All posts by Eric Cousineau

The Story of Ed Hitchcock’s 22 Year Old Lambic

Foreword by Eric Cousineau:

The tale of Ed’s 22 year old lambic-style beer is legendary among GTA Brews members that were present in the 2016-2017 era. I was recently talking to some newer members and realized that we needed to document this story in a format more lasting than word of mouth.

Some readers might be yelling at their screens right now that true Lambic can only be made in Senne Valley region of Belgium. Ed is right there with you and readily admits this was more of a lambic-style beer or methode traditionelle (MT) beer. However at the time when the beer was brewed, homebrewers were used to playing more fast and loose with these kinds of appellations.

I’ve had the pleasure of trying both versions of this beer several times over the years, and they were both wonderful!

After contacting Ed to ask his thoughts on how we could best document this, he recommended we use a version of the letter he wrote the the Sour Hour Podcast in 2017, which has been slightly modified for GTA Brews.

So without further ado, lets get into the story!

Ed’s Letter to The Sour Hour (Updated for GTA Brews):

Read on air of The Sour Hour podcast, Episode 70, 11 mins in.

I am sure that anyone reading this will appreciate the symbiotic nature of homebrewing and a desire to learn more about as many beer styles as possible. One of the unique beer styles that is wholly intriguing for both complexity and mystique is Belgian Lambic, so of course I decided I would try to brew one. More or less following Guinard’s book (from the Classic Beer Styles series) I made a wort of pale malt, unmalted wheat and aged Hallertau hops, and – as was the recommendation at the time – did a primary ferment using Wyeast 1056 before doing a secondary ferment with the Wyeast Lambic blend. My understanding at the time was that wood was necessary for proper growth of the Brett and bacteria, so I chopped a log of birch into kindling, torching the exposed ends to sterilize them but leaving the fresh wood where it was split untouched, and tossed that in. It sat in a glass carboy for a while, but then I had to move, so I transferred the beer and the wood to a stainless corny keg and sealed it up.

And here is where it gets interesting, because life sometimes throws curveballs…

A year later I moved to Europe, and when I moved back I had young kids. It was a while before I got back into homebrewing, and when I did, I decided something had to be done with the keg that was sitting patiently under the stairs at my parent’s cottage. Until I cracked it, it was kind of like Schroedinger’s cat (Schroedinger’s vat?) in that it existed in a superposition of states, both bad and good, and there was no way to know which way it would resolve until I opened it. Fortunately, it was still good – quite good in fact -so I split the batch and bottled half straight and half after a refermentation with raspberries.

Now if you are following along, you will notice that some time has passed, but I have been somewhat cagey as to just how much time. I brewed the beer in February 1994. I bottled it in the summer of 2015, twenty one and a half years later. My son was born a month after I brewed it, and was legal to drink in the US by the time it was bottled.

Eight months later the straight Lambic won best of show at a local competition with about a hundred entries (Editor: It was Spring Showdown 2016), and six months after that the Framboise won a major award at a much larger competition (Editor: It was Brew Slam 2016). While it did not medal in the BOS, it moved on to a side award sponsored by one of the local breweries as one of the top 10 beers from the greater Toronto area (a smaller field of merely 400 entries, versus the full competition of 600), and in that challenge it won hands down. The award, called the Henderson Cup, was a cash prize and an opportunity to design and brew a beer on Henderson’s 20HL system for one of their monthly special releases.

Ed Hitchcock receiving the Henderson Cup at Brew Slam 2016 Awards

Note from Ed in November 2022:

Now in 2022, I only have two bottles left (one of each), now seven years in the bottle and almost twenty nine years old. The last time I had one it was thin and had lost a lot of complexity, and I’m just waiting for a special moment to finish the last two; but once they are gone, that’s it. I’m not likely to repeat this – unless I decide to brew something now for my 80th birthday – but if anyone reading this is looking for a challenge, by all means give it a go!

2022 Homebrew Advent Begins!

Advent submissions all lined up at Brunswick Bierworks, ready for exchange

A few months ago we opened sign up for our 9th annual GTA Brews Homebrew Calendar. The participation fee was $10/person, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). We also included the option to donate extra (in $10 increments) to CAMH to help us on our fundraising efforts.

