Category Archives: Member Profile

Member Profile: Kym Watts

Kym Watts

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

My day job is a Senior Pipeline Technical director. Outside of the animation and VFX industry this is a mix of a solutions architect or automation software engineer.

What got you into homebrewing?

My grand father was brewing from coopers tins in the late 90’s, I helped with a couple of batches, i was too young to enjoy beer, so I was just a helper. Brewed some more coopers tins with some roommates in our laundry room. 

Ended up having to move to Canada for work, after a couple of years of moving cities, found good work in Toronto, ended out moving down the road from a fairly prolific brewer who got me more into brewing. Started with partial extract and moved to all grain. So really got my feet drenched in 2010 and been at it since.

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Member Profile: Wuilmer Venegas

Wuilmer Venegas

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I am a computer engineer working as an SAP Business One functional consultant. My job involves the implementation of software throughout all stages of the project. In summary, it's a mix of consulting, software design, and support.

What got you into homebrewing?

I always had a curiosity about brewing beer but didn't have the drive to do it. Then, during the early months of the pandemic with all the confinement and loss of a family member, I needed a distraction and a new hobby. My wife gave me an online tasting and a beer-making event. Unfortunately, the event was canceled, so I thought, "I have plenty of time, why not buy the supplies and give it a try?" I started watching YouTube videos to understand the materials needed, realized there were various methods, and chose the one I considered the simplest – using extract. After enjoying the process with extract, I wanted to try the full process, so I bought a basic all-grain kit.

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Member Profile: Dan Mills

 Dan Mills

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I have a degree in survey engineering and specializes in forensic measurements….long winded and technical way of saying that I take accurate measurements from photos and videos for use in legal cases.

What got you into homebrewing?

I have always loved procedural, technical and process driven things…(see occupation 😊 ). The process of making beer falls squarely into that. I had thoughts of opening a brewery, as many of us have had, and decided working on some recipes that the first step. I have given up the dream of a brewery for the time being but still am working on brewing and recipes.

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Member Profile: Cory Fletcher

Cory Fletcher

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

Mechanical Engineer for various types of large buildings. Think mechanical design of HVAC, plumbing, storm, sanitary, gas, fire protection systems, etc.

What got you into homebrewing?

I stumbled upon a ‘howtobrew’ website one day in 2018 and couldn’t stop reading. Shortly after, I attended an in-person how-to-brew session at Toronto Brewing, and a love for the hobby was born.

Continue reading Member Profile: Cory Fletcher

Member Profile: Shane Schlesinger

Shane Schlesinger

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I’m a high school science teacher with a background in Biology.

What got you into homebrewing?

Gigging in bands over the years at beer festivals and gastropubs introduced me to the more mainstream craft breweries, as well as a variety of European styles. I actually played in a band with Zack Weinberg many years ago around the time he was just starting up Toronto Brewing – he used to bring homebrew to rehearsals, which put the idea of brewing one day in the back of my mind. Years later when my wife and I started dating, she introduced me to a lot of great local craft beer and got me hooked. Not long after, she bought me a one-gallon Brooklyn Brewshop homebrew kit as a Chrismukkah gift. I brewed a couple of batches, loved the process, and I have been brewing ever since.

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Member Profile: Josh Davis

Josh Davis

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I'm a Chemical Engineer that works in Technical Sales selling adhesives and tapes. Structural acrylics, double-sided tapes, hotmelts... anything sticky.

What got you into homebrewing?

Like most kids in university, my beer drinking capacity was limited only by my (very minimal) budget. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and brew beer myself to save some dollars at the Beer Store. This egregious use of the shared kitchen in our student housing really pissed off my female roommates, and also didn't save me any money. But it did generate enough passably drinkable beer to fuel many beer pong tournaments, it ignited some interesting conversations, and it kicked me down the long, rewarding rabbit hole that is the art & science of fermentation.

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Member Profile: Xander Smith

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I work in film, TV and commercial production. I work as a lighting technician (ie. gaffer, electric, key grip, best boy (akg). I am currently working on a union film tv production here in the city, called Beacon 23.
I am also a partner in a video game company working as a Dev on level, character and story design.

What got you into homebrewing?

