Award Winning Brews

Award Winning Brews

Award Winning Brews

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When Jeff Stacey, Supervisor, Infrastructure for Richardson’s MIS team, began experimenting with how to make his own IPA (India Pale Ale) beer 20 years ago, he didn’t expect it to become such a large part of this life. Now, with his operation expanding from a stove-top kettle to a full brewing setup in his garage, Jeff is part of the craft beer group Winnipeg Brew Bombers and he’s won awards for some of his creations.

“When I first started 20 years ago, it was because brewing my own beer was cheaper when I was a university student. At the time it was awful. Absolutely awful! I took a break from it after school,” says Jeff. “I had been making wine with my wife and she suggested I try brewing beer again. I like IPAs, but I couldn’t find them anywhere at the time.”

Jeff, and some of the medals he’s earned with his home brews.

Since then, the craft brewing industry has exploded in Winnipeg and across North America. When Jeff first joined the Winnipeg Brew Bombers seven years ago, there were only 12 members. Today, there are 60. Some members own commercial breweries, like Half Pints, while others, like Jeff, brew beer in their home as a hobby.

Jeff’s Operation

Every year, Jeff brews about 40 litres of beer every two weeks in the summer and about 20 litres every two weeks in the winter. Jeff enjoys his product with his neighbours because he doesn’t have a commercial brewing license with the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission and can’t legally sell his beer.

Jeff buys his ingredients from local malsters and brew supply stores. He buys a variety of Canadian, American, German and English malted barley for making different types of beer including different types of IPAs and Russian Imperial Stouts.

One of the biggest challenges Jeff faces when brewing is repeatability. Unless brewers take good notes, it can be difficult to reproduce a brew if they don’t remember what they did. It’s also difficult to recreate the exact same beer, even after repeating the necessary steps.

“I don’t have the same setup as the professionals, so I can use the exact same ingredients in the exact same way and get two different beers,” he says. “The minerals in the water could be different that day or the temperature in my garage could be a degree colder or warmer. It all impacts the final product.”

Beating the Pros

Jeff recently won multiple awards at the ProAm Brew Challenge, a competition put on by the Winnipeg Brew Bombers for professional and amateur craft brewers across Canada. He won best local brewer and second place for best in show for his Russian Imperial Stout. This brew also won first place in the Russian Imperial Stout category, where Jeff beat out a highly-ranked professional. His white IPA also came in third place in the specialty IPA category.

The ProAm Brew Challenge is only one of the competitions Jeff enters. The largest one in Canada is held in Regina every year called the ALES Open, where Jeff won a gold medal for his red IPA in 2015.

 

 

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