop, and we’ll be there. But we’re also in the big grocery chains, where a lot of the microbreweries aren’t right now. So to be present in places of all sizes is amazing,” he says. Côté adds: “I think people try our products first because they sound great and they taste great. And those beers, they taste really great. The fact that there’s a genuine mission and a story behind them is even better and helps us go that extra mile.”
2021 CRAFT BEER PREDICTIONS 2020 WAS CERTAINLY A CRAZY AND UNEXPECTED YEAR. HERE AT ESCARPMENT LABS, WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO THE LIGHT-AT-THE-END-OFTHE-TUNNEL END OF THE COVID PANDEMIC, ALTHOUGH THERE ARE CERTAIN TO BE SOME CHALLENGES IN THE MONTHS AHEAD.
u Shift to e-commerce vs. retail u Shift to packaged product vs. draught BEER SUBSCRIPTIONS Beer subscriptions have always been a thing, but we think there will be more of them in 2021. Subscriptions (whether it’s a variety pack every month, or the same beer at regular intervals) offer breweries predictable sources of income, and offer convenience to beer consumers. Expect a lot of breweries to add subscription options to their Shopify stores this year. Here in Ontario, it looks like Burdock is leading the charge with subscriptions to some of their core beers, while niche barrel houses like Small Pony and Reverence have made subscriptions/clubs a key part of their business model. RETURN OF BOTTLE CONDITIONING
by Richard Preiss
ne of the benefits of being a yeast lab is that we get to spend a lot of time talking to brewers, and observing what is and isn’t working in our industry. This gives us a unique perspective on the brewing business and may allow us some authority to make predictions about how the industry will change and adapt to the ongoing pressures. Or, alternatively, I could be totally wrong about these! Either way, I thought it would be helpful to make some predictions for the year ahead in the craft beer scene, if only to look back at the end of 2021 and laugh about how wrong I was. Please note that I am omitting the following topics since they are decidedly 2020’s trends. Not that they won’t remain relevant in 2021. u Hard seltzer u Beer packaged with unfermented fruit purée (the whole QC lab just flinched)
Reports of can and CO2 shortages paint a challenging picture for craft breweries in 2021, most of whom are force carbonating and canning as much product as possible. While this prediction is a bit optimistic and self-serving because I love saisons, we may see brewers focus more attention on traditional methods of carbonation such as bottle conditioning. We’ll have a blog post up soon covering basic and advanced bottle conditioning wizardry.
Here in Ontario, we’ve been blown away by the malts coming out of Barn Owl, and have found many gems among Ontario’s hop farms. Brewers are now committing to using a majority of local ingredients, rather than trying out the local malt for a random one-off. We are here for that because it means that our region will have a stronger voice with its own ingredients and terroir-driven products. Look to Matron, Slake, and Mackinnon Brothers and others committing to local ingredients. SAISON MARKETED AS A LOW-CALORIE BEER We think the true potential of our diastatic saison yeast friends has yet to be unlocked. It’s no secret that lower-calorie, better-foryou beers are a huge market segment mostly dominated by pretty tasteless contenders (we love some macro lagers but don’t really love Michelob Ultra). Diastatic saison yeast can produce an ultra low residual carbohydrate beer with the same calorie content as Michelob Ultra but with way more flavour. Some smart brewery out there will figure out how to turn that fact into marketing gold. We’ll give you this one for free :-)
A number of breweries in Ontario have invested in bottle conditioning infrastructure, and we think it will pay off for them in 2021. Check out the bottle-conditioned options from Bench, Sonnen Hill, and Half Hours on Earth.
You don’t even need to use diastatic saison yeast, breweries worried about diastaticus contamination can use a non-diastatic strain like Saison Maison combined with amyloglucosidase enzyme to produce super dry and tasty beers. Those who are willing to work with diastaticus can reap the benefits of JÖTUNN, whose enhanced flocculation makes it easier to churn out mass quantities of dry-as-heck beer.
HYPER-LOCAL INGREDIENT SOURCING
LESS SOUR SOURS
Craft beer made with super local hops, malt and yeast has been an appealing ideal for years, but historically it hasn’t been practical or feasible, or the quality wasn’t quite there. Now with the growth and maturity of regional craft beer, many places are able to support local maltsters, hop farms (and yeast labs).
We know you’ve got those randoms on your brewery’s Untappd saying that every beer isn’t sour enough, but we also guarantee that most consumers don’t want to drink beer that could strip paint off the hull of a boat. We find sours in the lighter-acid, “tart” rather than “holy crap that’s sour” range to be more refreshing
and, importantly, more crushable. That might translate to greater consumer acceptance. This is important since sour beers keep growing in popularity. In 2021 we’ll be launching products that will help brewers produce balanced tart/sour beers with less effort, both for the mixed-ferm and for the quick-sour camps. Hold the fruit purée (OK, you can do it, but please pasteurize the beer). For now, we’ve already had many rave reviews about Lacto Blend 2.0. BREWERIES MAKING THINGS OTHER THAN BEER I’m not talking about hard seltzer here, although that is decidedly a thing. And we’ve got advice for brewers looking to embark on their hard seltzer journey (just email us). What I’m talking about here is everything else: kombucha, cider, regular-seltzer, wine, and so on. A lot of the processing equipment in fermentation facilities can be used to make these other beverages, so a brewery can launch entirely new product lines using the same processing equipment, and can both grow revenue from existing customers as well as appeal to new customers. In Ontario we’ve seen a few breweries tap into the hidden potential of their processing equipment to launch new products: Burdock (again? Dang Burdock, leave some good ideas for the rest of us), Dominion City. Here in Guelph, Revel Cider launched a line of vermouth products. We’ll probably even see breweries start playing around with sakéstyle ferments, although I’m gonna put “brewing with koji” onto the list for 2022’s trends.
