Friday was another light day as the Sensory Evaluation class was cancelled, leaving us with only Intro to Brewing for the day. Jon Downing teaches this class, and spent the time going over some basics of history and the process. Most of this had been covered in the Prud’homme courses I had taken, but a refresher is never a bad thing. He then went over some of the safety hazards that could be found in brewery and gave us a tour of the teaching brewery building. We all scattered at the end of class, and headed off to our weekends.
I met up with most of the guys again the next afternoon as Alan and Nate had arranged for a visit to Mike Driscoll’s organic hop-yard and micro-malting operation in Guelph.
Mike was great, regaling us with the story of how he came across the hops he went on to call Bertwell and how he got into the growing of hops at the Ignatius Farm, an organic co-op run by the Jesuits. He then went into some of the problems he’s run into; yellow mildew, aphids, bad summers. Not for the faint of heart. After a wee bit there and some photos, we headed off to his micro-malting space. Inside was the result of many hours of making and kludging to make a sprout grower and a piece of field farm equipment into some pretty nifty hardware. I would have liked to see the controller and ask more questions about the electronics, but it was time to head over to F & M Brewery for a tour.
It was great talking to George, the owner of F & M, who treated us to a snack and a beer. It is obvious that he loves what he does. He showed us around his operation with great pride. He also happily donated a few malt bags to my sewing project and informed that it’s his wife who is behind Brewers Crap!
At that point, everyone was heading off to the Woolwich Arms for a pint, but I had to motor on to Orangeville for a derby bout.