Category Archives: Community

Member Profile: Matti Cowan

Matti Cowan

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I’m both an entrepreneur (Silly Sir Brewing Co.) and a supply teacher with the TDSB. It’s perfect because affords me lots of flexibility to simultaneously (attempt to) run a business.

What got you into homebrewing?

I started homebrewing in the winter of 2015 with a homebrewing kit from Magnotta (really just prepared wort in a bag, and a packet of dry yeast). I was just bored, I think. I was probably seasonally depressed. My first beer was an Irish red ale, which despite being over-carbonated, tasted pretty good. I quickly graduated to all grain brewing after a couple extract batches, and have been hooked ever since. My love stems from the blend of art and respect for science that’s required in brewing.

Continue reading Member Profile: Matti Cowan

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

Member Profile: Colin Green

Colin Green

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I’ve been working for the LCBO in retail since 2008, coincidentally I am the beer ambassador at my location.

What got you into homebrewing?

I’ve always had an interest in beer, and wanted to learn more about it beyond the very limited amount we are taught by my employer. It wasn’t until I was at a stag/doe party where one of the raffle prizes was a Brooklyn Brewshop 1 gallon kit. When I saw it I had that “Aha!” moment, and tried to win it. My friends grandmother ended up winning it, and I had a feeeeeeeling she wouldn’t be using it anytime soon, so I went over and bought it off her and brewed it the following week. She drives a hard bargain though, I wasn’t getting it off of her for cheap.

Continue reading Member Profile: Colin Green

Member Profile: Kieth Caines


Kieth Caines

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

Spent 35 years in the Office furniture industry, Since 2014 I’ve been working with SceneAereo Aerial Photography, we’ve done some very interesting projects over the last year including commercial real estate, construction site progress and building thermal inspections.

What got you into homebrewing?

Started making wine, getting my juice from Magnotta.
Saw their beer wort kits tried a couple of those then discovered all grain and haven’t looked back.

Continue reading Member Profile: Kieth Caines

Help Support the Modernization of Ontario Homebrewing Regulations

GTA Brews is calling for every Ontario homebrewer to join us in asking the Government of Ontario to modernize the framework regulating the consumption of homebrew at events. Homebrew clubs sit at the center of the homebrewing community, and modernization of homebrewing regulation would enable them to continue to grow the hobby in Ontario.

Over the years we have run into many hurdles while planning homebrewing focused events. We have compiled a list of issues we see with the current framework, and elaborated them in the form of a letter. We are asking Ontario homebrewers to send this letter to their MPP, and cc the Minister of Finance. This will show the Government of Ontario that the citizens of our province want to see this included in their plan to modernize the Alcohol Industry.

Cheers, and thanks in advance for your help!

Eric Cousineau
President, GTA Brews

If you have any questions or comments about this letter, please email info@gtabrews.ca

How To Help

Step 1) Find Your Local MPP
– Use this tool to find your local MPP using Postal Code

Step 2) Create a new email draft with subject:
Request for Modernized Homebrewing Regulations in Ontario

Step 3) Address the email to
• Your local MPP (from step 1)
• cc/ Finance Minister Vic Fedeli (vic.fedeli@pc.ola.org)

Step 4) Copy and paste the letter below then
• Replace [*Local MPP*] with the name of you local MPP
• Replace [*Sender Name*] with your first and last name

Step 5) Send the email, and pass this along to your homebrew friends!

Letter to Your MPP

Dear [*Local MPP*],

The Government of Ontario is currently consulting with the public on opportunities to modernize the rules for the sale and consumption of alcohol. I support the general intent of modernizing a highly regulated sector, however I wanted to express my desire to see some targeted modernization efforts for the consumption of homebrewed beer.

Continue reading Help Support the Modernization of Ontario Homebrewing Regulations

Announcing Brew Slam 2018 – Homebrew Competition

Click Here to go to the main competition page.

Press Release

August 10th, 2018 – Toronto, ON

GTA Brews is excited to announce our fourth annual, nation-wide, homebrew competition for beer, mead, and cider; Brew Slam 2018 (#BrewSlam)!

Last year saw 804 entries, from 8/10 provinces, judged by 73 judges, over just 3 days, making this the largest homebrew competition in country!

This is an AHA/BJCP sanctioned competition, and also part of the Canadian Brewer of the Year circuit. The judging will take place at Amsterdam Brewery (Leaside) from Nov 9th to 11th. Judging will be performed by BJCP ranked judges and Continue reading Announcing Brew Slam 2018 – Homebrew Competition

May Meeting: Jamie Mistry of Common Good Beer Company Plus Discussion Panel

Monday 14 May at 7:00 PM
Muddy York Brewing Co.
22 Cranfield Road, Toronto, Ontario, M4B 3H1  MAP

For this meeting we’re going to try something new in lieu of having a second presentation. Based on a topic chosen in a poll on the website, the meeting will have a panel discussion/Q&A involving selected members from the crowd interested in sharing their knowledge and opinions. Based on where the poll is at right now it looks like we’ll be discussing session/low ABV brewing, so if you’re passionate and experienced with that sort of thing please feel free to volunteer to be on the panel! And if you’re interested in something else, there’s still time to vote!