We’re pleased to announce that (as of writing) we have raised $320 for CAMH! There’s still time to donate using the following item. Donations will be accepted until Weds Dec 14th.

As is tradition, James Kennedy has designed a custom advent graphic showing each beer that is part of the calendar. As is also tradition, he has taken artistic liberty based on the name given to the beer, at least for the members that gave their beer a name.

Advent Calendar

Announcing Canadian Homebrew Championship (CHC) 2022

This is an Invite-Only Homebrew Competition for BOTY Final Round

Email questions to: comp@gtabrews.ca

Competition Details

Entrant/Volunteer Registration: Oct 24th, 2022, 12:00 PM
Entry Registration Opens: Oct 24th, 2022, 12:00 PM
Entry Deadline: Nov 11th, 2022, 4:00 PM
Judging Date: Nov 20th, 2022
Judging Location: Amsterdam Brewhall (45 Esandar Dr)
Results/Awards Ceremony: TBD

Cost of Entry: $10 per entry
– 2 bottles per entry
Payment: Paypal Only
Styles Accepted: All BJCP Beer styles (BJCP 2021 Guidelines)
Styles Limits:
– 1 entry per classic style subcategory (1-26)
– 2 entries per specialty subcategory (21B, 27-34), must be different beers
Entry Limits:
– Total cap: N/A (Invite Only)
– Per-entrant cap: 6 per person

Competition Overview

The Canadian Homebrew Championship (CHC) is a collaboration between the Canadian Brewer of the Year Circuit (BOTY), the Canadian Homebrewers Association (CHA), and the local organizing homebrew club (GTA Brews for 2022). This is an invite-only homebrew competition, where only the top 3 winners of each local club’s qualifier competition are invited to submit entries.

This competition acts as a Final Round for the BOTY circuit, where BOTY 2022 titles will be awarded:

  • 2022 Canadian Homebrewer of the Year
  • 2022 Canadian Homebrew Club of the Year
  • 2022 Canadian Homebrewed Beer of the Year
Continue reading Announcing Canadian Homebrew Championship (CHC) 2022

Announcing Summer Showdown 2022 – Homebrew Competition

Click Here to go to the main competition page and register!

Our popular seasonal homebrew competition is back for 2022, in person! We will be accepting all styles of beer, and for the first time we will be using the new BJCP 2021 Guidelines! Since this is our small competition, entry will be restricted to GTA Brews members only.

This seasonal competition is designed to be a “low stakes” introduction to BJCP competitions for club members to enter their beers for feedback and fun. The focus is on providing excellent feedback, so we keep the entry cap low. Our hope is that lots of first-time entrants will find themselves on the winners list and be motivated to continue entering competitions. This competition will be judged by BJCP Judges according to the newly released 2021 BJCP Guidelines.

If this if your first competition, please read our BJCP Competition Guide for tips on entering. If you aren’t sure which category to enter your beer, bring it to a club meeting, or email comp@gtabrews.ca.

Continue reading Announcing Summer Showdown 2022 – Homebrew Competition

2021 Homebrew Advent Begins!

A few months ago we opened sign up for our 8th annual GTA Brews Homebrew Calendar. The participation fee was $10/person, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). We also included the option to donate extra (in $10 increments) to CAMH to help us on our fundraising efforts.

We’re pleased to announce that (as of writing) we have raised $370 for CAMH! There’s still time to donate using the following item. Donations will be accepted until Tues Dec 14th.

As is tradition, James Kennedy has designed a custom advent graphic showing each beer that is part of the calendar. As is also tradition, he has taken artistic liberty based on the name given to the beer, at least for the members that gave their beer a name.

Advent Calendar

Announcing Summer Showdown 2021 – Homebrew Competition

Click Here to go to the main competition page and register!

Our popular seasonal homebrew competition is back for 2021, in virtually judged format! As usual, we will be accepting all styles of beer, mead, and cider. Since this is our small competition, entry will be restricted to GTA Brews members only.

This seasonal competition is designed to be a “low stakes” introduction to BJCP competitions for club members to enter their beers for feedback and fun. The focus is on providing excellent feedback, so we keep the entry cap and fee low. Our hope is that lots of first-time entrants will find themselves on the winners list and be motivated to continue entering competitions. This competition will be judged by BJCP Judges according to the 2015 BJCP Guidelines.

