For local home brewers Dino Matias and Arnd Zschocken, entering into the recent Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), South Okanagan’s home brewing competition, was a way to connect with others in the industry.
But to their surprise and delight, they also came out as the judge’s choice winners of the November 2018 contest and are now reaping the oats that they brewed. The competition was hosted in partnership with Tin Whistle Brewing Co. and, as winners, Matias and Zschocken had the opportunity to brew their beer at the brewery with the help of head brewer Matt Farmer on March 1.
|From left: Dino Matias, Matthew Farmer and Arnd Zschocken take a brief break on brewing day at Tin Whistle Brewing Co. on March 1. Matias and Zschocken are home brewers that won the November 2018 CAMRA SO home brewing competition, so now they have the opportunity to brew their recipe on a commercial scale. Photo by Kim Lawton.|
“As the craft beer scene grows in Penticton and around the province, there is more and more excitement for craft beer and more interest in home brewing as beer lovers enjoy taking a turn crafting their own beers,” said Kim Lawton, president of CAMRA SO.
“It’s so amazing to see a winning recipe created by home brewers Dino and Arnd turn into a commercially brewed, larger batch of beer that the public will be able to purchase.”
“We started (brewing) because we were trying to produce just simple, easy-drinking, pilsner-style or ale. We started with the brew kits … and did that for three times and then we said ‘Let’s try the other way’,” said Zschocken. “(After that) we consistently brought out good beer until early last summer (2018), we had our first bad beer.
“The next beer actually, after our first bad batch, was the beer we entered into the competition. So we were really afraid it would be a bad beer again.”
According to Farmer, who acted as one of the judges at the event, the pair delivered an exceptional batch. His job now is to help the pair recreate it in the brewery as a commercial brew to be released at the upcoming Fest of Ale.
|It was hands-on learning at Tin Whistle Brewing Co on March 1 as home brewers Arnd Zschocken and Dino Matias learn about commercial brewing under head brewer Matthew Farmer. Photo by Kim Lawton.|
“I was really impressed with it, I thought it was really easy-drinking and light. It was an awesome beer,” said Farmer. “Kind of floral and a nice kind of Saison character to it.”
Farmer said this brew will remaining relatively true to the original recipe.
“It will have a few tweaks but nothing major. I didn’t want to stray too far from what they made originally,” said Farmer. “It’s going to be pretty true to form of what they had originally.”
Matias said he and Zschocken enjoy being a part of the brewing community because everyone is always willing to help and provide tips and knowledge. They both attended the first CAMRA SO home brewing competition as observers and were both inspired to step up their brewing as a result.
“It made it easy because the home brewing community is large in Penticton,” said Matias. “So that made it easier to connect with people.
Michael Nagy, with Tin Whistle Brewing Co., said being a part of this contest and helping produce this brew is just one step in connecting with the home brewing industry.
“We’ve bought ourselves a pilot brewing system and we’ve spoken with the CAMRA SO members liaison—and they’re on board—we just have to work out the kinks on the system so we can actually have brewers’ nights,” said Nagy. “Everyone can come in, have a conversation and figure out what they want to brew. Then we’ll do a brew with them of their beer and they’ll take it home with them and deal with the fermentation side.”
|Matthew Farmer, right, said forming partnerships with the home brewing community is beneficial for both groups. Photo by Kim Lawton.|
Farmer and Nagy said creating meaningful relationships with the area’s home brewers is useful for both groups as professionals can provide amateurs with tips and amateurs can experiment more and inspire professionals to expand their craft.
“Home brewers are a great source of information, even us professional brewers, because they are able to do things on a small scale that we can’t always necessarily experiment with going full-scale,” said Farmer. “They’re doing things that are pretty bizarre and crazy and people like me can get inspiration from the things that they’re doing.”
While Matias and Zschocken’s brew will not be available until Fest of Ale, Nagy said the night before the launch will be a pre-launch party for CAMRA members to taste the batch in advance. Nagy said the brewery will have approximately 180 cases of Matias and Zschocken’s beer available.
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