Summertime is prime for enjoying an ice cold brew. Ever tried making it yourself?
Jason Ooms opened the doors of Goldsteam Craft Brewing Supplies in March, but he’s been cooking up this idea for years.
He made his first beer in ’95 at a U-Brew in Surrey. As he toyed with the ingredients and worked through the process, he was hooked.
“It was the steam, actually. The wort boiling — I was in love with the smell right away,” he remarked at the counter of his downtown Chilliwack shop.
His time in the military took him from U-Brews to home brewing. “You make friends in the military, but you make them quicker when you brew together,” he laughed of the favourite downtime social activity.
When he left the forces and moved to B.C., he began contemplating the idea of opening a brew shop, better than the ones he’d seen travelling the country.
Ooms doesn’t claim to be an excellent home brewer, but he’s been at it for a long time and he loves the process.
“That’s why I think I can relate to most of the home brewers who are just experimenting and having fun, because I’m still having fun and I’m still learning,” he said.
Nevertheless, he’s proud to offer a great home brew supply shop that appeals to novice and advanced brewers alike with high-quality products at fair prices.
The secret to custom, hand-crafted, flavourful beer lies in the cozy Goldsteam storefront. Walls are lined with hops, grain, and yeast for visitors to craft their own recipes, or a plethora of Ooms’ curated beer kits for simplicity and guidance.
Some ingredients are local to Chilliwack, others from the Okanagan or elsewhere in North America. Specialty grain is brought in from overseas for those brewmasters who are all about the subtleties. Experienced brewers start right from the grain, while beginners have the option of bypassing that initial step.
His stainless steel kettles, like the 8-gallon ‘Brewbie’ or the monstrous 15-gallon, are custom-designed and equipped with temperature gauges and fittings to easily transfer the liquid.
Inside the kettles you’ll see immersion or plate chillers to quickly bring the wort down in temperature for ales and lagers. Then comes the fermenting process, for which Goldsteam offers various vessels in which the yeast can do its job.
Once the waiting game is over, Ooms also sells the brewer-preferred swing-top glass bottles for easy drinking and re-capping.
Whether a person is looking for ingredient assurance, cost savings, a great social activity or the sense of culinary-style pride that comes from concocting your own creation, home brewing has many appeals.
When he’s not in the shop, watch for Ooms home-brew demos at local farmer’s markets this summer, or the brew classes that he plans to offer.
“It’s about introducing people to what really is a simple process, and a fun process,” Ooms says.