It’s a great time of year around my place. We are getting ready for the holiday season to begin, our daughter is starting to grow, and it is almost time for me to crack into the craft beer advent calendar. I’m hoping folks will enjoy reading about each one of the beers and breweries as much as I enjoying learning about them.
Today I am starting a series that I hope to continue for as long as I am able. “Get to know a brewer” is something I thought of when I was last chatting with Jeremy Grisim from Half Pints. When I first met Jeremy, he was doing me a favour and picking me up a test batch from Half Pints. Over time, I started seeing him at Half Pints more often and later learned he had joined the Half Pints team. Now, he’s accomplished a goal he set for himself of becoming a brewer. So, who better to start this with than him.
Jeremy became interested in brewing while he was working on a chemistry degree. He had taken some biology and chemistry courses that talked about fermentation sciences and as he had tried various craft beer and was being exposed to new styles of beer, Jeremy decided to try home brewing. He started small, buying a kit from Grape and Grain, and from that point he was hooked. While he had initially thought of being a chemistry teacher, he felt a calling to one day open a brewery and decided that he would follow that dream and work towards it.
Having a good background in science, Jeremy felt as though he needed to get some more knowledge surrounding the brewing process and the science/art of brewing beer. He took the executive overview of brewing from the Siebel institute and began communicating with as many brewers as he could across Canada seeking their advice and direction on further education. From this advice, Jeremy decided to do the 1-year associate degree in brewing technology from the Siebel institute. While this provides some great learning, it lacks in practical experience. Really wanting to get this practical knowledge, Jeremy and his wife had been ready to move their family wherever they needed to go. Luckily, he was hired on at Half Pints as a brewery assistant in May 2015 and began chasing his dream.
While working as a brewer assistant at Half-Pints, Jeremy also took on the task of conducting brewery tours. Half Pints already had a full slate of brewers and while Jeremy was happy to help and felt he was learning, he ultimately wanted to be brewing beer. This past summer, 2016, two of the brewers from Half Pints left to pursue other goals which left Half Pints with space for a new brewer. Dave Rudge, President of Half Pints, sat down and asked Jeremy about his goals. Jeremy said he wanted “To one-day be the best brewer in Winnipeg and to brew beer until I can’t brew anymore.” Dave offered him the chance to get trained on the brewing equipment and Jeremy has brewed full-time ever since.
Jeremy loves all styles of beer but has a ton of respect for the old-world breweries. He has a Czech background himself and deeply respects the skill required to brew and the history behind old world beers. He takes great joy in drinking beers from North American breweries as well of course. Jeremy said that he feels breweries are moving away from the tendency to brew to style and are no starting to brew to inspiration. Instead of trying to replicate a style of beer they are trying to create a beer. While Jeremy didn’t really give me an answer on his favorite style, the first beer he has developed and brewed at Half Pints is a California Common. We can expect to see this on the test batch system before too long and Jeremy hopes the beer will be scaled up into a bigger batch.
In the next 5 years, Jeremy sees himself strengthening his brewing skills, increasing his knowledge, and immersing himself in the burgeoning Winnipeg brew scene. For now, he’s brewing 40-50 hours a week and using this as an opportunity to begin dialing in and improving his skills. Jeremy is completely immersing himself in beer.
I also took this opportunity to catch up on what’s new at Half Pints. The tap-room is up and running and looking darn fantastic. This has given Half Pints’ the opportunity to expand the use of their test batch system as they can put it on tap in the tap-room. This is something they are looking to do as often as possible, both to scale up and just for the fun of it. Some of the things in the taproom and will not be available anywhere else.
What Jeremy was able to share is that we will be seeing a test batch of Ol’ Glory (American Barley Wine) and a Count Chocula Stout coming soon. As well there is a Winter Spiced Red Ale that will be on the growler bars around the city as well as 1000 litres of Humulus Ludicrous (Double IPA) that’ll be on draft and growler only.
Throughout the year, we can expect to see a bunch of brand new beers and old favourites making their return. Given the tasting room, it’s given Half Pint’s the ability to have a beer with their customers and talk to them in a way they haven’t had the chance before. Aside from the test batches, Half Pints is also hoping to play around more with casks and pins to put twists on their beers for the tap-room. With the taproom, fully operation, I think it’s a good time to get into Half Pints and taking advantage of the tap-room.
I’ve got a follow-up with Little Brown Jug still coming this week and it is almost time for my Marathon month of posting on the Craft Beer Advent Calendar. Check out last years’ wrap up. This year, it’s Old World Breweries, New World Beers. Exciting.