This month’s meeting is at Muddy York Brewing Co. and our special guest, Jamie Mistry of the Common Good Beer Company, will also be there to answer any of your questions about contract brewing. Continue reading May Meeting: Jamie Mistry of Common Good Beer Company Plus Discussion Panel

April Meeting: Kettle Souring & Craft Malting

After a record attendance and an incredibly informative March meeting, we knew we had a hard act to follow.  Well beer geeks, we think we’ve done it. We’re very lucky to have not one, but two great guest speakers and presenters:

Continue reading April Meeting: Kettle Souring & Craft Malting

Competitions Update

GTA Brews members represented us well in the Lethbridge Werthogs WertContest, the latest Brewer of the Year Circuit competition. Clayton Hoy took home Gold in British Bitter/Scottish Beers for his Strong Bitter named “This Used To Be Good”. Mike Vandervoort took home silver in American Pale Ale, Bronze in Specialty IPA and Gold in IPA. That IPA also claimed second in the Best of Show.

Continue reading Competitions Update

GTA Brews Brings Home the Bling from Cowtown

Congratulations to the following GTA Brews Members that won medals at the Cowtown Yeast Wranglers Homebrew Roundup 2018:

  • Mike Vandervoot, Best of Show 4th place for his American IPA, “Mosaic IPA”
  • Mike Vandervoot, 1st place in American IPA category, again for his “Mosaic IPA”
  • Iain Robertson with co-brewer Shawn Ruff, 3rd place in Dark Lager and Amber Hybrid for their entry, “What Is A Schwarzbier?”
  • Clayton Hoy, 1st place in the Bock category for his Eisbock, “Eis Eis Bockby”

And a special mention for first time winner:

  • Emery Soos, with a 3rd place win in the Scottish and Irish Ale category with his Irish Red: “Kiss My Red Blarney”

Congratulations to all of you for doing us proud!

Did you know that GTA Brews will ship your entry for free for select competitions? Click here for more information

Member Profile: Mike Vandervoort

Mike Vandervoort

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I am a Police Officer with Toronto Police Service and am currently working in the Jane and Finch community. Don’t let the media scare you it is actually a great community and I really enjoy working there.

What got you into homebrewing?

I did a university exchange to the Netherlands for a year. Every Friday (ok, maybe Thursday and Saturday too), a group of us would each purchase different beers from around Europe. I attempted to start that here with a group of friends when I got back and one said, “Hey, why don’t we make it?” Enough said.

Continue reading Member Profile: Mike Vandervoort

Brew Slam 2017 – Wrap Up

Brew Slam 2017 is finally wrapped up after almost a whole year of planning, and a ton of execution. What a year! The last of the prizes made their way into the hands of our winners this week, so it’s finally time to write my annual wrap up post. With 806 entries judged, I’m very proud to say that we met and exceeded our goal for 2017 of becoming Canada’s largest homebrew competition (by almost 300 entries)!

Saturday morning judging

The judging and awards for Brew Slam 2017 happened back in November, but we’ve been hard at work since then making sure that everyone got their prizes as fast as we could. Don’t stop reading now because some pretty amazing things happened this year that I want to share.
Continue reading Brew Slam 2017 – Wrap Up

Learn2Brew 2017 Recap

This past weekend saw Toronto’s 9th annual #Learn2Brew event, with both east and west locations again this year! One change we tried this year is moving it to September, during Toronto Beer Week (TBW), to take advantage of the warmer weather.

Huge gratitude to our generous hosts Rainhard Brewing Company, and Common Good Beer Co. This event wouldn’t be possible without local breweries like these two that support the homebrewing hobby.

Learn2Brew is an event where a half dozen brewers set up and demonstrate the brewing process. We invite the public to come in, learn about homebrewing, and hopefully get inspired to join this wonderful hobby. Here’s a smattering of pictures to give you an idea Continue reading Learn2Brew 2017 Recap

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.

Member Profile: Kat Goodale

kat-at-weihenstephan

Kat Goodale

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I was a computer studies teacher at a girl’s school for 12 years, but made a career change in 2013. I was accepted into the Brewmaster program at Niagara College, and am now a brewer at Magnotta Brewery in Vaughan.

What got you into homebrewing?

My dad! He’d been homebrewing on and off since the 1985 beer strike, and we helped by bottling. I inherited his bottle capper, which is still as much of a PITA to use now as it was then.

Continue reading Member Profile: Kat Goodale

Member Profile: Jon Mains

2016-09-23-21-41-14

Jon Mains

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I’m a businessman. I work as a financial analyst at a kitchen cabinet manufacturer, crunching numbers, financial statements, spreadsheets, graphs, charts, Excel baby!

