Aaron Van Gramberg
What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?
I work in the Maintenance Department for the York Region District School Board.
What got you into homebrewing?
I always wanted to try making my own homebrew. When Covid came around it became the perfect opportunity for me to try just that. I started with a Brooklyn Brew Shop Kit and then went from there.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of homebrewing?
Hobbies/Interests outside of home brewing are playing hockey and traveling. Two of my most favourite trips were visiting Chernobyl in Ukraine, and Oktoberfest in Munich. Ein Prosit!
How long have you been brewing and how many batches last year?
I’ve been brewing since 2020 and did about 10 batches last year.
Do you have any favorite styles you like to brew?
Some of my favourite styles to brew are Belgian Quads and Cream Ales.
Do you have any certifications related to beer and/or homebrewing (BJCP, Cicerone, etc.)?
I’ve done the first level of the Prud’homme course, and I’m currently studying the BJCP booklet.
What kind of setup do you use?
I started with a Brooklyn Brew shop kit and then realized it was a lot of work for 6 bottles of beer. When I started working part time at Toronto Brewing, (NIGHT CREW!!) I was able to upgrade to a Brewzilla and an SS Brewtech fermenter. I chose to go the all-in-one route due to lack of space in my condo. From then until now I can honestly say I’ve definitely invested quite a bit of money into the homebrew hobby, with the hopes of brewing a better NEIPA than Chris Hughes and Gene Iantorno-no chance! Those two guys make some great beers and have also answered a lot of my beginner questions about home brewing.
What is the worst beer you have brewed?
The worst beer that I brewed was a Hazy Pale Ale, which I’m sure oxidized right after bottling. At that time, I had no idea about closed pressure transfers and all of the nifty equipment I could buy to solve that problem. Needless to say, I never attempted that style again, but I will have to for my wife.
What is the best beer you have brewed?
The best beer that I have brewed would have been my first attempt at a Belgian Quadrupel back in late 2020. Ever since then I have tried to brew it again but haven’t quite matched it. The reason for the Belgian Quadrupel is because my Dad is a huge fan of La Trappe Quadrupel, which is pretty hard to find nowadays in Ontario. I’ve only seen it in the States.
What advice would you give to a new homebrewer?
If I could give some advice to a new brewer, it would be to start right away with 5 gallons and work up from there. The equipment you buy and time you put into making a 1-gallon batch is a waste if you ask me. I would say do some research, ask questions, and watch Youtube videos. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, we were all new home brewers at some point. Keep brewing and experimenting to get to know your system better. Let your friends and family try your beer, ask for feedback, regardless of whether it is good or bad.
Do you have a name for your homebrewery?
My brewery name is Hops N Dreams Brewing. Owning and running a small local brewery has always been a dream of mine, hence Hops N Dreams.