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Member Profile: Paul Diamond (Iqaluit, NU)

Member Profiles is a series featuring members of the CHA, and sharing their story about how they got into homebrewing. If you’d like to share your story or know someone with an interesting homebrew story, send an email to kathy@canadahomebrews.ca.

CHA: How did you get into homebrewing? And how long have you been homebrewing?

PD: I got into homebrewing back in the late 90’s when myself and a few friends decided to try out the “easy” Coopers kits that just used the concentrate and a pack of yeast. Although we managed to mess up our first several (or more) attempts, eventually we learned how to better clean and sterilize our equipment, watch temperatures when fermenting, tracking water pH and testing the specific gravity to see how our fermenting was progressing. Eventually after trial and error we managed to make some fairly delicious beer for summer BBQ’s and having brews around the house for guests anytime. Then of course our other halves wanted wine, so we started making wine as well and since we already made all the mistakes and learned a thing or two, it was not a far stretch to make wine and beer at the same time. Plus it was fun to do and was really rewarding when people drank and liked your products. I myself stopped homebrewing when I moved to the high arctic in late ’97 for several years but picked it back up about nine years ago so it took a few tries to get back into the groove and I was also starting with more recipes from the grain up and not using concentrate kits. Now I brew strictly full grain recipes and have in the last two years stared using the Grainfather system which is amazing. I only keg my brews now and when I go to a house party I just fill a growler or my 2-1/2 gal keg and off I go.

Diamond’s carboys and brewing equipment. Photo courtesy of Paul Diamond.

What is the most enjoyable part about homebrewing for you?

The most enjoyable part is sharing my brews with others when they come over. It is great to have a keg system with three taps so I can have three different brew to service nice and cold and perfectly carbonated for my guest. Seeing them enjoy the brews is the best. I also like the fact the brewing from full grain you get the experiment just like cooking, add a bit of hops, maybe try a different grain or two, add some other ingredients and  see what happens. It really makes your brew your own.

Do you have a favourite brew, and what is it?

I would have to say that my favourite types of beer to brew are lagers (amber or dark) and sour or bitter ales. I can’t really say which is an all time favourite because I like to try all types. If I had to pick an all time favourite, I would have to say either an American pale ale or an English bitter ale.

What is homebrewing and the scene like in where you are? Are there any challenges/ perks?

Here in Iqaluit there really is no homebrewing scene really. There are only a couple people who brew and we now have a microbrewery in town which is really good. The perks of homebrewing is that you have lots of beer and in the type or tastes you want. The downfall is the cost of getting ingredients to the north. You can order CO2 on annual sealift but fresh ingredients like grains, hops, additive and so on only last so long so you need to order from the south and the shipping is a killer. But it is worth it sometimes because it is fun to brew and experiment with various ingredients. And sharing with friends makes it worth while as well.

Kathy Yan Li is a director of the Canadian Homebrewers Association, and lives in Shilo, MB with her husband and dog Barkley. She is always looking for Canadian homebrewing and brewing content, so feel free to get in touch with her with ideas and suggestions.

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