I worked as a line cook in a bier market that opened up in Etobicoke. I was exposed to a lot of craft beer and Belgian trappist beer. I underwent the first level of Prud'homme training, but unfortunately the company didn't file it properly (so I have to redo it). Soon after I bought myself a 1 gallon beer kit that I failed miserably at. About a year later, my friend who moved to Australia gave me his 5 gallon home brew kit, it worked out and I’ve been brewing ever since.

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Member Profile: Aaron Van Gramberg

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.

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Member Profile: Luke Van Oort

Luke Van Oort

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

Software engineering at Wave Financial working on our small business banking offerings.

What got you into homebrewing?

The short answer is mirin and Merit SVP.

The long answer is that I made a bit of wine in university and helped my then-roommate Jesse with his meadmaking for a while (some members might remember Jesse’s excellent bochet from the bottles he was wandering around with at the Brew Slam 2019 award ceremony), but I only really got into homebrewing seriously was when I got frustrated with the poor availability of hon-mirin in Ontario and started making choujiu (a Chinese style of rice wine that’s sort of like nigori sake) in the hopes of eventually being able to make a decent substitute. Eventually I progressed into also making fruit wines for turning into vinegar, but I held off on beer due to the equipment requirements.

Luckily, I eventually stumbled upon Lars Marius Garshol’s blog and realized that I could adapt some of the techniques and ingredients that Norwegian farmhouse brewers were using to allow me to brew beer in my condo with absolutely minimal equipment. The final kick to start was having Merit SVP and wishing that I could have something that was similarly low ABV, complex, and quaffable available to drink without having to make my way to Hamilton to acquire it.

I haven’t really chased the SVP flavour profile consciously since my first few brews, but when I brought a can of it home from the Toronto Brewing bottle shop earlier this year, my girlfriend commented that she could taste a definite common thread between it and a lot of the things I brew, so perhaps it made a greater impact than I thought!

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Member Profile: Guillaume Couture-Lévesque

Guillaume Couture-Lévesque

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I'm a tech lead at Prodigy Game, where I work on making tools for people making the game that teaches kids math.

What got you into homebrewing?

A friend bought me John Palmer's How To Brew, and Beer and Philosophy for my birthday saying I might like it. Read both books and learned a lot, but then did nothing until my wife bought me one of the Brooklyn Brew Shop 1 gallon kits. I had fun and kept at it after that.

Continue reading Member Profile: Guillaume Couture-Lévesque

Member Profile: Tina Lineman

Tina Lineman

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I am the General Manager at Folly Brewpub! We were recently purchased by new owners and have undergone some major renovations in the restaurant and brewhouse. I would love to show you what we have going on, so come on by and say hi!

What got you into homebrewing?

I have always worked in restaurants and started off in the back of house cooking. When I took the step into bartending, I loved developing cocktails as it combined my love of people with my love of creating culinary delights. The deeper I got into working at beer bars, the more I knew that brewing was going to be my next step. Being able to create something so delicious is magical and brings me excitement and joy every time. I also love the freedom I have to create anything I want, so I am not just limited to what's available on the market.

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Member Profile: Nicholas Cole

Nicholas Cole

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I work in account management for a tech company that helps small businesses with their marketing and operations.

What got you into homebrewing?

Aside from the occasional Guinness or Duvel, I drank macro beer pretty exclusively in university and probably didn't know the difference between an ale and a lager. I also probably would have told you that Guinness was very "heavy." Then I went away for a few years, and when I came back all of my friends were obsessed with craft beer. I caught the bug pretty quickly after that and figured that the only way to be more into it than they were was to make the stuff myself.

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Member Profile: Darrell Kelly

Darrell Kelly

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I have worked for Air Canada Jazz as an aircraft mechanic since 2004. I hold an M2 A.M.E license and currently maintain Dash 8’s, Q-400’s CRJ 200,705,900 and Embraer 175’s.

What got you into homebrewing?

After spending so much time traveling the world, a part of every trip I take is always sampling as much local cuisine as possible. This grew into also seeking out local breweries, which in turn got me more into craft beer locally as well. One year I got a Brooklyn Brewing 1 gallon kit for Christmas and the rest is history.

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Member Profile: Andrew McCready

Andrew McCready

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I am an audio engineer for a post-production house that does sound and picture for tv shows and commercials.

What got you into homebrewing?

As a lover of craft beer, I was looking into getting a keg fridge so I could buy kegs from breweries. All the places for info on buying/building kegerators were home brew sites, and I thought “hey, maybe I should just make beer instead”. So I ordered the equipment to do extract brewing, after 3 batches I was hooked. Ordered a Grainfather from Toronto Brewing and never looked back.