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SO, 2021, AMIRITE? REMEMBER HOW 2020 WAS THE YEAR OF US BECOMING RELUCTANT ADVOCATES? HOW HUNDREDS OF BREWERIES CLAMOURED TO BE PART OF A BIPOC INITIATIVE OR EVENT? HOW WE ALL MUMBLED THAT “BLACK LIVES MATTER” (BUT NOT TOO LOUDLY, CAUSE WE DIDN’T MAKE “POLITICAL” STATEMENTS)? HOW WE HIGHLIGHTED EVERY BLACK, INDIGENOUS, OR PERSON OF COLOUR WE’D EVER MET? HOW WE WONDERED HOW LONG WE HAD TO BE ALLIES FOR?
emember how we placed our hope in the new year? 2021 would be different. It would have hope!
BIPOC folks would be okay. And we could get back to loudly and proudly talking about obtaining new and exciting hops.
THEN 2021 SHOWED UP. Silently, at first. But little did we know what it had in store for us. 2021 was the quiet kid who secretly had a horrible temper and was itching to destroy your family’s fancy glassware cabinet. And destroy it beyond recognition, with nary a piece to salvage. Now we watch as 2021 has us scrambling, almost wishing for the glory days of 2020. Breweries are downsizing, struggling to keep the doors open, and this year looks like more of the same. Yet somehow, even worse. Mere days into the new year, we’ve watched as domestic terrorists (don’t call them “patriots”) have rushed the Capitol, looted it, posed for photos and then walked out of the building without a single police created scratch on them. Yes, they’re being named in the public sphere, yes they’re being added to no-fly lists, and yes, they’re being arrested. Peacefully. Breweries have had to make the decision to speak against those actions in DC on January 6, 2021. Many have said something and then realized that these were the statements their Black friends had hoped for back in May of 2020 when everyone was sharing the video of George Floyd’s murder on every social media platform (and traumatising Black people everywhere. Over. And. Over. Again.).
These breweries, who wanted to avoid political statements relating to their BIPOC friends last year, did many social media posts applauding the new US President, remembering to highlight Madame Vice-President and her biracial roots. Again, missing out on the irony of their actions. 2021 needs to be the year where growth, inclusion and acceptance becomes the norm. A year where we are really talking about BIPOC people’s lives and experiences, instead of labelling those same lives as being “political”. It’s not about throwing away what you’ve worked so hard on. It’s not about “targeting” specific groups of people (I dunno about you, but as a Black person, I don’t want to be a target). It’s about working and engaging with the community around you. It’s about LEARNING from those you didn’t chat with, but always wanted to have in your space. And yes, it’s also about talking about beer. It’s about welcoming in groups of folks you don’t normally see, and sharing your love of beer with them. And learning from them, hearing how they feel about beer, hops and exciting new ingredients. If the beer community is a COMMUNITY, we need to figure out if it’s an open and welcoming one, or if it’s a gated one.
Many remained silent in May 2020, because to them, BLM was a political statement. And beer, they said, wasn’t about being political. Beer, was just a beverage, they said. Black lives, a political statement? Can you imagine? But many did. Yet when MLK Day rolled around this year, those breweries who were silent last year tripped over themselves to be the first to post the diluted (and safest) words of Dr. King, missing out on the irony of their lazy attempts at being “woke”. Take a moment to go and really read what Dr. King spoke about. You’ll realize that you were part of the problem back then, too.
HOMEBREWING The sector, reimagined Photo: Jakub Mulik IG @namelessproductionscanada
Brew Year’s Resolutions
Let the 2021 brewing season begin! What are your brewing goals? Whether you are starting out or a seasoned brewer, planning the year ahead can help you with those brewing gains and “achievement unlocked” moments in your journey. We have put together some ideas to get you started.
To Seasonal Brew or To Not Seasonal Brew?
Seasonal brews — traditionally made out of necessity — have over time turned into something many look forward to as the seasons change. Nowadays, we have the freedom to brew what we want without limitations so do we need to stay within the seasonality constraints? Perhaps, with an island lager in hand reminiscing about warm sunny days, pause and ask yourself if you want to deviate from traditions.
We are excited to share with you our very own gadget guru Paddy Finnegan (aka @brew4.0). Paddy’s roots and passion run deep and his ever seeking knowledge and gadget reviews keep you coming back for more. We are hopped-up to show you his newly revamped system, one of many brewers’ dreams.
Two barrel-aged recipes courtesy of Homebrewer Paddy, “H.A.Z.E. Gin Barrel Project #1 - Lambic” and “H.A.Z.E. Bourbon Barrel Project #1 - Imperial Stout”.
