Member Profile: Peter (Pietro) Caira


Peter Caira

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I’m a database administrator and software developer. For the last 10 years I’ve worked in the IT department at Havergal College, an independent K-12 school for girls. I’ve also had the pleasure of coaching the senior softball team at Havergal since 2008. I’m also co-founder and organizer of the People’s Pint Brewing Collective where Doug Appeldoorn and I bring home brewers together to showcase their talent and creativity.  Continue reading Member Profile: Peter (Pietro) Caira

Fall 2016 Grain Buy

The GTA Brews Fall 2016 Grain Buy is now open!

Thanks again to Toronto Brewing for hosting, please make sure to give them your love and make some purchases on pick up day!

All questions should be emailed to

Key Dates

Sign Up Open: Monday Oct 17th, 2016
Sign Up Close: Saturday, Oct 29th, 2016 (11:59 pm)
Payment Deadline: Tuesday, Nov 1st, 2016 (11:59 pm)
Split Date: Friday, Nov 11th, 2016
Main Pick Up Date: Saturday Nov 12th, 2016 (10:30 am – 1:30 pm)

Click here to go to the spreadsheet

Please read through the text below before adding your order to the sheet.

How It Works

DO NOT contact Toronto Brewing with questions about the Grain Buy, all questions go to They are busy people and are doing us a favour here, no need to give them more work than necessary.

In order to provide more value to our club’s Paid Members, and keeping in mind the amount of work involved in running this bulk buy, we have elected to make the bulk buy for Paid Members only. An option has been added to the spreadsheet to lump the $10 membership fee in with the grain purchase to make the joining process easy. For more details on GTA Brews Paid Membership please visit the membership page.

If you want to organize splits, then please do so on the partial page. Do not put fractions of bags on the main page, whole numbers only.  Prices are subject to change as the
deadline approaches and Toronto Brewing informs us of any last minute changes. Certain items may not be in stock, the sheet will be kept updated as out of stock items are removed closer to the deadline.

$10 is added to the cost of each grain bag, which will be returned in the form of a $10 gift card (ZackBucks) to Toronto Brewing for each sack of grain purchased. Similarly yeast packets have $1 added, yeast blocks have $10 added, and misc items have $10 added. Name 1 on the partials will be the person getting the gift card, since that person is the split captain for that bag. The gift cards will be emailed out after the bulk buy is complete, the codes are not able to be used on the pick up day. Please be patient when waiting for gift cards, and don’t start emailing immediately after the buy closes asking for your gift card. They will be sent out as soon as possible, we promise.

All bags must be picked up by the end of the pick up window. No orders will be stored at Toronto Brewing if you can’t make it. Arrange to have someone pick up for you, or remove your order before the sign up closes. Make sure to inform if someone is picking up for you.

Please do not message on or after the day Sign Up closes asking to be added to the order, once the sheet is locked it is too late. Also be sure to double check your order to make sure you didn’t mistakenly order the wrong thing. If you accidentally order a wrong bag of something, you are responsible for paying for it. There is no buffer for mistakes in the budget of this bulk buy.

Once Sign Up is closed, and the sheet is locked, we will begin accepting payments. Please send payments in the form of EMT or Paypal to Any orders left unpaid after the payment deadline will be deleted, then the order submitted.

Pick Up Day
Instead of everyone grabbing their own bags, participants will form a line outside the loading dock and our volunteers will pick your bags for you. Please be patient on pick up day, we are volunteers.

We always need more volunteers for pick up day, please let us know if you are available! We promise we will take turns with lifting, and you’ll be supplied with coffee.

Splits and Partials
Splits are to be done at Toronto Brewing on the Friday before the pick up date. If you are involved with the splits, please make an effort to come out and help. Do not start grabbing your bags during splitting. You will still be able to take your full order with you on split night, but only after everything is split and we are set up for pick ups the next day.

If you are in the Name 1 column on the split sheet, please make a special effort to come out. As the bag captain you are responsible for making sure your bag is split. You are also responsible for adding the bag to your order on the main page, and adding a corresponding note. If you are a bag captain and don’t come help split, you risk forfeiting the $10 gift card to someone from that split who did come help.


Over the last few grain buys we have introduced a lot of new malsters. All of the malsters represented by Country Malt Group were added in Spring 2015. Simpsons, Crisp, and Château were added in Fall 2015 after G&P was acquired by BSG. Muntons is no longer carried by BSG, however there have been some OiO branded english malts added, which are probably the same thing.