If this if your first competition, please read our BJCP Competition Guide for tips on entering. If you aren’t sure which category to enter your beer, bring it to a club meeting, or email: comp@gtabrews.ca

Continue reading Announcing Summer Showdown 2021 – Homebrew Competition

Message from the Outgoing President, Eric Cousineau

To the GTA Brews community,

I’ve had a wonderful eight years as Founding President of this homebrew club, and I’m so incredibly proud of everything that we have accomplished during my time at the helm.

Presenting awards at Brew Slam 2019

We’ve grown so much from six people brewing a Citra SMASH in my old condo back in April 2013. We’ve grown into Canada’s largest and best homebrew club! A club of almost 400 members that hosts fantastic events like our monthly meetings, raises significant funds for charities like Caf-Can and CAMH, provides invaluable services like our hop and grain bulk buys, and organizes internationally renowned homebrew competitions like Brew Slam.

The time has come to me to hand the torch to new leadership so that the club can continue to grow and flourish. Some of you may remember that during my speech at the 5 Year Anniversary Party, I said that I wanted to be down in the crowd cheering when the 10 Year Anniversary Party came around. I’m excited that I have the chance to make that happen now.

Continue reading Message from the Outgoing President, Eric Cousineau

2020 Homebrew Advent Begins Today!

A few months ago we opened sign up for our 7th annual GTA Brews Homebrew Calendar. The participation fee was $10/person, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). We also included the option to donate extra (in $10 increments) to CAMH to help us on our fundraising efforts.

We’re pleased to announce that (as of writing) we have raised $510 for CAMH! There’s still time to donate using the following item. Donations will be accepted until Tues Dec 8th.

As is tradition, James Kennedy has designed a custom advent graphic showing each beer that is part of the calendar. As is also tradition, he has taken artistic liberty based on the name given to the beer, at least for the members that gave their beer a name.

Advent Calendar A

Advent Calendar B

Recording: Brewing Water with John Palmer

Recording from the November 2020 meeting of GTA Brews Homebrew Club in Toronto, Canada.

This month, we had famous homebrew author John Palmer share his knowledge about Brewing Water, followed by a Q&A session! This time last year John joined us as a special guest at Brew Slam, and we are very excited to have him back.

Note: This was our first time sharing the zoom link publicly, and we ran into some “zoom bombers”. It took a few minutes to get a handle on it, but the presentation was able to proceed well.

Recording: Hard Seltzer with Marcelo Paniza

Recording from the October 2020 meeting of GTA Brews Homebrew Club in Toronto, Canada.

We had our very own Marcelo Paniza share his knowledge with a presentation on making Hard Seltzer! This alcoholic beverage is seeing a surge of popularity right now, and homebrewers can make their very own using equipment you already have! Marcelo will show you how, and why, to homebrew them while sharing his best tips.

October Meeting: Hard Seltzer with Marcelo Paniza

Date: Monday October 19th, 2020
Time: 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM

GTA Brews Members: You must login to see the link and password. If you have logged in and cannot see them, please refresh the page.

This month, we have our very own Marcelo Paniza sharing his knowledge with a presentation on making Hard Seltzer! This alcoholic beverage is seeing a surge of popularity right now, and homebrewers can make their very own using equipment you already have! Marcelo will show you how, and why, to homebrew them while sharing his best tips.

As with any conference call, please mute your microphone if you aren’t speaking, this really helps cut down on background noise. During Q&A segments we will make use of the “Raise Hand” feature.

Continue reading October Meeting: Hard Seltzer with Marcelo Paniza

September Meeting: Raw Ale with Luke Van Oort

Date: Monday September 14th, 2020
Time: 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM

GTA Brews Members: You must login to see the link and password. If you have logged in and cannot see them, please refresh the page.

This month, we have our very own Luke Van Oort sharing his knowledge with a presentation on Raw Ale! This is a technique inspired by historical brewing processes that has the potential to shave hours off your brewday by skipping the boil!

As with any conference call, please mute your microphone if you aren’t speaking, this really helps cut down on background noise. During Q&A segments we will make use of the “Raise Hand” feature.

Continue reading September Meeting: Raw Ale with Luke Van Oort

August Meeting: Pressure Fermenting with David Chang-Sang

Date: Tuesday August 18th, 2020
Time: 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM

GTA Brews Members: You must login to see the link and password. If you have logged in and cannot see them, please refresh the page.

Please note the one off deviation in date this month.

This month, we have our very own David Chang-Sang sharing his knowledge with a presentation on Pressure Fermenting. If you’ve been looking for an easier way to brew tasty lager-ish beers, this is the presentation for you!

As with any conference call, please mute your microphone if you aren’t speaking, this really helps cut down on background noise. During Q&A segments we will make use of the “Raise Hand” feature.

Continue reading August Meeting: Pressure Fermenting with David Chang-Sang

Brew Slam 2020 Cancelled Due to COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GTA Brews has decided to cancel this year’s iteration of our annual Brew Slam homebrew competition.

As soon as we went into lockdown back in the spring, we started getting questions from homebrewers across Canada asking us what our plans were for Brew Slam 2020. We held off making any firm decision as long as we could, with the hope that the situation would improve and we could continue as planned.

After months of waiting and internal discussion, the club has decided not to proceed with a competition this year. We are aware of the virtual homebrew competition trend that some clubs in the US have been championing, but we didn’t feel this would be appropriate for Brew Slam. We also considered a smaller virtual only competition, but didn’t feel this was something we wanted to pursue at this time.

We are looking forward to coming back with Brew Slam 2021, and can’t wait to make it better than ever before. For now, we are sending out best wishes to all Canadian homebrewers and their families, and hope you are honing your recipes with plenty of homebrewing. The competition is sure to be fiercer than ever in 2021 when we, and the rest of the BOTY circuit, return!

Cheers from the Brew Slam Crew!

Recording: Simple Homebrewing with Denny & Drew

Recording from the July 2020 meeting of GTA Brews Homebrew Club in Toronto, Canada.

This month we had two very special guests join us all the way from California and Oregon! This presentation from our favourite podcast hosts and authorsDenny Conn and Drew Beechum, was a big hit with club members.

If you enjoyed this presentation, please considering buying their book Simple Homebrewing, and listen to their podcasts.

GTA Brews Members: You must login to see the video.

July Meeting: Simple Homebrewing with Denny & Drew

Date: Monday July 13th, 2020
Time: 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM

GTA Brews Members: You must login to see the link and password. If you have logged in and cannot see them, please refresh the page.

This month, we have two very special guests joining us all the way from California and Oregon! We’re very excited to have our favourite podcast hosts and authors, Denny Conn and Drew Beechum!

As with any conference call, please mute your microphone if you aren’t speaking, this really helps cut down on background noise. During Q&A segments we will make use of the “Raise Hand” feature.

Continue reading July Meeting: Simple Homebrewing with Denny & Drew

May Meeting: Baking Bread in Quarantine

Monday May 11th at 7:30 PM
ZOOM Meeting (Online) – Link Below

Building on the success of our first online meeting in April, we are back in May to conduct the monthly meeting over Zoom.

We are still new to hosting virtual homebrew club meetings, so please have patience with any technical issues that arise. As with any conference call, please mute your microphone if you aren’t speaking, this really helps cut down on background noise.

Continue reading May Meeting: Baking Bread in Quarantine

Brew Slam 2019 – Wrap Up

Brew Slam is wrapped up for another year, and what a year it was! All prizes were shipped out to our winners before the holidays, and I finally have time to write my annual wrap up post. With 819 entries judged, we were Canada’s largest homebrew competition again in 2019!

Saturday Afternoon: 49 BJCP judges seated in ONE session!

Competition Stats 2019:

  • Largest Canadian homebrew competition of the year!
    • 819 entries judged
    • 850 paid entries
    • 880 registered entries
    • 9/10 provinces, NY
      • Missing PEI still!
  • 281 participants with entries
    • A new record!
  • 134 volunteers: 77 judges, 52 stewards, 24 sorters, 14 crew
    • Most BJCP judges in any Canadian beer competition, ever!
  • 32 award categories
  • 7 judging sessions, avg 6.7 entries/pair per session
  • Over $23,800 in sponsored prizes and volunteer perks
Continue reading Brew Slam 2019 – Wrap Up

January Meeting: Brewing Water Chemistry

Monday January 13th at 7:00 PM
Muddy York Brewing Co.
22 Cranfield Road, Toronto, Ontario, M4B 3H1  MAP

This month we have five exciting meeting elements!

