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Brewer Interview – Backyard Brewing Company

Our July 2021 newsletter featured Backyard Brewing, in Delhi, Ontario.

OHGA:  When did you open the brewery?

Backyard Brewing: We received our Manufacturing License just before Christmas 2020, and began selling products February 2021.

OHGA:  Why did you decide to launch a brewery?

Backyard Brewing: When I first got really into brewing, my husband and I used to fantasize about owning a tiny brewery with a constantly rotating series of beers.  Then I went to school for the Brewmaster program at Niagara College, and was basically told that this is not how things work…..you need a million dollars minimum to open a brewery, you have to have Flagship beers, go big or go home, etc, etc..  So the idea dwindled, then I started working in the industry, met some like minded people who also wanted to own a tiny brewery with a constantly rotating series of beers, and here we are!

OHGA:  How did you come up with brewery name?

Backyard Brewing: We actually really struggled with the name.  It was a suggestion from one of John and Barb’s friends actually. 

OHGA:  What’s the cool factor/unique about your brewery?

Backyard Brewing: Mostly the fact that we have flagship styles, instead of flagship beers.  So there is anyways something easy drinking, something hoppy, something dark, something funky and something else, but they are never the same beers.  Our goal is to never brew the exact same beer twice.  I would say another unique factor is that, even though we have started as a contract brewery we are not in a typical situation where we have little to no control over the product.  We are brewing with our own ingredients, on our own system, just running under an existing brewery’s excise license to get going

OHGA:  Which brews are selling best?

Backyard Brewing: At the moment, our Milkshake IPA, but that’s the great thing with always releasing something different.  A few months ago it was our Wood-aged Rye Wit.

OHGA:  How do you decide which recipes to offer?

Backyard Brewing: Basically it has to be something that appeals to one of the four owners, who are all craft beer enthusiasts.  We are always looking for something we’ve never tried before, so why not just make it ourselves?! Especially if it’s something that pushes the envelope a little.  I never want to just make the same beers as everyone else.

OHGA:  Where do you sell your beer?

Backyard Brewing: At the moment our product is only available at The Blue Elephant Artisan Brewery, where I work as Brewmaster, but we are in the process of applying for our own excise license, which is a requirement to open your own retail store.  As Ontario opens up again, we are also starting to approach other venues for selling our product.  A number of bottle shops have opened up recently and we are interested in partnering with some of them.  Oh, and we also have some sales through Cheers! a local subscription box.

OHGA:  What is your favourite part of being with the brewery?

Backyard Brewing: Hands down – designing recipes

OHGA:  What part of your job do you not like?

Backyard Brewing: It’s all good, but cleaning tanks isn’t exactly fun!

OHGA:  Do you buy Ontario Hops?

Backyard Brewing: As much as possible. 

OHGA:  What factors do you consider when you are buying hops?

Backyard Brewing: With bittering hops, I’m really only considering the alpha acid content.  When it comes to aroma hops on the other hand, I am looking for unique flavour profiles.  I want the citrusy hops like everyone else, but give me something with some tropical fruit character, or some intense herbal and spicy notes, and I am very interested.

OHGA:  What advice would you have for Ontario Hop Growers?

Backyard Brewing: I would say a variety of aroma hops is key, especially if you have some interesting terroir, where the hop will be unlike other versions of the same variety.  Give me something I can’t find anywhere else.

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