It demands a bit of a trek, but Brampton’s Canadian Homebrew Supplies has everything you could ever need for DIY suds.
“I’ve got more equipment than most people can imagine,” says Randy Salamon, president of Brampton’s Canadian Homebrew Supplies shop. The small business grew out of Salamon’s 28-year love affair with making beer—but the affair was a tempestuous one. “I couldn’t find the parts or the ingredients,” he says.
So eight years ago, he stocked his garage with home-brew kits, put up a website, and started selling the stuff. His online business quickly grew to 12 storage units, prompting Salamon to quit his full-time gig as an automotive technician last year and open a brick-and-mortar shop with a large warehouse in the back. The craft-beer movement is spawning a new generation of home brewers, and this spot, one of the only dedicated home-brew stores in the GTA, is a magnet for DIY drinkers. Here are a few of the items in their arsenal.
1. Industrial five-gallon Igloo cooler
Perhaps it seems odd to use a jimmied cooler to heat up barley and water, but that’s just how home brewers roll. The spigot on this cooler is connected to a hollow circular mesh screen inside, which acts as a filter, draining out the sugar water (or wort) and leaving behind the used grains.
2. Bag of hops
Price: $1.69 to $3.99
Salamon’s hop supply is enormous, taking up two full-sized fridges. As beer’s main preservative and aroma agent, it’s a hot item: The store sells over 80 varieties in freezer-dried, nitrogen-sealed packs for maximum freshness.
3. Yeast vial, White Labs
The store sells live yeast from California’s White Labs for $10.49, as well as dry yeast packages for as little as a buck. We recommend you don’t cheap out on this stuff—it’s what converts the sugar and oxygen to carbon dioxide and precious alcohol.
4. 1 lb bag of pale six-row barley malt
Barley malt is roasted to varying degrees, lending the beer colour and flavours like bread, caramel, and coffee. Six-row pale malt is the most common base used in Canadian home brewing.
5. Emily Capper
Once the beer’s done fermenting, it’s time for bottling—use this handy capper to top it off.
6. Six-gallon glass carboy
After the wort is boiled and hopped, it’s ready to be fermented into beer with yeast. A carboy protects it from contamination—just make sure to buy an airlock for it, so gases can escape without dust and bacteria getting in.
Canadian Homebrew Supplies, 10 Wilkinson Rd., Brampton, 905-450-0141.