FEATURE: Interview with Homebrewer Ryan Chaytor

Ryan Chaytor homebrewer and founder of the Cornwall HomeBrew Club

Saturday, November 2nd is the 14th annual Learn to Homebrew Day, spearheaded by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA). This global event was established to encourage people  to learn how to brew from fellow homebrewers.

There are more than 80 events taking place at breweries, homebrew shops and garages across the world. Not far from Ottawa, the Cornwall HomeBrew Club is taking over a local restaurant and have invited speakers from the industry to talk about homebrewing.

To get a glimpse into the world of homebrewing we'll be posting interviews with Ottawa homebrewers all week leading up to November 2nd – and maybe they'll encourage you to brew your own beer!

Ottawa Beer Events: Tell us a little about yourself and how long you've been home brewing.

My name is Ryan Chaytor, I'm married to my beautiful wife Leah Chaytor of 3 years. We currently live in Cornwall, Ontario with our Pomeranian, Max. I am aYard Maintenance Worker for Ingredion, in Cardinal, Ontario.

I started home brewing in 2009, I didn't know where to start so I reached out to the MoB (Members of Barleyment). My old high school teacher Andy Rorabeck sent me an email invitation to brew with him. I jumped in head first, all-grain right from the get go. I think I was brewing by myself within 2 to 3 batches, on his converted keg system.

About a year ago I took a step back and brewed my first extract batch. I was blown away at how easy it was to brew, and the flavour was able to keep up with any all-grain recipe. I'm currently brewing 5 gallon batches on my electric stove, there is nothing that smells better then wort boiling in your kitchen.

What got you interested in making your own beer?

Macro beer wasn't doing it for me anymore, it had no flavour. I wanted to broaden my palate and taste styles of beer that weren't readily available. I wanted to learn more of the science of brewing, ingredients and equipment. I wanted to see what it took to make my own beer at home. 

Why did you start the Cornwall HomeBrew Club?

The craft beer scene in Cornwall is slowly getting bigger, I had made a name for myself as a home brewer and gotten to know the craft beer/home brewing community. People were approaching me, asking questions about brewing, ingredients and equipment. I didn't know that there was so much interest in a small city like Cornwall. 

After people asking to join me when I brewed, I decided to start a Facebook group and I added a couple of friends who liked craft beer, or who had wanted to brew with me, it didn't take very long and we are up to 35 members. 

What can people expect on November 2nd, Learn to Home Brew Day?

To have a great time! We are going to keep it very simple, we don't want to lose anyone in the chemistry and brewing engineering. We will have two brewing systems, an extract for new brewers and an all-grain for the interested brewers who want to upgrade or for people who want to dive right into making their own personalized brew. We were fortunate enough to have Cachette du Bootlegger (a local home brew shop) donate a gift card and extract kit as door prizes. We have two special guests, Mario Bourgeois from Cassel Brewery and Ron Brennan from Old 4th Hop Farm.

What's the best advice you can give to new home brewers?

You need to concentrate on general housekeeping, Cleaning and Sanitizing. It doesn't need to be very complicated, go to your local homebrew store, ask for Five Star products and follow the instructions. Properly sanitizing equipment goes a long way, you don't want to spend hours brewing 19 L to lose it to infection in your fermentor. But most importantly, have fun. 

You can follow Learn to Homebrew Day activities on Twitter as they unfold using (#LTHD2013) or on Facebook (American Homebrewers Assocation).

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