September 2017 meeting

September’s meeting marked the 1 year anniversary of the first official True Grist gathering. We’ve grown so much from our humble beginnings. A bit of a snap shot of where we’re at:

  • Our website is now averaging around 5k visits/month resulting in nearly 100k page loads. Not only is traffic being driven to our site, but visitors are staying, exploring our resources and participating on our forum.
  • Our social media following and engagement continues to grow (links to our Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook on the sidebar!).
  • 150 users have registered to our site. And amazingly, over 50 of those are due paying members.
  • Our active membership has given us great buying power in our bulk buys, in our first year approximately $10k has been spent on distributor or producer-direct priced hops, malt, yeast, cider, more hops.
  • We have actual logo, and it’s on shirts, glasses, stickers (grab some from our friends Kamil Juices in Guelph and Shortfinger Brewing in KW), and soon baseball caps!
  • The club has a cask to call it’s own – first use of it will be for our participation in Cask days. Future use of it will be whenever we have an excuse (if you want to borrow it for an event, get in touch)!

This meeting we started to play around a bit with our meeting format – having a session of structured tastings following our usual announcements, and first use of a sign up sheet for beers (think open mic style). Many great samples as always! If you want to provide us with some feedback on our evolving format, please open a topic on our forum, email us at ac.ts1506041180irgeu1506041180rt@kc1506041180abdee1506041180f1506041180 or submit anonymous feedback here.

The club has so much going on right now. The first annual True Brewer competition has been announced (sign ups open until September 30th, 2017), we just had our brew day for our submission to the Cask Days Festival in Toronto, our cider bulk buy is ongoing, we’re doing a run of True Grist hats with Creative Embroidery Works, and lots more planned. You can now check out the club’s event calendar for planned recurring events for some hints!

August 2017 meeting

This month around a dozen True Grist members met in Kitchener-Waterloo on Doug B.’s lovely backyard patio. The club discussed upcoming events including a cider bulk buy in the Fall (details developing on the forum here), and the potential of the club having a presence at some upcoming Fall beer festivals (those details are developing here). We expect to run another bulk buy with Frank E’s cider in Vanessa, ON as we did last year. Throughout the year we’ve had the opportunity to sample some of the different things True Grist members made with the juice from last year’s buy – diverse and delicious.

A relaxing #homebrew meeting on a backyard patio #kwawesome

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Beers sampled at this month’s meeting included several blondes, a raspberry wheat, cider, an aged brett blend saison, APAs, and others. The raspberry wheat in particular has been the subject of some extended discussion, and the recipe is now available on the forum courtesy of Jon K. Lots of raspberries, lemon zest, some citra hops… all good things. Recipe link here.

Next month the club will have it’s anniversary of it’s first meeting, on September 13th at 7PM in Guelph (RSVP here). We hope to see you there!

July 2017 meeting

This month we returned to Guelph’s East side for a meeting of True Grist homebrewers. Josh V was our gracious host. We moved through many samples and styles of beer – blondes, lagers, various wheat beers, a (delicious) dry hopped sour, IPAs, and more. We finally got to try Andrew A’s brown with homemade caraquinoa malt, after it had received much discussion and interest on our forum. Our fall events received further hyping and discussion – cider and hop bulk buys, and our soon to be officially announced internal “True Brewer” contest. Otherwise this was a return to our regular monthly meeting format (we forewent a June monthly meeting in favour of other True Grist events). Next month we hope to gather in Kitchener-Waterloo, and at this time are still looking for a host. Send an email to ac.ts1506041180irgeu1506041180rt@tn1506041180edise1506041180rp1506041180 if you’re willing to have us!

Not just #homebrew here's some #homemalt – quinoa to be exact

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And what would a #homebrew meeting without our awesome t-shirts – logo by @brfc

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Monthly #homebrew meeting underway. Plenty of tasty beer being tasted.

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True Grist visits Escarpment Labs

Yesterday (June 7th, 2017), the folks at Escarpment Labs were kind enough to invite True Grist to their production facility for a tour and a Q&A period. Around 20 True Grist members arrived to Escarpment Labs and were welcomed with a sample of a very interesting tart pale ale, fermented with Lactobacillus and Kveik in about 24 hours at 40C – a little taste of some of the R&D at Escarpment Labs. Richard Preiss (co-founder of Escarpment Labs) then showed us around, describing their yeast propagation and packaging process, as well as their quality assurance program.