  • Presentation: Brewing Water Chemistry by Eric Cousineau
  • Special Guest: Q&A with Lizanne Pharand (P.Eng.) from Toronto Water
  • Style of the Month: Bock
    • Presented by: Emily Storey
  • Homebrew Bottle Swap
  • Structured Tasting *New Format*

We are going back to our gracious host, Muddy York Brewing Co! We request that everyone spend some money to support our wonderful host. Don’t forget to buy some bottles from their shop!

Continue reading January Meeting: Brewing Water Chemistry

Member Profile: Eric Cousineau

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

My profession is Computer Engineering. I am a proud member of a pre-silicon IP team at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Inc. We design, verify, and deploy a portion of the hardware logic that goes into the various GPU products that we make.

I’m also the Founder and President of GTA Brews, which also takes up quite a bit of time. It’s been a ongoing joke among the club officers that I’ve been too busy running the club to answer the questions for a member profile, but here I am! You win Rob!

What got you into homebrewing?

I started homebrewing because I wanted to explore my pre-existing love of craft beer, and learn more about it.

I had become really into beer while in university (~2008), and I even co-authored a column called Beer Buzz in the Engineering Society Newspaper (Iron Warrior). I had seen my friend (Kyle Smith) brewing up a storm on social media, so shortly after I graduated I bought myself a Brooklyn Brewshop kit from Chapters (Tip: Go to a homebrew shop instead, way fresher!). I brewed my first batch in January 2013 and the rest is history!

Continue reading Member Profile: Eric Cousineau

November Meeting: Brewing Science with Escarpment’s Nate Ferguson

Monday September 9th at 7:00 PM
Muddy York Brewing Co.
22 Cranfield Road, Toronto, Ontario, M4B 3H1  MAP

This month we have five exciting meeting elements!

    • Presentation: Brewing Science by Nate Ferguson of Escarpment Labs
    • Style of the Month: American Pale Ale and Other Pale American Ale
      • Presented by: Emily Storey
    • Homebrew Advent Swap
    • Structured Tasting
    • Bottle Swap

We are going back to our gracious host, Muddy York Brewing Co! We request that everyone spend some money to support our wonderful host. Don’t forget to buy some bottles from their shop!

Continue reading November Meeting: Brewing Science with Escarpment’s Nate Ferguson

Brew Slam 2019 – Results Are Posted on torontobrewing.ca

(Dec 4th, 2019) Edit: They are are also now available on gtabrews.ca

The Award Ceremony has concluded for 2019, and the results have been announced! If you weren’t able to attend, your medal(s)/prizes will be shipped. If you are a local that couldn’t attend, please arrange to pick up your prizes directly from us.

Results

Click Here to view the Brew Slam 2019 Results

Scoresheets

Scoresheets have been uploaded to the entry software, all you need to do is login, go to your Account page, and look for the “gavel” icon next to each entry. You might also notice a miniBOS checkmark next to your entry, this means it was in contention for a medal. This will allow you to download the scoresheets for that entry. Direct link to profile
Gavel Icon: 

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Scoresheets From John Palmer

This year our special guest for the judging weekend was John Palmer, and our volunteers had a blast hanging out with him all weekend. A lucky 34 entrants will notice a 3rd scoresheet in their PDF file, completed by Palmer himself while our judge pairs took turns judging a beer with the king of homebrewing.

I will follow up with a more complete wrap up post, but for now, congrats to all the winners!

Cheers,
Eric Cousineau
Organizer, Brew Slam 2019

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Audio Recording of Kveik Q&A with Lars Marius Garshol

This past September we were lucky to have Lars Marius Garshol attend our September Meeting for a special Q&A session, along with our friends from Escarpment Labs. Lars also shared news about his upcoming book from Brewers Publications, Historical Brewing Techniques.

Big thanks to Escarpment for bringing Lars to Toronto, and sharing him with us! Also thanks to Muddy York Brewing Co for hosting the meeting!

James Kennedy was ready with his audio recorder and has assembled a bootleg soundtrack of the Q&A for anyone too listen to. Check it out below!

Find Us in the Cask Days 2019 Homebrew Section!

Cask Days is coming up this weekend and we’re very excited to have coordinated a whole section of the festival devoted to featuring homebrewers. Check out the full cask list here.

