Guest authored by Adam Chatburn
A few weeks ago the Burnaby Brewing Company threw its doors open to the Canadian homebrewing community. They offered tours of the facility and discount hops in what they hope will be the first of many wort rallies. A wort rally is where a company (in this case a U-brew/U-Vin) makes several hundred litres of all-grain sweet wort and sells it directly to homebrewers. That’s right – no hops. Just a simple 1.050 OG mash of Canadian 2 row, oats and a bit of Vienna. Once boiled, the wort was quickly cooled and everyone who brought a bucket got five gallons to take home. Best of all, anyone who was a member of a local (or national) homebrew club got their first batch for free! It was part of their homebrew club appreciation day and those who came certainly felt appreciated!
Maple Ridge resident Jeff Tichbourne, a Vanbrewers member said, “This wort rally was a fantastic idea. Not only is it something that current homebrewers love for the low effort, but it’s also something that will draw new people into homebrewing because it doesn’t take a lot of equipment to make beer this way. I’m excited to see how everyone makes something unique with their wort and I hope to see samples showing up at our upcoming VanBrewers meetings.”
Over 40 people turned out and because of the simple nature of the sweet wort, many had different plans. Some planned to reboil with hops, take a small amount and boil a hop tea before adding it back in. Some were going to just dry hop for a hazy IPA. Others thought about souring with a culture. That’s the beauty of a wort rally!
We’re just happy to help the homebrew community. Many people don’t realize that U-Brews are here to complement homebrewers and we’re pleased that so many came to take away this wort and buy hops by the pound.
Brewery owner Jesse Shepherd said, “It was a blast having everyone come in, but what was better was hearing everyone talk about different beers. We got a lot of good ideas today and will be doing a lot more wort runs.”
If you’re interested in a wort rally in your community talk to your local U-Brew or possibly brewery (consult your local liquor laws). They might not do it for free, but after the success of this event it would be great to see it repeated across the country. Especially when outdoor homebrewing is particularly challenging this time of year.
Adam Chatburn is a former President of CAMRA Vancouver, the brains and brawn behind Real Cask at Callister Brewing, and now an employee of Burnaby Brewing Company.