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Brewery recognized Fahr and wide

A Turner Valley brewery brought home the bronze medal for its German beer last weekend at the 2019 Canadian Brewery Awards.
Fahr CBA
Jochen Fahr enjoys a pint of Fahr Away Hefeweizen beer with their award from the 2019 Canadian Brewing Awards.

A Turner Valley brewery brought home the bronze medal for its German beer last weekend at the 2019 Canadian Brewery Awards.

Brauerei Fahr was nationally recognized for its Fahr Away Hefeweizen beer, ranking third in the Wheat Beer – German Style (Weiss) category.

Jochen Fahr, owner of Brauerei Fahr, and Nathan Ingram-Cotton, head brewer, said it considers themselves winners from the awards.

“It’s a Canada-wide professional brewing award with dedicated judges, highly educated ones,” said Fahr. “We’re waiting for the [judge’s] comment sheets that we are supposed to get back. We mainly use competitions as points of where can we improve ourselves, what are we doing right, what are we doing wrong.

“It’s a great marketing tool, because it’s recognition and the recognition always feels great.”

With his bachelor’s degree in biochemical engineering and a master’s and doctorate in biomedical engineering from U of C, it would be easy to think Jochen Fahr is overqualified.

Ultimately, brewing beer was in his blood.

“I grew up all around beer. My dad worked in two German breweries for 40 years, so I’d be on beer trucks helping deliver beer to people,” said Fahr. “And then biochemical engineering is all about using organisms to do stuff.”

Fahr started his brewery in 2015, after he moved to Turner Valley in 2008 following the completion of his studies at U of C.

“I started home brewing because all of the beers I was having here didn’t remind me of the beers at home, I was kind of missing them,” he said. “Even the imports weren’t quite the way I remembered them. I thought ‘well, I might as well put my education to use.’”

Born in the small town of Ebringer, home to 300 residents, Fahr said Turner Valley feels a lot like home.

“I come from a small town in the foothills of the Alps, so replace the Alps with the Rocky Mountains and you’re here,” he said. “It actually looks really similar.”

Adhering to the German Purity Law, the brewery focuses on the process of brewing rather than the ingredients, said Fahr.

This aspect is important to the brewery, as the backs of its shirts read: “I promise to never produce an orange blossom, cherry-infused chocolate porter… ever.”

The German purity law, established in 1516, was a provision to protect the consumer through regulating the production of beer to the use of hops, water, and barley, with yeast added as an allowable ingredient in 1993.

The purity law allowed for taxation and protection of food crops, while making the production of beer safer as some people were using toxic plants such as poison ivy, said Fahr.

“I call it Germany’s first food safety law,” he said. “By standardizing what can go into beer, it made beer a generally safe beverage to drink.”

As the only brewery in Western Canada brewing according to the purity law, Fahr has cornered the market to great success.

“Going through the pain of brewing according to the purity law offers us the opportunity to have really balanced beers,” said Fahr.

“I compare it a lot to cooking: what we do here is basically cooking on a really, really large scale.”

For brewers, the process is as much, if not more, science as it is cooking.

Describing themselves as yeast farmers and yeast janitors in turn, they describe the process of milling, mashing, boiling, fermenting, and carbonating and the role of enzymes as easy as saying what day of the week it is.

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