Featuring the BLICHMANN RipTide™ brewing pump, designed and created for the homebrewer. @brew4.0 shares his experiences, tips, and how he adapted the RipTide to work in his three-vessel brew system.
From Janes and Joes to all-out Pros
Coming to us from Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company in Edmonton AB, we chat with head brewer Doug Checknita about his humble beginnings to now.
62 Homebrewer Focus
Paddy Finnegan (aka @brew4.0) inviting us into the GarageMa-Hall to share his homebrew journey highlights.
Winds of Change The New Year is upon us! While 2020 proved to be a challenging year to say the least, we are facing 2021 knowing more and ready to combat this pandemic with tools in hand and we’re setting our sights on the winds of change and taking with us what we’ve learned into a brighter future. As we continue to push through, many over the past year, have found ways to get back into homebrewing, brewing up a storm, or have just gotten into the craft! Homebrew stores have been busy keeping up with demands and adapting to getting us what we need in a way that keeps everyone safe a big shout out to all the homebrew supply stores out there - thank you! With the season of change, we are also excited to share what we have been brewing up. For starters, the homebrew feature of Brewers Journal Canada is now going to be The Homebrew Journal. We have also introduced a new member to the team, Sheena Strauss aka @knowledge.on.tap and look forward to seeing her knowledge and passion come to life on paper. We also look forward to seeing what comes next from Paddy Finnegan as he continues to provide us with his detailed insights into the gadgets he reviews. Additionally, to start off the year, we’ve excitedly asked Paddy to be our Homebrewer Feature Spotlight! He has many brew system upgrades to share along with two special recipes! We are also looking to expand the brewing focus to include a variety of homebrewers. As we are finding people are wanting to cross over into expanding their brewing experiences and learning from others and sharing knowledge within the larger brewing community — one of the highlights of being a part of this community! So we want to hear from brewers that make cider, meads, or kombucha, to go along with our beer brewers. Let us continue to share, expand, and spark new ideas within our amazing homebrewing community this year and in the years to come! You can reach out to our brew crew by getting in touch with Sheena on IG @knowledge.on.tap or via email at email@example.com Happy Brewing Everyone! Cheers!
BREW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
THE START OF A NEW YEAR CAN INITIATE TIME FOR SELF-REFLECTION, CONCLUDING THOUGHTS FROM THE YEAR BEFORE, AND GOAL SETTING FOR THE YEAR AHEAD. WHILE 2020 WAS NOT WHAT WE WERE EXPECTING, AND THAT SHIFTED OUR PLANS AND GOALS, 2021 APPEARS TO BE MORE CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC AND HOPEFUL AS WE’VE LEARNED TO ADAPT. LET ’S GET EXCITED FOR THE YEAR AHEAD BY MAKING OUR OWN PERSONAL HOMEBREW GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS! by
ven if you don’t usually include homebrewing in your new year reflections and goals you can always start. There are many benefits to goal setting and planning your year-long homebrew journey. By utilizing this focused approach you can level up your homebrew game, save time and money with bulk purchases and minimize last minute purchases, reduce stress (who needs more stress these days right?!) by researching and planning for homebrew competitions or beer shares and by evaluating your equipment to see if it’s all up to spec or if you need to do some maintenance or get that spare hydrometer you’ve been meaning to get.
What ideas come to mind for you when you ponder about this year’s homebrew plans? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Level Up Obtain those “Achievement Unlocked” moments, moving to all-grain and recipe design or learning about water chemistry to get that water profile just right to accentuate the style of beer, to beer education by building your sensory skill sets, working towards a BJCP judge, or a Prud’homme Sommelier and learning everything in between with books, journals, magazines, brewing associations, clubs, webinars and conferences. Escarpment labs webinars and the Brewers Lectures conferences (get your early bird tickets now for Spring 2021 season) are great examples. Since the pandemic there are so many great resources that have become available to enjoy right at home and encourage everyone to try them out as you will learn something or make a new connection anytime that you do. Links provided at the end.
Gear Up Looking to upgrade your set-up with new tools and gadgets? Perhaps this year you may be able to try out some of the gadgets Paddy (@Brew 4.0) talks about in our Gadget Corner section or decide to get into some DIY projects like building your own immersion chiller, or keezer or a nice new racking and organizational system for your gear and raw materials.
Share the Love When it’s safe to do so, maybe you have a few friends that are interested in learning about the brewing process and you can pass your knowledge on to them and make collabs by pulling inspiration from one another. Another way is joining a homebrew club, many these days have moved to online meetings for the interim. You can learn from guest speakers, and knowledge sharing amongst the club members.
