All posts by GTA Brews

2020 GTA Brews Advent Calendar

Exchange Date: Sat. November 28th, 2020Exchange Location(s): James' House (Riverdale)Participation Fee: $10

The Annual GTA Brews Advent Calendar is back for the 7th year in a row! On Saturday ...

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Black is Beautiful: Homebrewers Against Racial Injustice (Final Update)

Over the years, GTA Brews hasn’t really taken an active role in advocating for diversity in the homebrewing community. We’ve mostly taken a passive approach by trying to remove barriers that may hinder a feeling of inclusion for women and racial minorities. The vast majority of our club leadership is composed of white men, and in the past we didn’t feel like it was our place to speak out.

After witnessing the racial injustices that have been brought to light over the past few weeks, we have decided we can no longer be passive on this matter. We are ready to help in the fight for real change.

Black is Beautiful is an initiative founded by Weathered Souls Brewing in San Antonio, TX. This initiative is mainly focused at craft breweries and beer drinkers, and encourages them to collaborate in raising awareness and funds for local charities fighting against racial injustice. The initiative is centered around a single stout base recipe, and each participant is encouraged to put their own creative spin on it.

Chosen Charity: CAFCAN

CAFCAN is a registered charitable organization whose primary focus is on building and strengthening the service framework for African Canadian children, youth and families through culturally safe individual and group counselling supports, case management services, employment services, youth mentorship, and youth outreach programs.

Donate Here

How We Will Help

As a homebrew club, we don’t sell beer, so we aren’t able to dedicate a certain portion of each bottle sold. Instead, we will do the following:

  • Raise awareness for a local charity (CAFCAN) focused on the black community
  • GTA Brews will donate $10 for each member that brews the Black is Beautiful recipe
  • GTA Brews will match member donations to CafCan, up to $1000 total

As a small, non-profit, membership based organization, we don’t have deep pockets, so this $1000 is a considerable part of our bank account. Brew and/or donate before July 31st to qualify!

Update: Our good friend Toronto Brewing has joined the initiative, and will match what the club donates. This means that for every dollar donated, it gets multiplied by 3!

Final Amount Raised:

$2965

  • Batches Brewed by Members: 16
  • Member Donations: $965
  • Club Donation: $1000
  • Toronto Brewing Donation: $1000

How to Participate

To make a difference, we need the help of you, our club members! We need you to brew the beer, and we need you to consider making a monetary donation if you are able.

  • Donation: Please email proof to info@gtabrews.ca, the club will match your donation
  • Brew the Beer: Please notify info@gtabrews.ca after brew day, and we will donate $10

The Recipe:

Weathered Souls said it best:

Continue reading Black is Beautiful: Homebrewers Against Racial Injustice (Final Update)

Canadian Homebrew Day 2020: Virtual Group Brew

Due to COVID-19, our annual Canadian Homebrew Day tradition of running Learn2Brew has been cancelled. We still wanted to celebrate Canadian Homebrew Day, so we’re excited to announce we’ve organized a virtual group brew session on Zoom!

Join On Zoom (link)
Password: GTA_Brews
Date: Sunday June 7th, 2020
Time: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Note: This will take the place of our June club meeting

Hosts: David Chang-Sang and Eric Cousineau will be hosting the virtual brew session

  • David will be brewing a Munich Dunkel
  • Eric will be catching up on bottling some mead and kegging some beers

We were pleased to see lots of interest when we shared the plan on our Facebook Discussion Group a few days ago. We’re expecting at least 5 others to join the virtual brew session while brewing, so this will be a sort of virtual Learn2Brew!

April Club Update

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to require us to practice social distancing, so we will continue to postpone or go virtual with club gatherings until it is safe to return to normal.

This means we will not be able to host the hop split in April. We are still planning to split and distribute our hops as soon as it is safe to do so, and the hops are still safe and sound in the freezer at the suppliers. We don’t have any update about the May BJCP Tasting Exam or Learn2Brew yet.

In the meantime please continue to support our local homebrew shops during this difficult time. Toronto Brewing is online only at the moment, and is shipping orders as fast as they can. Homebrew Beer Academy is accepting online orders and allowing no contact pick up, and also doing drop off in parts of the GTA.

Please also continue to support our local breweries. So many of them have supported the club over the year, and the closure of bars, restaurants, and taprooms has a big impact on them. Most of them are offering online orders or local drop off, so if you can, please support them in this time of need.

David Chang-Sang has been hosting weekly (or more) Zoom hangouts with to provide a social outlet to discuss beer and other things. Keep your eyes on the Facebook Discussion Group for those. Our Social FB Chat has also been fairly active, feel free to join that if you want to hang out!

