Meet the brewmaster at Maize Valley Brewery

Maize Valley Brewery is one of about 244 craft breweries in Ohio, according to the Ohio Craft Brewers Association. The brewery, coming on the heels of a successful winery, opened Labor Day weekend 2014. Brewmaster Jake Turner has been at the helm from the start.

Maize Valley Brewery is one of about 244 craft breweries in Ohio, according to the Ohio Craft Brewers Association.

The brewery, coming on the heels of a successful winery, opened Labor Day weekend 2014. Brewmaster Jake Turner has been at the helm from the start.

His path to brewmaster wasn’t straightforward.

Turner is a veteran; an army infantry medic who served two tours of duty during the Iraq War. He joined the Alliance Fire Department after leaving the military. Turner currently is a full-time lieutenant with the department.

The station is where he found craft brewing. A few guys were homebrewing, and as a fan of beer, Turner was intrigued. A group from the station went to The Brew Kettle in Strongsville, which allows folks to try their hand at brewing with the help of a professional, and Turner brewed his first beer.

He was hooked.

He bought homebrewing equipment and went to work in his apartment kitchen, crafting beers in a stainless steel kettle on his stovetop. He soon was cobbling together more advanced equipment and trying his hand at different techniques.

“I just went nuts with it,” Turner said.

He’d been homebrewing for about six or seven years when he heard Maize Valley was looking to start a brewery. Turner started at Maize Valley with a glorified homebrew setup, making barely enough to supply the taproom for a weekend.

“It’s been an adventure going from a small little system to getting this guy in last year,” he said referring to the system the brewery has now.

Over the years, Maize Valley upgraded its equipment. And as the brew house was built up, Turner was learning from other craft brewers—getting work experience in their breweries and pouring through online brewing forums asking questions and getting advice.

Ohio’s craft beer community is active and welcoming. Brewers are supportive and willing to help new guys out, he said.

“We’re all really friendly with each other. I hang out with other brewers every chance I get,” he said. “They’re great people, they’re friendly, we’re all doing something that we love, that we can relate to. We all have the same problems in the brew house, and we can help each other out.”

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass