2016 was a big year for us, since it marked my exit from the software industry and into brewing. I started attending the Niagara College brewing program in January and began to focus on levelling up my brewing by practicing a lot at home. V and I also spent a lot of time expanding our knowledge by travelling a lot this year. It’s easy to get stuck into a local market funk, so we took an adventure through the states to see what kinds of beers other brewers are making. It helped us create a new bar for our local breweries, and expanded our horizons into what kinds of beers we might want to make in the future.
Brewing Resolutions for 2016
- Take more notes; preferably using paper — Success! Throughout the year I’ve been developing a number of brewing sheets, and collect all of my information in those now.
- Learn more about math in brewing. Build my own tools — Success! Though this was kind of cheating since I had to do it in school. I did build something in Excel, though I’m not quite happy with it and plan on moving everything over to Ruby or something that makes it easier to generate brewday sheets as well as have better versioning.
- Start using lager yeast — Success! To date, I’ve brewed 5 lagers, and 1 lagered ale. I’m still learning a lot regarding lagering and don’t brew lagers it as much as I’d like since they monopolize my fermentation chamber.
- Nail down repeatability and consistency — Semi-success. I definitely feel like my beers have gotten a lot better, and I’ve had a few recipes that I’ve had to brew over and over again (a berliner weisse). While I’ve dialed in my recipes, some still aren’t exactly what I’d call consistent. I’m going to try this again next year and focus on a simpler style to use as my goalpost.
2016’s Brewing Numbers
- Total Batches of Beer Brewed: 33
- Most Repeated Recipe: Sour Wheat Beer Base x 5
- Beer that took the Longest: Oaked Amber French Saison on Cherries — 6 months
- Batches of beer dumped because we wanted another beer on tap: ~10
Favourite Craft Breweries and Beers of 2016
- Favourite local brewery: Folly Brewing
- Furthest brewery visited: Callister Brewing
- Brewery that surpassed expectations: Von Trapp Brewing
- Favourite Beer of 2016: Beer Geek Helles (Jack’s Abby)
- The feeling of “this is good, but way overhyped”: Heady Topper
- The “I could drink this forever”: Tie between Little Norway (Sawdust City) and Mountain Lager (Sidelaunch)
- Favourite Beer Style: Mineral Forward Lagers (Helles, Dortmunder Export)
Brewing Resolutions for 2017
- Brew more lagers — maybe even make a few using traditional techniques
- Work with correct pitching rates — I got a microscope for xmas so this is completely doable now
- Judge at more competitions
- Work on perfecting my Hefeweizen recipe
So how was your 2016? Did you have any brewing resolutions you made and were you able to keep them? If you didn’t hit them, what held you back?
And how about your beer drinking experiences this year? What stood out? Did you discover a new appreciation for a once overlooked style of beer? What is your favourite brewery?