While these beers were brewed by many of the most talented homebrewers around, they don’t technically qualify as homebrew since they were brewed at commercial breweries. In addition to beer brewed by GTA Brews members, we also have casks from Durham Homebrew Club, Maple City Brewers Alliance, and Toronto Brewing!

Which one are you most excited to try? Hint, you want 182…

Our club member Guillaume (cask 183) has setup his Cask Helper website again, to help you track and plan your time at the festival!

Group Photo @ 3 PM (Session 1 Only)

As is tradition, we will be taking a group photo of homebrewers at 3:00 PM during session 1, in front of the homebrew section sign. Make sure to wear your GTA Brews swag for the photo, and don’t forget to set your phone alarm for 2:50 PM so you remember to make you way over.

Thank You To Our Partners

Big thanks to all our brewery partners for letting us brew with them! Please stop by breweries and say thanks by buying a pint, or some beer to go!

Big thanks for Nik Cole for coordinating the homebrew section again this year! Also thanks to Toronto Brewing for storing the empty casks, and Bear for storing the full casks!

August Meeting: BOTY Winner Panel and Q&A

Monday August 12th at 7:00 PM
Northern Maverick Brewing Co.
115 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON, M5V 2P9  MAP

This month we have two exciting meeting elements!

    • Presentation: BOTY Winner Panel and Q&A
      • Panelists: Chris Hughes, Darrell Kelly, Matt King, Mark Hubbard, Andrew McCready, Nick Hodowsky, Iain Robertson
      • Panel Moderator: Eric Cousineau
    • Structured Tasting

This June we are going back to our gracious host, Northern Maverick Brewing Co.. Thanks for hosting us! We request that everyone spend some money to support our wonderful host. Their food is fantastic (try the Jamaican patties), and they have plenty of beer-to-go in their bottle shop!

Continue reading August Meeting: BOTY Winner Panel and Q&A

GTA Brews Survey 2019 – Now Open!

Our annual general survey is now accepting submissions! We use the results of this survey each year to help inform the direction of the club and identify areas of strength and opportunities to improve. The survey will remain open until 11:59 PM on August 30th!

Update: Survey deadline extended until 11:59 PM on Thu Sept 12th!

This survey is open to both members and non-members, since we want to hear from everybody! The survey takes as little as 5-10 mins if you elect to answer only the mandatory questions, or a little longer if you choose to write more detailed answers (and we hope you do).

How can we make the best homebrew club in the world even better?!

Participants are eligible for a drawing of gift cards to Brew North and Toronto Brewing! Thanks to our local homebrew stores for donating these prizes to help encourage participation, please support them with your patronage!

This club belongs to all of us, and we want to make sure are all satisfied with the value you get for your membership. There will always be some challenges, but we are always looking for solutions and opportunities to improve. Please share your thoughts in as much detail as you are comfortable with, and we promise to read and seriously consider them.

September Guest: Kveik with Lars Marius Garshol

At our July meeting we announced that Lars Marius Garshol (of Larsblog) will be attending our September club meeting (Sept 9th). He’ll be in town for Escarpment’s Kveikstokk on Sept 10th, and agreed to come check out our club meeting and taste some homebrewed kveik beers!

Escarpment Labs‘ Richard Preiss will also be in attendance, making this a double Kveik whammy! As many of you know Richard has been a huge proponent of kveik, and have driven significant research into this exciting family of yeast.

Lars is responsible for the popularizing this workhorse yeast in the home and craft brewing world. This article from Good Beer Hunting does an excellent job telling the story about how Lars documented and popularized Kveik yeast.

Continue reading September Guest: Kveik with Lars Marius Garshol

HomebrewCon 2019 – Recap

Another fantastic year at HomebrewCon came to a close last week, so I thought I would put together a recap post.

This was my fifth year attending and every year feels fresh. Endless opportunity to:
– Learn from dozens of seminars
– Collect swag/ingredients
– Network with homebrew industry suppliers
– Meet and chat (and maybe even share a meal) with your homebrew heroes
– Judge among the best BJCP judges at NHC Final Round
– Make new homebrew friends
– Taste incredible homebrewed beer (& mead/cider)
– Get inspired by other clubs at Club Night

Continue reading HomebrewCon 2019 – Recap

Announcing Learn2Brew for Canadian Homebrew Day 2019 – June 1st

June 1st, 2019 marks the first annual Canadian Homebrew Day! To celebrate, we have moved our annual public Learn2Brew event up from the fall to coincide with this new holiday.