For Q&A, Richard was joined by another Escarpment Labs co-founder, Angus Ross. Many of the questions fielded dealt with collecting wild yeast, and the process of yeast domestication. Isolation of novel yeast strains from the environment for use in mixed fermentations is something that Escarpment Labs has become well known for. Many of us were näive to just how intensive the process of finding a wild yeast suitable for brewing is. As an example, we were told starting from 40 isolates, only one may be found to be suitable after trials of alcohol tolerance, ability to ferment malt sugars, ability to attenuate, favourable character (e.g. not solventy or sulfury), etc! I think everyone walked away from the event with more knowledge and more curiosity about all things yeast. Before we left we picked up some ultra-fresh yeast and lacto pitches that we pre ordered, and had the opportunity to taste a collaboration between Four Winds and Escarpment Labs (not available in Ontario). Delicious and unique.

A huge thanks to Richard Preiss and Angus Ross for the memorable evening! Some pictures below:

 

 

Richard describing some of the quality assurance procedures and fermentation trials which take place in their lab

2017 hop bulk buy

I’d been meaning to do a short post on our hop bulk buy to the club blog for a couple weeks now. True Grist partnered with Chilliwack Hops to provide members with fresh hops this Spring. There were literally 100s of varieties available, which were sourced from all over the world. We had close to 200lbs of hops ordered amongst the club, all of which were packaged in nitrogen flushed mylar for optimal freshness. I look forward sampling homebrew showcasing these hops at our future meetings. I fully expect that there are many single hop pale ales and such in the works (I know I have my own planned). My advice – take the opportunity to do some massive dry hops with these! As a final note, Kamil Juices kindly allowed us to organize and distribute hops from their shop, a huge help for us. Thanks! Pictures below.

Inaugural True Grist summer barbecue

This weekend True Grist members and their families met in Cambridge on a perfect Saturday, to enjoy the weather and share food and beer. This was our first summer barbecue, an event which is sure to become annual tradition. Our special events coordinator, Matt F. and his wife Jackie hosted us in their lovely, hop-filled backyard (thanks guys). Amongst the highlights were a cask ale made just for the barbecue (the recipe is on our forum), spent grain bread (recipe also on the forum), smoked brisket and smoked sausages, salads, cookies, even more homebrew, and more.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the cask ale which went off without a hitch. Chris K. brewed the beer, Peter C. acquired the cask from Together We’re Bitter (where he is head brewer) and provided instruction for its use. Chris K. also made a nice cask stand. Thanks guys! The cask ale went down incredibly easy. It was a English bitter, with a medium body, brewed with English base malt and yeast. The lower carbonation and warmer temperature really allowed the fruitier English yeast to shine. The beer was a deep amber with light toffee from the caramel malt, a touch of roastiness from the roast malt, balanced with legacy hops. You had to be there..!

Thanks to everyone who attended for the food and drink contributions, and thank you again to our hosts! We hope everyone can join us again next year!

Of course there's a cask of #homebrew at our BBQ!

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May 2017 Meeting

This month’s meeting was hosted by Mike H. in Cambridge. It was one of our smaller meetings of 2017, but there were no shortage of interesting beers to be sampled. My personal favourite was Jeff B.’s Berliner Weiss made with berries grown in his backyard. We also got to try subtle variations of a Vienna SMASH brewed by our host. A Jarrylo pale ale and Breakfast Stout from Alex P., a mash hoped beer from Peter C., and handful of others. It’s clear we’re heading into warmer weather as members are brewing fewer stouts and we see more IPAs, pilsners, blondes, etc. at our gatherings.

In terms of club business, we discussed our upcoming Club BBQ and tour at Escarpment Labs. Expect a sign up sheet for food contributions at our BBQ to appear in the near future on the forum. We also continue our discussions on how club funds should be spent – we’re still looking for proposals if you have any ideas on how we could put this money to use to benefit the club. At this point, likely uses of those funds include an off flavour tasting event, an internal homebrew competition in the fall, and some promotional materials.

A reminder that there will be no monthly meeting in June as we have our club bbq and the tour at Escarpment Labs. At this time we’re still looking for a host for our July meeting though, if you’re interested please get in touch at ac.ts1506041180irgeu1506041180rt@tn1506041180edise1506041180rp1506041180. Weather permitting, meeting outside on a deck or backyard for our July, August and maybe September meetings is an option! Something to keep in mind if you’re considering hosting in the near future.

