Mash Your Own March: Starting A Home Brew

So you fancy yourself a craft beer connoisseur. You’ve sampled a wide range of beers from Edmonton’s local breweries, and around the world. You know the difference between an English and Indian Pale Ale, and you wouldn’t be caught dead drinking a Lucky Lager. All in all, your craft beer knowledge is pretty good, but there’s always room for improvement. So where do you go from here?


Well, the next obvious step would be to start brewing your own! Home brewing has become an increasingly popular hobby lately, and for good reason. It’s fun, relaxing, and the finished product is something we all love – beer! Everyone will be in awe when you show up to the next shindig with a 6-pack of homemade beer in hand.


Even though the process of brewing may seem intimidating at first, it is actually pretty straightforward – if you can make porridge, you’re a good part of the way towards making your first brew. To make getting started easier, a variety of places around Edmonton, including Chapters and Winning Wines Plus, have brew kits available for the first-time brewer. The kits include all the basic equipment and grains you will need, as well as step by step instructions on how to go about turning that wort into frothy, delicious beer. 


There are a couple different styles of brewing that you can do. The first is all-grain brewing, in which the brewer extracts the sugars from a mix of grains, and then ferments it into alcohol. The second is extract brewing, which cuts out the grain and instead uses flavour extracts to ferment into alcohol. Extract brewing is simpler, and requires less equipment since the whole “mash” step is cut out. Both have their pros and cons, but whatever you decide to go with, the end result is the same. You get to say that you made your own beer.


Now, all that’s left to do is to start brewing. So, take a deep breath, grab a couple craft beers to sip on, and dive right in – you’re going to have a blast. And if you’re looking for a few tips and tricks from the true masters of brewing, come join us Saturday’s for a Craft Beer Tour.


Alexander Sorochan

Hoppy New Beer! 🍻🎉

Hoppy New Beer! 🍻🎉

2018 is officially here! It’s a new year full of promise, excitement, and at least a few failed New Year’s resolutions. It’s also a very exciting year for the Edmonton craft brewing industry, where a whole slew of new breweries are opening up around our city. Here’s a quick look at some of the new brewhouses to look forward to in the upcoming year.

A Stout for the Holidays!

In the world of stouts, Guinness is probably the most well known. The Irish beer is thick and heavy, and a perfect drink for those cold winter nights. However, there are many different stouts out there. In fact, the breweries in Alberta – and especially Edmonton – have been producing their own stouts that give even Guinness a run for its money. Situation Brewing offers two different stouts on their menu, the Iconic Milk Stout (brewed with lactose and Salvadorian coffee), and the Declan’s Irish Stout. Brewsters also has a delicious coconut porter that uses real coconut in the brewing process.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself “Hey, I thought we were talking about stouts, not porters.” Well, here’s the thing. There’s been a lot of debate around what the actual difference between a stout and a porter is, and it seems that no one can really come to a definitive conclusion. They’re both dark, heavy beers (usually black in colour) that are brewed with roasted malts. Stouts were even originally called “Stout Porters,” and the only real difference seems to be that stouts are stronger. Besides that, they are practically the same beer.

An interesting side note about roasted malt is that it doesn’t take much to produce the flavour and colour of stouts and porters. Only about 10-15% of the total grain that goes into a stout or porter is roasted, but it changes the beer dramatically.

The history of stouts and porters goes back to the 1700’s with a man named Ralph Harwood, a brewer out of London. One of his beers, which he called “Entire,” was especially popular among the porters who worked in the markets around the area, and the beer soon took on the name it’s known as now.  Another important milestone in the history of stouts and porters happened about 100 years later. In 1817, the malt roaster was invented, and for the first time black malts were available to brewers. Porters and stouts as we know them were officially a thing.

Stouts and Porters, with their robust and hearty taste, are fantastic beers for winter drinking.  So, if you’re looking for a good beer to sip on during these frigid months, be sure to stop in to Situation or Brewsters and give their stouts a try. You won’t be disappointed.

-Alexander Sorochan