We have bolded some items on the list that you should consider/check out. We encourage you all to consider branching out and trying a new brand of 2 row/pale malt, Maris Otter, a new brand of pilsner, etc… Trying new ingredients and learning from them is part of the fun of our hobby.

Price Increase Note from Spring 2016
With the decline of our dollar it seems that grain suppliers have been forced to increase prices. When I was updating the price list it seemed that sack cost went up around $10+/bag for OiO, Briess, Simpsons, Crisp, Chateau, and Weyermann. OiO  2 row only went up $5/bag though. Some manufacturers didn’t go up as much or at all: Canada Malting, Best Malz, Great Western, Franco Belges, Bairds, Fawcett, and Gambrinus.

**Note carried over from Fall 2015**
I have bolded a few items on the grain list that you should consider/check out. I have also updated the links the in the top part of the sheet with info about the new malts. Simpsons is world famous for their specialty malts. I’ve met pro-brewers that swear by their product for superior flavour, they have some interesting looking base malts too. Crisp is known for their flavourful base malts, especially for their floor-malted Maris Otter called Gleneagles Maris Otter. Castle Malting [Château] is the second Belgian malster to be added to the buy, and now we have two Belgian Pilsen malts available (including Franco-Belges). I’m still excited about Thomas Fawcett and Best Malz, two incredible maltsters. The Maris Otter from Fawcett, and the Pilsner from Best Malz were popular in the last Grain Buy. Best Malz Pilsner is regarded by many as the best tasting Pilsner malt. Plus Fawcett Pearl is the base malt for Heady Topper, might be worth a try!


Please send any questions to

P.S. The spreadsheet is always a work in progress, please let us know of any inconsistencies/errors you see.

Member Profile: Geof Traill



Geof Traill

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I’m a brewer at Amsterdam. I came to Canada in 2013 with a vague notion of taking a short career break from my investment consulting gig back in Scotland. My first thought moving here was – where am I going to get my homebrewing supplies? After some Googling, I found Toronto Brewing was the only game in town at the time. I sent an email to Zack telling him my deal, and within a day of landing I was hauling around homebrewing supplies, weighing out hops and whirlfloc. It was an awesome culture there but I remember feeling like a kid in a candy store, having easy access to all these ingredients. I started homebrewing like a maniac; I remember one week were I brewed a batch every single day, and I’d have something like 10 kegs of different beer on at the store. I entered pretty much every competition going and achieved the dubious honour of being one of the top three homebrewers in Canada. Continue reading Member Profile: Geof Traill

Member Profile: Chris Saunders


Chris Saunders

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

Currently I’m a brewing student in my 3rd semester at Niagara College’s Brewmaster program. Prior to that I was a software developer and wasn’t super keen on what I was building or the industry. Right now I’ve mostly be focusing on the “less fun” parts of brewing like QA/QC, cellaring and filtering. Continue reading Member Profile: Chris Saunders

Membership Drive for the 2016-2017 Season

As our 2015-2016 season draws to a close, we’re excited to announce that we are doing something exciting to drive membership renewal for the 2016-2017 season!


From today until Oct 1st, we have special deals on membership where you buy some swag and get your membership for FREE! After Oct 1st, membership will be available for it’s new price of $10 per year.

Click the button below to visit the Merch Store and buy your membership for the 2016-2017 Season!


If you have difficulties checking out please email us! We’ve noticed that Stripe is picky about postal code formats.

We’ve made a few changes taking into account feedback we’re heard from our members.

  • Personal Membership price increase to $10/yr. This increased price will enable our club to run better by giving us increased resources to serve our members. Still cheaper than a round of pints!
  • *New* Family Membership upgrade. We’ve been asked many times about why spouses and significant others need to have a full membership just to attend the events, this addresses that! Make sure to specify that person’s name in the notes!
  • New option to ship merchandise! If you want to participate but don’t have time to make it out to a meeting to pick your stuff up, add this item to your cart so we can ship your swag to your front door!

Check out these cool items designed exclusively for the membership drive!

Ramones inspired tee, with brewing theme
Frankfurt style lager glass

Thanks to James Kennedy, Clayton Hoy, and Mark Verok for helping to drive this awesome initiative!


Cask Days Homebrew Comp 2016 – BJCP Results


Announcing the results from the BJCP component of the 2016 Cask Days Homebrew Competition! Please check the PDF link above for the list of winners. Congratulations to everyone that placed in the competition!