cally sourced ingredients like yeast from our very own Canadian yeast suppliers, Escarpment Labs and Lallemand? Or how about malt and hops from a local supplier that your homebrew supply store carries? What about trying a whole new brewing style like learning to brew cider, mead, kombucha, or some hybrid of the styles? A new year brings with it new beginnings and with a little planning you can set up the year’s goals and achievement level-up bonuses that will help give you so many things to look forward to in your brewing journey! Do you have a goal of being featured in The Homebrew Journal of Brewers Journal Canada? Email me, Sheena Strauss, at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get the conversation started! If you’re homebrewing beer, cider, meads, or kombucha we would love to hear about it and share your experiences and a recipe with the homebrew community! Resources links from above to get you started:
o Escarpment Laboratories: . Website: escarpmentlabs.com . Webinars: www.crowdcast.io/escarpmentlabs
o Lallemand Inc.: . www.lallemand.com/our-business/ brewing
o Brewers Lectures: . brewerslectures.com/registration . Early bird pricing until Feb. 15, 2021 o Water Chemistry Links: . www.brunwater.com/about o Canadian Homebrewers Association: . canadahomebrews.ca o Prud’homme Beer Sommelier Educational System: www.tfkbeer.com
o BJCP Certification: www.bjcp.org
Explore and Experiment Do you have styles that you have yet to explore like a lambic, an eisbock, or perhaps trying a decoction or parti-gyle mash? How about experimenting with your brew processes or with new adjuncts or revamping your recipes to use more lo-
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TO SEASONAL BREW OR TO NOT SEASONAL BREW? THE QUESTION HERE IS ONE THAT IS OFTEN CONTEMPLATED IN THE BREWING WORLD WHEN IT COMES TO SPECIFIC STYLES THAT PAIR WITH THE SEASONS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. WHAT SIDE ARE YOU ON? by
n Canada we are fortunate to be immersed in all the beauty that our four distinct seasons have to offer and with that comes the sights, smells, tastes, clothing and home decor that enables us to fully embrace the season we are experiencing.
Beverage and cuisine changes are a large part of the enjoyment as we cycle through the year. We are reminded of the traditions we seek to hold or make anew. How do you traditionally brew - in season or not? Do you like to only have stouts, barley wines, spiced meads and ciders in the fall and winter and island lagers, hefeweizens, berry and citrus refreshing brews in the summer? Or how about the pumpkin spiced brews in the autumn and doppelbocks during late winter/early spring?
While some food and drink are ideal - and even craved - in the cold of winter and the long, hot days of summer, we are not bound by what we choose to enjoy. If you want your grandmother’s stew or father’s homemade holiday cinnamon buns in the summer so be it! If you want to BBQ or use your smoker in the winter, right on! All of these cuisines pair well with the beverages that are typically brewed for the season they are enjoyed in. That being said, by experimenting with making brews off-season you may surprise yourself with the pairing options you’ve opened. This can lead to more creative exploration in one’s brewing, food, and beverage pairing journey! As Hombrewers, we have the luxurious option to brew what we want when we want. While some brews you may personally want to keep for a specific time of year or occasion, there may be a few styles that can be brought out of the traditional seasonal time-boxing and made or transformed into something that can be enjoyed another time of the year. Looking to our pro-brewer counterparts, we generally see these seasonal traditions follow what was from the past, however, over the years there are some styles that have deviated from their seasonal spotlights to be offered throughout the year. Stouts and saisons, for example, are now readily available yearround, sometimes as flagship beers, to be enjoyed whenever the beer drinker wants. I often found myself on the team-seasonal brew side, as I look forward to seasonal changes. Admittedly some I get excited for more than others - *ahem* spring and summer - and look forward to the beers that remind me of the seasons. I also look forward to those beers that remind me of warmth in the cooler fall and winter temperatures like you would with foods like chili and stews. However, I found myself asking why I have been brewing to a particular season and if I wanted
to step out of the traditional mindset and brew whatever my heart desires. “Why not brighten up your winter with that summertime vibe and create a space of happy warmth in your mind while drinking a traditional summer beverage?” In the last issue, that was exactly my intent with adding a Tropical Hefeweizen recipe to share, knowing that something bright and cheerful may be needed after the year we’ve all had. Picture this, a tropical drink, filled with aromas of tropical fruits like banana and mango while you sit in front of a sunshine filled window or a light therapy lamp for that extra summertime vibe feeling, while taking a few moments to close the eyes and allow that taste and smell of summer to burst its way in! What memories come to mind? Our senses have this beautiful way of tapping into our memories, especially our olfactory system. When an aroma enters the nose, cells become activated that pass information to areas in our brain that are associated with memories and emotions, the hippocampus and amygdala. How cool is that? Our sense of smell allows us to learn, recall, and exhibit emotions, whether good or bad. Perhaps you may start to think of a smell you may really enjoy or not like at all in a style you’ve had or brewed, is there a memory associated with it? As we embark on a new year and plan for the future brewing schedule, take the time to see if you want to seasonal brew or perhaps you may want to dabble outside the seasonal glass — bring some of your favourite recipes out of its traditional placement on the calendar or possibly tweak it to become something new to be enjoyed in a non-traditional off-season way. For seasonality brewers looking to plan for the year, check this useful calendar made by Christian Lavender from Homebrewing.com: www.homebrewing.com/articles/ home-brewing-calendar/
GO GO GADGET BREWER GIZMOS, GADGETS, DOODADS, AND MODS IS WHAT GETS THIS TECH SAVVY HOMEBREWER EXCITED. WHEN HE IS NOT TINKERING WITH HIS CUSTOM BREW SYSTEM IN HIS GARAGE -MA-HALL HE IS SHARING HIS INSIGHTS WITH US AS A BJCP JUDGE, CERTIFIED PRUD’HOMME BEER SOMMELIER AND MBAA BEER STEWARD — AND MANY OF YOU MAY KNOW HIM AS THE MASTERMIND BEHIND AND CONTRIBUTOR TO THE HOMEBREW JOURNAL!
n this very special edition of The Homebrew Journal, we will be featuring our very own Paddy Finnegan of Brew4.0! This gadgety homebrewer needs no introduction, though let me give you a brief run down for those of you who may be new to the Journal.