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Member Profile: Matt King

Matt King

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I work in the market research industry as a senior research manager. My day to day is client communication, analyzing data, and writing / presenting reports.

What got you into homebrewing?

I went on a west end brewery tour a few years ago, and the guide (I think his name was Reese) was talking about homebrewing and how easily you could get into it with basic gear. After doing countless hours of research through books, podcasts, online reading, etc., I jumped into it headfirst with an all grain BIAB setup.

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Member Profile: Mark Hubbard

Mark Hubbard

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I work at a large biopharma company that makes vaccines. I purify antigens from the bacteria that causes whooping cough, and they later get formulated into a vaccine.   

What got you into homebrewing?

In 2017 a friend and I went to a U-brew/ferment on premise place to “brew” a batch of beer. I felt like we didn’t actually do much, so I looked up homebrewing afterwards to see what the process was like and with my science background it sounded right up my alley, so I bought How to Brew, visited Toronto Brewing, and the rest was history.

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Member Profile: David Larocque


What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

Since 2012 I’ve been working for the Ontario Public Service in various policy roles ranging from health research funding, developing Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot Project and currently working in animal welfare/cruelty policy. Essentially I support the development of government programs/legislation/regulations. I’m also a father of two young girls (3 and 1) which keeps things busy and exciting on the home front. My 3 year old is becoming quite the brewing apprentice.

What got you into homebrewing?

I got more and more interested in the craft beer scene around 2012/13, and a friend of mine started homebrewing around then. After a few chats and a bit of reading I ordered my first kit and never looked back!

Continue reading Member Profile: David Larocque

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

Member Profile: Bear Alberico

Bear Alberico

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

Homebrewing is an occupation? Seriously though, I own and run a business that manufactures professional hair care products. It’s remarkable how similar it is to running a brewery; mix water and other ingredients in a kettle, fill them into bottles, then market and sell them. Beer shampoo anyone?

What got you into homebrewing?

I was a drummer in a reggae band and started making beer for our band to drink at rehearsals. Wasn’t great stuff, but it was cheap.

Continue reading Member Profile: Bear Alberico

Member Profile: Emily Storey

Emily Storey

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

Short answer: I am a scientist.

Long answer: I am a researcher in photonics. Think electronics, except I deal with photons instead of electrons. I shine lasers at liquids and then look at the scattered light. The light tells me what's in the liquid, and how much is there.

What got you into homebrewing?

My partner Rob saw a homebrew kit at a grocery store in Vancouver. My Dad is a homebrewer, so I knew what we were getting into. A quick trip to Dan's Homebrew Shop later, and the hobby has consumed most of our apartment for about 6 years.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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Member Profile: Clayton Hoy

Clayton Hoy

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

Hold on to your butts! I am by title the Operations Manager for Supply Chain Division. Really, I'm mostly an implementation consultant for Warehouse Management Software. Have fun figuring out what that means.

What got you into homebrewing?

Pretty certain I was walking in Loblaws one day and noticed a can of extract they were selling. No idea if they still do or not but I was intrigued by the idea of being able to brew at home. I persisted through so many terrible beers and eventually learned a little bit.
Continue reading Member Profile: Clayton Hoy

Member Profile: Mark Verok

Mark Verok

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

I appraise commercial real estate. I’m an AACI, which basically means I value the stuff that banks lend on and developers spend way way too much money on.  The bulk of my time in the past year though has been concentrated around starting and marketing Katalyst Brewing Company.  We are listed in the LCBO and will very shortly be in stores!

What got you into homebrewing?

If I recall, I was sitting talking to my father, and somehow beer came up, I had tried making wine a few times, with varying success, and he said “I don’t think that’s a great idea, not sure it's that easy”.  Of course, I have spent the past couple of years throwing home brewed beer at him.  I won this round Pete! Continue reading Member Profile: Mark Verok

Member Profile: Kat Goodale


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


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

Member Profile: Doug Appeldoorn


Doug Appeldoorn

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

By day I work as a Television Editor at Corus Entertainment, by night I'm a Prud'homme Beer Certification instructor and have been working with my business partner and fellow home brewer Pietro Caira to put on People's Pint events and eventually open a brewery together. Continue reading Member Profile: Doug Appeldoorn

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

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

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!

*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