April Meeting: Cory Day Spills His Secrets

Monday April 20th at 7:30 PM
ZOOM Meeting (Online)

Due to the COVID-19 virus, we will be conducting this month’s meeting virtually over Zoom. We are thankful that we are still able to provide a strong educational component in the form of this month’s presentation.

This is our first time hosting a virtual homebrew club meeting, 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 April Meeting: Cory Day Spills His Secrets

COVID-19: Spring Event Schedule Adjustments

Dear GTA Brews Members,

Out of an abundance of caution of the ongoing COVID-19 / CoronaVirus pandemic, the GTA Brews Board of Directors have decided that it is prudent to re-examine and adjust our schedule of spring events.

Hop Buy Postponed

Hop Buy participants have already been notified that it has been postponed from the original date of Sunday March 22nd. We will announce a new date for in a few weeks, but we are aiming for mid-late April, depending on how the virus situation develops.

The hops will stay fresh in the freezer at the supplier, so we don’t lose anything by postponing. The cider part of the hop buy will not be postponed since it has already been pressed, frozen, and delivered to our temporary holding location (The Homebrew Beer Academy). Instructions will be sent to people that purchased cider once we work out the details.

Club BOTY Entry Shipping On Hold

(Updated March 16th, 2020)

The situation has continued to escalate, and many local businesses have closed, including our drop off locations. We felt it wasn’t appropriate to ask any new drop off locations so we have decided that we will put a hold on club shipping until further notice.

This includes the ALES Open shipping deadline that was set for March 21st. We will refund any shipping fees that have been paid to the club. At the moment ALES is proceeding with their competition, and not offering to refund entry fees. We hope they will change their mind, but this is outside the control of the club. If you would still like to enter the competition, you will need to manage your own shipping for the time being.

We will re-evaluate entry shipping for later comps in a few weeks.

Grain Buy Postponed

Due to the Hop Buy being pushed back to April, we are pushing the Grain Buy back to May. We were almost ready to launch the sign up, but will now hold off until a new pick up date in mid-late May can be solidified.

April Club Meeting

The April meeting is currently scheduled for Monday April 20th, due to Easter Monday falling on our traditional 2nd Monday of the month. At this time there are no changes planned for this event.

Spring Showdown Cancelled

Our annual Spring Showdown competition was in the initial planning stages to take place in early May, but we have decided to cancel the competition. With the Grain Buy moving back to May, and the uncertainty around additional event schedule changes that may be needed, we felt this was the best choice we could make.

Planning and running homebrew competitions is one of the most effort intensive things we undertake as a club. Given the evolving virus situation, and the other events that have moved back, we didn’t feel we could still put together the kind of competition we want to run.

We would like to thank The Homebrew Beer Academy for offering to come in as our title sponsor for Spring Showdown this year. This gesture is very much appreciated, and we hope our members will appreciate it as well.

If the opportunity arises we may consider running another competition in the early summer. However it is just as likely that we may decide it is wise to focus our efforts on Brew Slam instead.

BJCP Beer Judging Exam in May

There is a BJCP Beer Judging Exam scheduled for Saturday May 23rd. At this time we aren’t planning any changes to this event.

Learn2Brew for Canadian Homebrew Day

Canadian Homebrew Day is scheduled for Sunday June 7th, 2020. Due to the static nature of the national date, we are planning to stay the course on planning this event. We are looking to run another multi-site Learn2Brew again this year.


Thank you for your understanding, we hope you can appreciate that these changes are the responsible direction to go. The health and safety of our members is important to us, and we felt that postponing our events would limit unnecessary exposure to others during our busy events.

One last note; please support our local breweries and businesses in these uncertain times. As more people are electing to stay in, our local breweries and homebrew shops will undoubtedly see a reduction in foot traffic through their doors. Please consider buying some beer to drink at home from their retail shops, or even from their online stores.

Thanks again for reading this letter! We are sending our best wishes of happiness and health to each of you, and your families.

Cheers,
GTA Brews Board of Directors

(Eric Cousineau, Bear Alberico, Jim Bruce, Rob Towle, David Larocque)

March Meeting: IPAs. All of them.

Monday February 10th at 7:00 PM
Muddy York Brewing Co.
22 Cranfield Road, Toronto, Ontario, M4B 3H1  MAP

This month we have four exciting meeting elements!

    • Homebrew Bottle Swap
    • Structured Tasting *New Format*
    • Style of the Month: IPA
      • Presented by: Emily Storey
    • IPA Recipe Formulation with Mike Vandervoort

      • Come with questions!

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 March Meeting: IPAs. All of them.

Merch Order for Hop Buy 2020

If you haven’t checked out the club Swag Shop recently, you are missing out! We’ve got a bunch of club branded items available for order, some of them are even listed at new SALE prices! We also have a new shirt, see below!