Paddy has created the homebrew segment from its initial concept to what it is today! You have seen him review nifty homebrew tech in the Gadget Corner, interview both homebrewers and pros alike, along with awesome people within our homebrew community bringing us all fun, educational, inspiring, and engaging content. When Paddy and Rich asked me if I wanted to be a part of the team I was honoured and excitedly accepted the opportunity to continue in Paddy’s legacy of enriching the homebrew world. Last edition I was the homebrewer featured and this edition I asked Paddy if he would do me the honour of being the feature of my inaugural edition. I had yet to see Paddy’s setup in this Journal and with all the cool changes he has been up to in his Garage-Ma-Hall I knew we just had to feature him and share some of Paddy’s homebrew stories with you! Without further ado, let’s bring in the new year with a spotlight of the homebrewer that you all know you want to brew and drink with while leaving you thinking about #homebrewgoals!
Paddy Finnegan o @brew4.0 o Ontario o Part of a group
of brewing enthusiasts that call themselves the H.A.Z.E. Homebrew Association (Halton’s Advocates for Zymurgy Education) o Homebrewing for about 6 years o Brews Beer and Kombocha
I grew up in my parents’ Sanitary Design and Fabrication Company, that only serviced food and beverage processors. The initial “Craft” beer boom of the late 80s found my father and his crew doing a lot of work with Sleeman’s Brewing and Malting, The Brick Brewing Co, Formosa Springs, etc. and, given that the industry has a deceptively small ecosystem, when the next generation Craft Brewers started coming up they went to the OGs to see who they should be working with. By this time I was done college and working as a fitter/ welder full time and had the opportunity to work with the Nicklebrooks, Camerons, Steam Whistles, etc. and become friends with some really solid and creative Brewers. We later sold that company and I bounced around the industry a little. Along the way I came across a company that had a Sabco BrewMagicⓇ still boxed up literally collecting dust in their warehouse so I decided to give that bad boy a home for a year or so.
I never expected to start homebrewing. I was hanging out with professional brewers at work and in my personal time. Why drink my own “crap” when I have access to award-winning beers brewed by my friends? I figured I’d give it a spin for a laugh and when the 1st brew came out pretty good I was overcome by the “I bet if I do XYZ differently it’ll be EVEN better” challenge of it and haven’t looked back since. I guess the jokes on me, eh?
Let the Building Begin I built a three-vessel, 10 USG system out of converted kegs. A Mash/Lauter, Kettle/Whirlpool and a double length HLT. Essentially, double length means 2 kegs welded together to get twice the volume of hot water for brewing and cleaning. I hard piped it myself with 3/4” sanitary tubing and recently replaced the Braised Plate Heat Exchanger with a Tube-inTube Wort Chiller to avoid plugs and
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ensure sanitation. I have a small Rockwell PLC that my fellow HAZE-mate programmed for me to run the 3 heaters (HLT, RIMS, and K/WP), the 4 rtds and 3 pumps.
Both the hard piping and the programming have been an iterative process which is more fun than it sounds. Every couple brews I’ll say to myself, “I wish I could do BLANK” and add it to the list. Every few years we overhaul it and enjoy it even more for the effort.
I’d say the most unique attributes to my system vs most out there has to be the hard piping and the controls.
The hard piping is great because I isolated all the processes and can CIP (Clean In Place) my Mash/Lauter while still Boiling or Whirlpooling without fear of cross contamination or having to wait till the very end of the brewday.
The controls are great for temp control and alarms regarding next steps or hop additions. I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s missed a hop addition while having too much fun during a brew. 50% of the time when the buzzer goes off and the light flashes I smile to myself thinking “Ohhhh. I would have missed that one for sure.”
Another cool thing I added to my system that I took from building and servicing craft breweries is that I use a CIP Spray Ball to Fly Sparge and CIP my Mash/ Lauter as cleaning is its intended primary function.
Given my background in the sanitary fabrication and installation trade, my system was pretty tricked out from day one. As mentioned, I separated all processes by getting rid of 3-way valves to ensure nothing from the kettle could make its way in the HLT (turned my head for 1 min!) and this facilitated
W ’S BRE PADDY
the need for a 3rd pump which naturally had to be Blichmann RipTide (see Gadget Corner in this edition for the review). Holy crap that thing is awesome. It pumps wort though my Tube-in-Tube Wort Chiller that’s mounted under my K/WP, and still puts out a great Whirlpool through the tangential inlet. Good thing too because strong turbulent flow is key to cleaning the inside diameters of the sanitary tubing.
My cellar equipment runs the gambit. My older buckets are pretty much relegated to Funk these days and I have a few Fermonsters that I use regularly. I use glass carboys for some longer primaries and adventurous secondaries. I bought a few used 5 USG SS Brewtech Brew Buckets and one 17 USG conical that I’ll start using when we build out my indoor cellaring space and I can add a glycol chiller to my equipment inventory. I have one massive demijohn and 1 x 20 USG gin barrel that we’ve aged some lambics in - to great success!