Learn2Brew is a multi-site event where GTA Brews club members share their love of the hobby by demonstrating the brewing process at their local brewery taproom. The goal is to help demystify the brewing process and convince craft beer enthusiasts to give the hobby a try.

Visit the Learn2Brew page for full details of the event including the partner brewery addresses, and list of participating local homebrewers.

GTA Brews presents Last Brewer Standing

So you’ve heard the rumblings, the mumblings and grumblings. Or maybe you haven’t. GTA Brews is introducing a NEW* style of competition. One so rad, kewl, fetch (to hell with Regina George), neato, etc, that you will have no choice but to sign up in droves**. What am I talking about? Last Brewer Standing, of course! (In case you didn’t read the title) Continue reading GTA Brews presents Last Brewer Standing

Announcing Brew Slam 2017 – Homebrew Competition

Click Here to go to the main competition page.

Press Release

August 29th – Toronto, ON

GTA Brews is excited to announce our third annual, nation-wide, homebrew competition for beer, mead, and cider; Brew Slam 2017 (#BrewSlam)! This is an AHA/BJCP sanctioned competition, and also part of the Canadian Brewer of the Year circuit. Judging will be performed by BJCP ranked judges and pro brewers, using the BJCP 2015 Guidelines.

Entry Deadline: Nov 4th, 2017
Judging: Nov 10th – 12th @ Amsterdam Brewery
Awards Ceremony: Nov 18th @ Henderson Brewing Company

Styles Accepted: All BJCP Beer/Mead/Cider styles
Entry limits: 1 entry per classic style subcategory (1-26, C1, M1).  2 entries per specialty category (21B, 27-34, C2, M2-M4), must be different beers. Max 15 entries per person.

Account registration is open now! Visit the Brew Slam page for details on rules, prizes, and more!

About Brew Slam 2017

This will be our 3rd year running this competition, and we’re excited to make it even better. Last year we had; 689 entries (117% increase over 2015), avg flight of only 8.67 entries/pair, 52 judges, 22 stewards, entries from 9/10 Canadian provinces, and over $7,000 in prizes. This year, we expect to become the largest homebrew competition in Canada.

About GTA Brews

We are Toronto’s local, as well as Canada’s largest, homebrew club. Since establishing in 2013, we have worked to strengthen and grow the homebrewing community through education, events, competitions, and camaraderie. 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.

BJCP Exam Prep Tips from Eric

Online Exam Tips

Tasting Exam Prep Tips

Tasting Exam Outline

  • Exam consists of writing scoresheets for 6 beers, with 15 mins given per beer
  • Bring mechanical pencil, erasers, and other writing items you want
  • Only basic calculators can be used, no smartphone apps
  • This is a closed book exam, referring of the guidelines is not allowed
  • The exam only covers categories 1-26, specialty categories are not included
  • Be prepared to write neatly and firmly to ensure the graders can read your writing clearly when scanned, also do not write to the edges or on the back of the pages

Grain Buy – Spring 2017

The GTA Brews Spring 2017 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! Don’t forget, now they deliver your online order to breweries all over Toronto for FREE!

All questions should be emailed to grainbuy@gtabrews.ca

Key Dates

Sign Up Open: Saturday Apr 29th, 2017
Sign Up Close: Thursday, May 18th, 2017 (11:59 pm)
Payment Deadline: Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017 (11:59 pm)
Split Date: Friday, Jun 2nd, 2017
Main Pick Up Date: Saturday Jun 3rd, 2017 (10:30 am – 1:30 pm) Continue reading Grain Buy – Spring 2017

Brew Slam 2016 – Wrap Up

Brew Slam 2016 Awards wrapped up just over a week ago, results have been announced, scoresheets were posted, and prizes will be mailed (and emailed) out soon. I think it’s safe to finally start writing this wrap up post after what seems like almost a whole year of prep!

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Some notable accomplishments and improvements we made this year:

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 grainbuy@gtabrews.ca

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, Continue reading Fall 2016 Grain Buy