2019 Club of the Year Shirt!

Update: Club of the Year shirt pre-order closes March 4th!

To celebrate our club’s historic victory on the Brewer of the Year (BOTY) circuit last year, we have designed a commemorative shirt! Pre-order now, then these shirts will be available for pick up on Hop Buy pick up day (Mar 22nd)!

Last Call for Brew Slam and Club Logo Shirts!

Not listed in the Swag Shop is our last stock of Brew Slam and Club Logo shirts. If you missed out on these shirts, order now to snag the last ones! Here’s the stock for these are time of publish:

Brew Slam 2019 – Award Ceremony Photos

As promised here are the medal winner photos we took at this year’s Brew Slam Awards Party! A full wrap up post is still in the pipeline, but hopefully these will stave off those that are getting antsy!

Big thanks to David Chang-Sang for taking these photos of our winners as they are awarded their medals!

December Meeting: Holiday Gathering

Monday December 9th at 7:00 PM
People’s Pint Brewing Company
90 Cawthra Ave, Unit #101, Toronto, Ontario, M6N 3C2  MAP

This month come hang out, swap homebrews, and mingle!

This December we are being hosted by People’s Pint Brewing Company. Thanks for hosting us! We request that everyone spend some money to support our wonderful host. They have plenty of beer-to-go in their bottle shop!

Continue reading December Meeting: Holiday Gathering

Brew Slam 2019 – Entry Registration is 7 Days Away!

Visit this page for the full details: gtabrews.ca/brew-slam/

[BREW SLAM 2019 – Toronto, ON]

Entry Registration Opens: Sept 25th, 2019
Entry Deadline: Nov 2nd, 2019
Judging Dates: Nov 8th – 10th, 2019

Entry Limits:

  • Total cap of 850 PAID entries
  • Per-entrant caps: 2 pp for Sept 25 – Oct 2, then up to 6 pp starting Oct 3

ENTRY REGISTRATION FOR BREW SLAM 2019 (#BREWSLAM) IS 7 DAYS AWAY, SO IT’S TIME TO SHIFT GEARS AND GET READY!

GTA Brews is excited is excited to build on last year’s massive success which saw 826 entries, from 191 entrants, in 8/10 provinces, judged by 75 judges, over just 3 days, making this the largest homebrew competition in Canada! We are ecstatic to have John Palmer attending as our guest of honour (Nov 8-10) to help ring in our 5th year!

This is a BJCP sanctioned competition, and also part of the Canadian Brewer of the Year (BOTY) circuit. The judging will take place at Amsterdam Brewery (Leaside) from Nov 8th to 10th. Judging will be performed by BJCP ranked judges and pro brewers, using the BJCP 2015 Guidelines and Provisional Styles.

OUR COMPETITION RULES HAVE BEEN UPDATED TO ALLOW MORE PEOPLE TO ENTER

This year we have implemented a few changes to the structure of the competition in order to encourage more entrants:

  • The total cap has been moved to PAID entries, rather than registered entries
  • The per-entrant cap is staggered to allow prospective entrants a full week opportunity to register at the lower cap

Announcing Brew Slam 2019 – Homebrew Competition

Click Here to go to the main competition page.

Press Release

August 26th, 2019 – Toronto, ON

Inquiries about Brew Slam 2019 should be sent to: comp@gtabrews.ca

GTA Brews is excited to announce our fifth annual, nation-wide, homebrew competition for beer, mead, and cider; Brew Slam 2019 (#BrewSlam)! We are excited to build on last year’s massive success which saw 826 entries, from 191 entrants, in 8/10 provinces, judged by 75 judges, over just 3 days, making this the largest homebrew competition in Canada! We are ecstatic to have John Palmer attending as our guest of honour (Nov 8-10) to help ring in our 5th year!

This is a BJCP sanctioned competition, and also part of the Canadian Brewer of the Year (BOTY) circuit. The judging will take place at Amsterdam Brewery (Leaside) from Nov 8th to 10th. Judging will be performed by BJCP ranked judges and pro brewers, using the BJCP 2015 Guidelines and Provisional Styles.

Continue reading Announcing Brew Slam 2019 – Homebrew Competition

July Meeting: Brewing by the Numbers with Emily Storey

Monday July 8th at 7:00 PM
Muddy York Brewing Co.
22 Cranfield Road, Toronto, Ontario, M4B 3H1  MAP

This month we have four exciting meeting elements!

    • Presentation: Brewing by the Numbers by Emily Storey
      • A presentation breaking down entry statistics from Brew Slam 2018
    • Guest: Kathy Yan Li will discuss the new Canadian Homebrewers Association
    • 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 July Meeting: Brewing by the Numbers with Emily Storey