PADDY ’S F ERMENTA T ION CHA MBER brewersjournal.ca
G PARGIN S R O LL F RAY BA CIP SP
PADDY IN W ELDER MAS K
Recently, I added a pair of Maker’s Mark bourbon barrels that were still wet when we got them. I share the barrels with my HAZE homies and we are in the process of filling them up as we speak with an Imperial Stout and a Barleywine respectively.
Future Tech List 1) Keezer with 4 taps and an Itap Pro 2) Glycol Chiller 3) RO System
The Keezer is the highest on my list right now as I want to put more beers on tap and dedicate one to carbonated water. I go through that stuff like....well....water I guess. But all 3 will wait until the world rights itself long enough for us to not be using the
basement as a second office/online learning classroom dealie.
Go To Homebrew Shop Short Finger Brewing Co. is my go to shop. I actually met Kat during my level 2 Prud’Homme course and we actually convinced the whole group to carry right on into level 3 together. Through this I learned that Kat and her husband Rob were opening their own shop in Kitchener and I wanted to support them even though I hadn’t even started brewing yet. My first trip there was pretty funny.
Rob “You have a hydrometer right?” Me “Nope. How many do I need?” Rob shakes head and flashes a wry smile.
I dig my trips to Shortfinger and still go there exclusively even though there are a couple shops closer to my house. Rob’s focused on the whole business these days so I deal with Mike for my ingredients most of the time and he knows his stuff. Great people ready for a laugh and passionately talk about industry trends or offer insight into your next project. Having great beers on tap, in cans and bottles doesn’t hurt none either.
Notable Brew Memories That’s a tough one. Brew-Jiu-Jitsu was pretty incredible. We packed about 10 of us from the Dojo into the Garage-Ma-Hall while I brewed on my electric system and a fellow HAZE head brewed on his propane system. We finished up our brews just in time to watch
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PADDY IN TH E GARAGE -M
Photo: Jakub Mulik sproductions canada
a huge UFC card with a very passionate and knowledgeable MMA and craft beer crowd. It was a really special day.
Another one that sticks out was a random rainy day (I love rainy days in the shed) and it was just me and the Wee Lass for the most part. The only way I could keep her out with me was to be listening to the Trolls soundtrack over and over again. This facilitated the birth of one of my better beers appropriately named “Anna Kendrick is fecking delightful”. It was a kitchen sink recipe on an unplanned rainy brew day but it was full of laughs and little hugs so its way up there as well.
Brewing has that kind of magic to it. A random day can rock and the meticulously planned ones can go sideways and crush
your soul. You have to roll the dice and hold on tight.
Motivations I’m motivated by the looks on peoples faces when they try my brews. When the experienced home/brewer looks at me with that “This is good” face, I feel awesome. It’s neck and neck when a random friend or acquaintance hits me with the “This is ACTUALLY good face.”
I also really like trying new styles. I love Brett and malty European Lagers with fairly high sulfur notes so I built a fermentation chamber out in the Garage-MaHall to help me get the attributes I wanted by ensuring the required hold temps and times are maintained.
Thoughts on Paddy Paddy is a homebrewer’s homebrewer and a beer drinker’s buddy as his enthusiasm and knowledge for the craft will leave you wanting to learn more, share a homebrew while geeking out for hours, and definitely wanting to have a brew day in his Garage-Ma-Hall. His love for the industry runs deep and his irresistible passion just may turn any beer drinker into a homebrewer (or at least eager to learn more about the ancient brew so many of us enjoy!).
Looking forward to seeing what Paddy brews up next or what gadget he is experimenting with? Be sure to follow him on Instagram @brew4.0 and stay tuned for more from Gadget Corner!