What got you into homebrewing?

Some combination of unemployment, curiosity, frugality, education, and entrepreneurial aspirations. I had recently completed my Master of Business at U.B.C. in Vancouver, and had a lot of spare time while job hunting. As someone who loves craft beer and cooking, I figured I could probably brew up a decent batch myself while simultaneously saving money! By the way, I’ve yet to save any money making my own beer, the equipment is expensive!

I started reading every book I could get my hands on and anything I could find on web forums. With an undergraduate degree in Biology, the science of brewing came quickly and easily, that’s when the same thought crossed my mind that crosses every homebrewer’s mind, “Why not start a brewery?!” Continue reading Member Profile: Jon Mains

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!

img_20161001_125947

Some notable accomplishments and improvements we made this year:

Member Profile: Geof Traill

 

geof_traill_profile

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_profile"

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!

2016membershipdrive

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 Continue reading Membership Drive for the 2016-2017 Season

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.

Member Profile: Andrew Kotowick

This is a new feature we are introducing on our club blog. We will periodically profile some of our club members to help build our sense of community and also to help people get to know each other more. If you would like to volunteer to be profiled please email gtabrews@gmail.com!

*Note from Eric: Andrew is our VP Communications, and also runs our social media. I’m glad he agreed to be our first club member profiled!

Andrew Kotowick

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

For about 10 years I worked in the Casino Gaming industry. I’ve worked at a bunch of casinos around the province and I Continue reading Member Profile: Andrew Kotowick

Toronto Big Brew for National Homebrew Day – May 7th

Presented by GTA Brews and Lansdowne Brewery.

Lansdowne

“In 1988, May 7 was announced before [US] Congress as National Homebrew Day. The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) created AHA Big Brew as an annual event to celebrate National Homebrew Day around the world. AHA Big Brew is held each year on the first Saturday in May.” – The American Homebrewers Association

This event is an AHA registered Big Brew for National Homebrew Day Event.

Homebrew clubs around the USA and around the world celebrate National Homebrew Day differently. Our club has decided to celebrate it by partnering with a great local brewery, Lansdowne Brewery at 303 Lansdowne Ave.

On Saturday May 7th, we will collaboratively brew a 10 bbl batch of wort and split it among 50 club members to take home for a fee of $10 each (to cover the costs of the wort and competition). You can straight up ferment the wort as is, or Continue reading Toronto Big Brew for National Homebrew Day – May 7th

2015 Wrap Up – What A Year!

2015 was a busy year for our club! With 2016 now upon us it’s a great excuse to reflect back at what we accomplished together! It’s also a great time to look forward to the year ahead!

Cask Days 2015
GTA Brews Club Members at Cask Days 2015 – photo by Ken Woods

Brew Slam and Summer Showdown

The first thing that comes to mind, is the huge success that was Brew Slam 2015. Our club put together a big competition from scratch this year. Starting Continue reading 2015 Wrap Up – What A Year!

GTA Brews Fall 2015 Grain Buy

The GTA Brews Fall 2015 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!

Key Dates

Sign Up Open: Tuesday, Oct 13th, 2015
Sign Up Close: Tuesday, Oct 27th, 2015 (11:59 pm)
Payment Deadline: Tuesday Nov 3rd, 2015 (11:59 pm)
Split Date: Friday Nov 13th, 2015
Main Pick Up Date: Saturday Nov 14th, 2015 (10:30 am – 1:30 pm) Continue reading GTA Brews Fall 2015 Grain Buy

Brew Slam 2015 Wrap Up

12094969_10100985846529330_1334500711766583317_o

Brew Slam 2015 judging and awards wrapped up last weekend and it was quite a whirlwind of activity. If you haven’t noticed yet, results from Brew Slam 2015 have been posted to the site. We ended up with 318 entries, 31 judges, and 9 stewards over both days of judging. Pretty great turnout for a first year competition!

PDF version of Brew Slam 2015 Results

Congratulations to everyone that placed in the competition. We already distributed many Continue reading Brew Slam 2015 Wrap Up

The Toronto Homebrew Scene

What is it like to be a homebrewer in Toronto?

Pretty awesome actually.

Ontario, and Toronto in particular, is currently experiencing a renaissance in homebrew retail, and public interest. There are countless new homebrewers buying starter kits every day, just ask the local homebrew shops (LHBS). This is definitely related to the exponential growth that craft beer in Toronto has experienced in recent years. People have been Continue reading The Toronto Homebrew Scene

Welcome – Join our Facebook Group!

Welcome to the homepage for GTA Brews. This page serves as an central location for items that would get lost on our Facebook Group, and to host our competition software. All of our groups discussions happen on our Facebook Group, so don’t miss out and join today!

Join us at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GTA.Brews/ 

*We have Club Meetings on the 2nd Monday of each month, for Paid Members. Check our Events Calendar for more happenings. Hope to see you soon!