Judges were asked to nominate 1-3 beers from their table to move onto the selection component of the competition where the 10 brewers were selected. In total 21 beers were nominated for the selection round, and it was very difficult to pare that list down to only 10 beers. The selected brewers have been notified privately so we can begin planning, but their names won’t be announced publicly today. Cask Days will announce their names in early August.

Scoresheets containing the judge’s feedback and scores are still being sorted, but they will be sent out very soon.

In total we had 79 entries from 44 brewers submitted. Thank you to our 16 judges, and 5 stewards for their hard work on the judging day, we couldn’t have done this without you. There were plenty of excellent beers submitted and we wish we had enough capacity to brew more, but we we’re only able to select ten.

Don’t forget that Brew Slam 2016 is coming up in September! If you enjoyed this competition, you’ll enjoy Brew Slam even more since it is our flagship homebrew competition. We have thousands of dollars in prizes up for grabs, plus several Pro-Ams!

Thanks for Cask Days and Toronto Brewing for their partnership on this competition!

Here’s a few pictures from the final round to tide you over!

BOS cup mats

BOS discussion 1

BOS soo many glasses 21 beers each

August Bus Trip – Escarpment, Barn Cat, Block 3, Abe Erb!

Facebook Event

Join us for a visit to Escarpment Laboratories for a presentation on yeast with Q&A, followed by visits to Barncat Artisan Ales and Block 3 Brewing, then dinner at Abe Erb Brewing.

Tickets are $40/person for the trip, plus the dinner and any beer/merch you want to buy at the breweries. There is a limit of 56 (the capacity of the bus), so please don’t hold-off if you’re interested.

Tickets on sale here:

10:00am, depart Toronto from Downsview station parking lot (easy parking and TTC).
11:15am Escarpment Labs
1:00pm Lunch (TBA)
2:30pm Barncat Artisan Ales tour/tasting
5:00pm Block 3 Brewing tour/tasting
8:00pm Abe Erb dinner
10:30pm return to Toronto

Because of the size of our group, Abe Erb has provided us with a condensed menu, and is asking that each person preorders their dinner. This way, they won’t run out of anything, and everybody will know what their dinner will cost (tax and ip inculded) so we can pay on one bill. The menu is as follows:

Caesar Salad $10
Farro Salad $10
Village Salad $10

Bone Marrow $11
Wings $14
Nachos (meat or veggie) $11 or $14 with meat
Mussels $16
Poutine (meat or veggie) $12 or $15 with meat
Charcuterie board $24

Abe Burger $16.5
Jerk chicken Burger $14
Ribs $20
Stout Pie $15.5
Jambalaya $18
Gnocchi $17
Soba Noodle Bowl $14

Full descriptions at:

Flight of beer $10
Pint of beer $6.50
(beers don’t need to be specified in your preorder).

Basic idea from:

Announcing Brew Slam 2016 (#BrewSlam2)

Click Here to go to the main competition page.

Press Release

July 5th, 2016 – Toronto, ON

 GTA Brews is pleased to announce the dates and details for our Brew Slam 2016 Homebrew Competition in Toronto. These dates might seem like a ways away, but it’s actually under 3 months away so get brewing and mark the deadline in your calendar!
Entry Deadline: Sept 24th, 2016
Judging Dates: Sept 30th – Oct 2nd, 2016
Account registration is open now! Visit the Brew Slam 2016 page for rules and entry details!
brewslam small fb-01

Brew Slam 2015 (recap) was our club’s first big competition. It was a huge success with 318 entries judged in only 2 days, almost 50 amazing volunteers, and thousands of dollars in prizes!

We are excited to build on last year and make Brew Slam 2016 bigger and better. Our goal is to make this the premier competition in the area for both judges and entrants. Toronto has the largest pool of BJCP judges in Canada which allows us to focus on the best quality judging and feedback possible. We are also excited to work with some fantastic sponsors for even better prizes than last year!

About GTA Brews
We are Toronto’s local homebrew club. Since establishing our club in 2013 we have gained momentum and grown into Canada’s largest homebrew club with well over 200 Paid Members. We bring Toronto area homebrewers together in person, and online, to create a friendly community where we share knowledge, talk shop, and provide feedback on each others homebrews. We welcome members of all experience levels including; potential brewers, new brewers, experienced brewers, and pro brewers.