Today I have the pleasure of writing an article on my buddy, Jonas Hurtig. Jonas is a fellow beer lover (surprise surprise that we’d be friends) who also happens to be one of the best homebrewers that I’ve ever met. About a year back he made the jump into professional brewing. Soon one of his recipes will be released around the province as a seasonal one-off! So let’s get to know him a little bit.
A Little Background
Jonas is a true Calgarian, one of the few guys who I know that was born and raised here. Like most of us his love of craft beer didn’t start right away. It was in his early 20’s when he discovered Big Rock. Big Rock is the original craft brewery in Alberta so it has been the 1st craft beer for many Western Canadians. But it was around 5 years back when he really got in to the whole scene. Microbreweries from BC (Phillips was the 1st brewery that really had a major impact) and south of the border opened his eyes to the diverse world of flavourful & exciting beer. It’s such an amazing feeling when you make this discovery!
His 1st exposure to homebrewing was with his father who had bought one of those extract kits. The beer might not have been very good but the brewing seed was planted. From that point on he wanted to learn more about how to brew beer.
Armed with more knowledge he started formulating his own recipes and brewing all-grain 5 gallon batches. Since then there has been no turning back.
He began to enter homebrewing contests as a way to get constructive feedback on how to develop his skills as a brewer. This was a great move and helped him to improve even more. He even began winning awards for various contests with his pale ale winning numerous times around the country. I’ve had the pleasure of drinking Jonas’ pale and I can tell you that it is a well-balanced, delicious beer.
Once Jonas decided that he wanted to brew for a living he sought out the advice of his friend Brian Westcott of Alley Kat. He knew that it would require a lot of hard work and as an audio engineer, would result in a cut in pay; but sometimes you just have to follow your dreams.
Jonas is a big fan of Wild Rose’s beer so he thought that he’d speak to Brian Smith (Brewery Operations Manager) and it just so happened that there was an opening on the team! He jumped at the possibility of working there and began working as a brewer from the bottom up. Learning every aspect of a brewery is a great way to understand the complete process (remember, knowledge really is power). It might be tough work but it doesn’t really feel like work when you love it.
Eventually he began brewing test batches on the pilot system. All of the brewers do this in order to get ideas for future seasonal releases. Plus it is a great way to let out your creativity and desire to experiment.
The Big DIPA
One day Jonas brewed his recipe for a Double IPA and it really came out on point. It was so good that he sat down with Brian Smith to make a few minor tweeks to the recipe and get it ready to be brewed on the big system! In fact, they brewed two batches of his beer on July 28th, the same day that I met him at the Currie Barracks to interview him.
This is going to be a big, floral, fruity and pleasantly bitter DIPA with Bravo, Galaxy, Comet & Cascade thrown into the ring. The kind that you crave when you sort of have a thing for hoppy beers. With lots of dry hopping you should be greeted with a burst of aromatic hops when you dive in there for a sip.
I can’t stress how excited I am to try this upcoming seasonal release that was brewed by one of my good friends. I encourage all craft beer lovers to give it a shot and raise their glass for a cheers to Jonas & local craft beer!