Spring malt bulk buy

This Spring the True Grist Homebrew Club ran a malt bulk buy, and it was a huge success! We had close to 7000 lbs of malt ordered – our largest bulk buy yet! The total savings our members took advantage of through this buy were substantial. The bulk buy was held with friends Kamil Juices in Guelph. Last week our order arrived at their shop, and on the weekend a troupe of volunteers got busy splitting and organizing it all for pick up. Splits allow members to get a great bulk price on ingredients without ordering a full unit (i.e. a portion of a 25kg bag of malt instead of the whole thing). A big thanks to the volunteers that came out for this one: Andrew S., Mike H., Monte F., Josh V., Jeff B., Justin A., and Tyler F. In all, the preparations took True Grist volunteers around 4 hours on Saturday. There were no shortage of those looking to help, which is a great sign for our club. Thank you also to Kamil of course, which really make running this kind of bulk buy so much easier – handling payment, distribution, and allowing us to take over their warehouse. Those who placed orders can pick them up during Kamil Juices business hours this week. Here are a couple pictures from the weekend:

 

Why did we allow rice hull splits?!?!?? The bane of grains splits. #homebrew

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My van all loaded up (no this is not only my order – I grabbed some malt for another member as well)

April 2017 meeting

For our April meeting we returned again to Paul B.’s home in Guelph. Approximately 20 homebrewers were in attendance for our regular sharing of beer samples. There were some very interesting beers to be had including a chipotle stout, a carrot bock, a “Blood of Cthulhu” clone, and others. Ciders too!

Andrew A. and Andrew S. were amongst those wearing their new True Grist t-shirts at our meeting.

Our club business for the evening included distributing glasses from our True Grist member gear buy (pictures below). We also had distribution of PBW and bottles from a Half Hours on Earth group buy that Andrew A. was running for us. Details for what we hope is an annual event – a True Grist summer BBQ were set (it’s happening June 4th – full details on the forum!). We also ironed out some final details for our hop and malt bulk buys that closed on April 14th. For these buys we will be organizing and distributing almost 7000lbs of malt, and 200lbs of hops from Kamil Juices Urban Winery and Craft Brewing Supplies in Guelph later this month. We are currently recruiting volunteers to help with the splitting process of partial bags of malt. Lastly, we briefly discussed True Grist budget proposals. With the success of our paid memberships, and t-shirt and glasses buy, the club is finally in a position where it can afford to run special events (educational, and an internal beer competition to name a few), acquire some shared equipment (ideas include a jockey box and a pressure canner), and have some promotional materials made. We are currently in the brainstorming phase, which includes soliciting ideas from members, and estimating costs. Keep those ideas coming!

Our next meeting will be held May 10th in Cambridge.

The True Grist glasses are in! #homebrew

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Breaking in the new glassware. #royalcitybrewing @truegristhbc

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March 2017 meeting

Last night we held our monthly meeting for March in Kitchener-Waterloo. Our host was Pat F. (darkstanfinn on our forum), who brews in his basement with a Grain Father system. Pat’s basement has been transformed to the ultimate hangout spot for beer lovers complete with tons of beer and brewing paraphernalia, a keg fridge, air hockey table, darts, a crokinole board and more!

On tap Pat had an experimental Saison brewed with cucumber, a mild based on a recipe shared on our forum, and a coffee stout – a real crowd favourite.

Beyond the serious business of sampling the latest creations of members, the 15 or so attendees of the meeting discussed our upcoming Spring barbecue. It turns out there is a handful in the group that operate smokers – so we have various smoked meats to look forward to at this event. Event details continue to develop in the thread on our forum.

We received our 2017 order of True Grist t shirts from Bearface Design yesterday. Our meeting attendees were the first shirt recipients. For those who ordered a t shirt, the shirts will continue to be available at our meetings, or other pick up arrangements can be made (email ac.ts1506041180irgeu1506041180rt@tn1506041180edise1506041180rp1506041180 for this).

Further details of our 2017 Spring Malt Bulk Buy were announced last night. This buy will be through Kamil Urban Winery and Craft Brewing Supplies in Guelph, for brewing malts and products available through BSG Canada. This buy is available to our paid members only – pay your annual dues if you’d like to partake, the cost savings on a single bag of malt is reason enough (and if you brew frequently, you’ll likely want a lot more than that!). The buy will go live at noon on March 31st and will run for two weeks.

That about sums up our evening, see you next month!