Buying grain for brewing can be a hassle depending on what you need and where you live. For me, it’s not too bad but I normally have to drive about 45 minutes to Fergus to get what I need. It costs me around $45 for a bag of crushed grain but certainly worth when you figure that I can get around five batches out of the one bag.
A recent group buy through the Southern Ontario Brewers (that’s right, SOBs) allowed me and a couple of brewing friends to pick up grain at a significant savings. Because of the power of bulk purchasing that $45 bag of grain came down to around $25. A very worthwhile purchase even with the bit of extra driving to pick up the bags in Toronto.
I was quite excited to pick up the grain. With the help of the Amsterdam Brewery the SOBs were allowed to have the skids of grain delivered there. This also coincided with an event the SOBs were holding called “Learn 2 Brew” where homebrewers are invited to set up their breweries in the Amsterdam Brewery for the day to show off their gear and techniques. This also allows the public to see how it’s done and ask questions of the brewers.
It’s really the first time since I returned to homebrewing a couple of years ago that I have seen many other set ups. It’s always interesting to see how other brewers “work their magic”, so to speak.
Brewers are a notoriously friendly lot and the SOB group is no exception. I met several new people and re-met some that I had known in another setting. I’ll be attending a meeting this coming weekend where I will, no doubt, meet some more kind folks.
One of the highlights of the trip on Saturday was supporting Amsterdam Brewery and thanking them for their support of the SOBs through the grain delivery and the allowance of space for “Learn 2 Brew”. I purchased a couple of bottles of their Boneshaker IPA that I had only seen at the brewery and not at the LCBO. It was fabulous! Precisely my kind of IPA with lots of hop presence from some classic American hops and with a solid malt backbone to support all the bitterness. At 7.1% this was a true IPA unlike anything else I’ve had from an Ontario brewer. Kudos to Amsterdam!
I had to take it a bit easy on the drive home because of all the grain. Ten 25kg bags in the back of the car is more than I normally carry but we all made it safe and sound!