TRY THEM YOURSELF... t #1
Projec l e r r a B in G . .E H.A.Z Lambic
BREW STATS L / 10 USG Batch Size - 40 in Boil Time - 60 m % Efficiency - 80 1.078 Estimated OG: 7.5% Estimated ABV: IBU: ? SRM: 7.3
uper le Leaf Hops (s X* oz Aged Who in your spider ;) *how much fits
cheesy and gym
s Yeast in myces Lambicu 5526 Brettano T AS YE W s ck 2 pa Cru Bruocsella Primary Cantillon Grand 15 20 om fr s eg dr Spun up bottle the barrel to in nt egs from 3 when it we used spun up dr so al ew br is th *My partners in Rodenbach Fonteinen and ed ver be duplicat This beer will ne
lges 10 lbs Franco Be heat Malt W 13 lbs Belgian Wheat 7 lbs Unmalted 1 lb Flaked Oats the 4 oz Special B is 30 - 40% of malted Wheat *Traditionally Un
MASH PROFILE Medium Body Single Infusion but 1670F for 60 min r Lambic Beers is traditional fo t A Turbid Mash ui erent eq pmen 4 of us with diff re we e er th e becaus to simplify it rrel we decided ba e th l fil to brewing this Mash Profile to a simple Ale
s ber for 3 month entation Cham a basement 750F in my Ferm in s ly 6 month on r fo el rr Ba n Gi t our Barrel Aged in his house withou the barrel sold of er ep ke e th because permission ;)
em in a gin ips and soak th ch l ra ut ne or to k chips and over again ng flavoured oa g of chips over ed by purchasi ba e at ic th pl aw du th be d n eeze an effect ca self that you fr The Gin Barrel aking them your so d en m m co I re of your choice. the wood. n infusion into gi g/fermenter or e maximise th ctly into the ke re di er th ei s the dreg ack it and use in your cellar cr le tt bo ecial brew! c bi m ecial La gs into that sp bu y az at. cr e or If you have a sp m e to get on to change th ve a great reas up on a stir plat ha em u th yo ng ow ni ..n in .... sp hand try mbic bottle on rseblankety ve a special La If you don’t ha subtle Brett ho th wi g, in er ck t not pu erry tartness bu ible. Medium ch ed cr in es st ta g but ld age well. This beer is youn gne yeast. mplex and shou co s It’ s. te ount of Champa no ) am w! d no re su rd ea wo m a y sl (it’s th a meticulou ing in bottles wi It’s currently ag 66
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H.A.Z.E. Bourbon Ba
rrel Project #1
Batch Size - 40L / 10
Boil Time - 90 min
BREW STATS USG
Efficiency - 80%
Estimated OG: 1.188 Estimated ABV: 10%
2 oz Chinnok 13% AA @ 60 min 1 oz Chinnok 13% AA @ 30 min 1 oz Centennial 10% AA @ 15 min 1 oz Centennial 10% AA @ 5 min
IBU: 52 SRM: 62.5
MASH PROFILE 1670F for 60 min
Mash out at 1750F
2 packs of SafAle En
glish Ale #S-04
30 lbs US 2 Row 2 lbs Rice Hulls
1 lb Black Patent 1 lb Crystal 120
2 - 3 weeks in Primar
1 year secondary an
y at 320F
d aging in Bourbon
1 lb Chocolate Malt
1 lb Roasted Barley
1 lb Rye Flakes 1 lb Flaked Wheat
You can use chips in
place of the Bourbo
n Barrel as per the
The recipe is based comment for the La on Great Divide Brew mbic. ery’s Yeti Imperial St This brew went into ou t. the barrel this mont h so follow me on IG @Brew4.0 for upda tes as they develop .
GADGET CORNER: BLICHMANN RIPTIDE™ BREWING PUMP
THE RIPTIDE PUMP WAS DESIGNED AND BUILT SPECIFICALLY FOR HOMEBREWING. TODAY WE DISCUSS IF IT TRULY ADDRESSES ITS CORE FUNCTION OF DISASSEMBLY CONCERNS, PRIMING ISSUES, CONVENTIONAL LACK OF FLOW CONTROL, LASK OF LOCAL SWITCH AND NOISY MOTOR ISSUES. by
Paddy Finnegan @brew4.0
ometimes I hear so much about a piece of gear that I may or may not accelerate a project just to give myself a reason to add one to my kit.
My Brewhouse is a three-vessel, hard piped system that shares two pumps. One on the HLT and one shared by the Mash/Lauter and Kettle/Whirlpool. This design was not optimal (wait.....mine?). It could lead to mistakes in flow paths and created a production bottleneck regarding cleaning or running double brew days which by their own merit are long enough. Re-piping it to separate all shared lines was going to be quite an un-
dertaking and require a third pump, but we have to do what we have to do right? Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.....
Tube-in-Tube unit. I was eager to eliminate plugs and sanitation concerns and equally excited to prove my wife right about my inevitable overspending on this “little” project. (Your welcome Love.). However, when I came to the placement of said Wort Chiller the only place that made sense was under the Kettle/Whirlpool.
My beautiful and understanding wife “But you brew all the time so it’s clearly not broken.” Yours truly “That’s right but it could be better.” My beautiful and understanding wife “What will be better? The beer or the experience?” Those with any engineering experience Yours truly “Yes” (full disclosure I am not an Engineer. I do My beautiful and understanding wife “ And work with many and am familiar with prohow much is ‘just better’ going to cost?” cess system design and have experience Yours truly “Huh?” sizing pumps) will recognize the challenge My beautiful and understanding wife “Go that offers in validating the pumps capanow please.” bility to pump though the coil and up into If you’ve been married the tangential inlet that 10+ years you already In fluid flow, friction loss is about 2/3rd high on know what we call these is the loss of pressure or the sidewall of my conconversations. The ever “head” that occurs in pipe verted keg. Running the elusive but take it to the or duct flow due to the ef- friction loss calculations fect of the fluid’s viscosi- against the pump curve bank, actionable WINS! ty near the surface of the on the website was less pipe or duct. scientific than usual. It Pros was difficult to determine
o CSA Approved o Local Switch o Integral Air Relief Valve o Integral Flow Control Valve o Easy to Dismantle o Versatile Installation Configuration o Tri-Clamp Option Cons o Price Point o Availability o Power Draw o Static Base Review
A very positive byproduct of the re-piping of my brewhouse was that if I was going to do it I was going to bin my Braised Plate Wort Chiller and add a Counter Flow
Puppy Approval of Pump
BREWERS JOURNAL CANADA
