For our interview this week, we head up to Canada and a brewing tapping in to that country's extensive links with Blighty!
Name: Ancil Hartman
Brewery: Heritage Brewing and Scotch Irish Brewing
How did you get into brewing as a career?
I started off washing kegs. The parents of a friend of mine owned a brewery. They needed help and I needed a job. Eventually, I worked my way up to brewing.
What is the most important characteristic of a brewer?
I think being open-minded and willing to experiment is really important when you’re brewing. What I like in a beer may not suit everyone else’s tastes so I need to keep that in mind when I’m creating new flavours. Being able to fix equipment is important too.
Before being a professional brewer, did you homebrew? If so, how many of your homebrew recipes have you converted to full-scale production?
I did a little bit of homebrewing at the beginning. I liked experimenting with full flavoured porters and stouts, styles I couldn’t find at the time in the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario - Ed).
If you did homebrew, do you still?
I don’t have as much time to homebrew now but I still get to experiment- just on a larger scale at the brewery. We also talk to a lot of homebrewers who come to us with questions about recipes or equipment so we try and give them insight into any hiccups they might across.
What is your favourite beer that you brew?
I like brewing our Black Irish Plain Porter. It’s really cool seeing all the dark malts come together to create this rich chocolate flavour.
If you have worked in other breweries, which other beer did you enjoy brewing, and why?
This is the only brewery I’ve worked in. Other brewers have come in and brewed with me and I have always enjoyed the brewing discussions.
Of the beers you brew, which is your favourite to drink?
My favourite would have to be our Sgt. Major IPA, but just below room temperature. When it’s a little less cold, it really brings out the flavour of the hops. It’s actually really addictive.
How important is authenticity when making a new beer, in terms of flavour, ingredients and method?
If you mean style authenticity then micro brewing is all about pushing the boundaries, using different ingredients, experimenting with flavours, and deviating from the norm. Micro brewing is equal parts style and creativity.
If you were to do a collaborative beer, which brewery would you most like to work with and why?
I’d like to work with Guinness. They’re the only company that is original enough to have their own category in the beer market. I mean, what other brewery has an international day devoted to drinking their beer?
Which beer, other than your own, do you wish you had invented?
Kilkenny. It’s one of my favourite beers to drink hands-down. Everything from the pour and colour to the taste and texture is smooth and almost creamy.