exactly how much friction loss a horizontally mounted 3/4” OD tubing with a wall thickness of 0.065” x 25’ long would be experienced that I’d need to overcome to still get a decent whirlpooling action. In the end, I knew it would make it back into the K/WP but not confident in how strong the whirlpool would be. This pump is double the cost of the two chuggers I have in place that are quite durable and have treated me well. Did I make a smart buy here? Yes, I did indeed. The first test I ran with water and a couple ping pong balls blew my Homebrew friends’ minds. Those balls were spinning around the K/WP like the Wort Chiller wasn’t even there. No question it exceeded my expectations regarding its primary function. Some of you may be reading this and say “You bought a pump that pumps, good for you ya donkey,” but I know there are others that were following and sharing in my anxiety. The RipTide’s physical placement and orientation was also an initial concern but the sturdy stainless steel head and clamping mechanism is more than capable of supporting the pump on its own (see installed pics) without needing to build a wacky or elaborate bracket off the frame of my system. I actually would like them to consider making the motor mount mechanically fastened so it could be removed for people that choose to install it in a similar fashion to my system although, admittedly, it’s purely an aesthetic comment and in no way hampers its function. Proximity to HMI (Human Machine Interface) was also a minor concern but with a local power switch right on the unit for when things go awry (Yeah, I’ve used it. Judge away!) and the power cord was long enough to be tie wrapped nicely along the frame in the path that I wanted to get to the Power/Control Panel. Considering these are on opposite ends of my Brewhouse this was a happy accident. Speaking of power, I will say that when the RipTide kicks in there is an audible knock in the panel from the contactor. This pump needs power to do its job so make sure you don’t have it plugged in near any other significant electrical draws or you will be flipping breakers. Past the knock in my panel signaling the power surge and draw the motor is not much louder than a Chugger but it is louder. Not to a distracting level or anything, unless it airlocks or cavitates. Airlocks are
easily managed by the integral bleed valve (be careful it will spray hot wort at you) and cavitation is your processes way of telling you that you are close to a boil because the pressure created at the pump impeller reduces the boiling point to around 94℃ in my experience. I like to recirculate until I get to a boil and when I hear the cavitation start I know to kill the pump and let the element take us the rest of the way. By this time the wort is slowly turning over on itself instead
water from this process back to my HLT to use for cleaning I actually have both sides of my counter flow HEX going very slow until I hit the desired volume of hottest water possible then I open up the cold water side to speed things up.
Closing It’s clear that this product was designed specifically for Homebrewing. It has the flow capabilities that is lacking in all other 110V products and some nice bells and whistles that are clearly born from experienced brewers feedback. It’s also worth noting that Blichmann is still refining and improving the RipTide Pump. When initially released it did not have Canadian Standard Association certification (CSA is the group that certifies the electrical standards and safety measures are met or exceeded) or the Tri-Clamp connection options now available. It’ll be interesting to see how they improve on it next. When I was researching Blichmann’s RipTide I put serious thought into which process to add it to on my Brewhouse. I already had 2 chugger pumps that did a decent job but could juggle them anywhere as part of the re-piping I was planning. I saw no value on the HLT and little if any value on the Mash recirculation past Flow Control though my RIMs that I am currently managing just fine with a ball valve upstream of the element in line. My K/WP was 100% the right call and if you have a 1 or 2 pump system I highly recommend starting with or upgrading to the RipTide when you find an excuse to do that next “little” project. (Enter beautiful and understanding wife’s eyeroll here.)
of the temperature being stratified and scorching the wort near the heating element anyways and it won’t take long. I’m still dialing in reducing the wort flow for the knock-out which I have been enjoying because of the integral flow control valve. Slowing down the wort flow and ramping up the cold water side has had a decent impact on the length of my Whirlpooling Knock-Out. Because I recover the 1st +/- 60 liters of hot
FROM JANES AND JOES TO ALL-OUT PROS
Name: Doug Checknita Location: Edmonton Alberta Brewery: Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company Time in Professional Brewing: 9 years Job Title: Head Brewer Time as a Homebrewer: Less than 5 years Life as a home brewer:
I always liked to take the scientific/methodical approach with everything. That doesn’t lead to crazy or entertaining stories though. However In the early days of learning how it all worked, I had a few close calls where I almost flooded my parents kitchen.
What was your favourite aspect of homebrewing? Challenging yourself!
What was it about Homebrewing that contributed to you wanting to do it for a living?
The many different skill sets you have to know and become proficient in. Microbiology, Chemistry, Engineering, Physical Labour etc. You have to be good at all of them to make truly excellent beer.
I oversee and run operations at The Monolith, the facility where we do all our mixed and spontaneous fermentation beers.
What exciting things are you currently working on?
Lots of fun and exciting stuff at The Monolith. We’re brewing three interesting types of beer at The Monolith: Mixed and Spontaneous Fermentation, fermented in large format Wine Barrels (400L, 500L, 700L & 1200L), and Quick Turn Mixed Fermentation in tanks. We use historic methods combined with 21st century technology and scientific method to make all our beers. All the beers have living organisms with no kill step or pasteurization. We create our different brands through blending of barrels to achieve different effects, as well as finishing some of these blends on fruit or dry hopping them. We are working on a very cool modular yeast and bacteria propagation system for our two types of Mixed Fermentation beers.
BREWERS JOURNAL CANADA