Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Holiday's From Great Canadian Beer Blog

Sorry for the lack of posting lately.  I've have recently been preoccupied with work related stuff (how have you been enjoying the winter issue of TAPS The Beer Magazine?) and have been on holiday's since the 23rd, which I will remain on until January 3rd. During that time I made a decision to try my hardest not to sit in front of a computer; meaning no blog posts.

I'll be resuming the blog after January 3rd with some new content, including more Meet the Brewers interviews along with more Meet the Bar Owners, and industry representatives. I'll also be contemplating a new direction with the blog - new ideas, more tasting notes, and I'll be getting back to writing about pubs and beer bars with more frequency again.

In the meantime, I hope all you dear readers had a great Christmas and are enjoying your holiday's with good beer and good cheer!

See you soon!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tree Brewing To Get LCBO Brewery Feature

As first reported on Bar by Chris Stirling, Director of Sales for Tree Brewing Co., the LCBO will be offering a number of Tree beers for a 'brewery feature' in 2012.

Through 25 stores across the province, the LCBO will be featuring five of Tree's beers, all in 650ml bottle format. Ontario residents will be able to find Raspberry Porter, Hefeweizen, Captivator Doppelbock, Hophead Double IPA, and a new beer the brewery has never released before.

I spoke with Stirling today by phone and he indicated that the 'brewery feature' will begin in May.

"We're very excited for the opportunity," said Stirling. "Having five of our brands featured at the LCBO is a great way to showcase our brewery to Ontario residents. And I really think that people will enjoy our new beer!"

Tree made its first foray into the Ontario market this past winter (February 2011) when the LCBO brought in a limited amount of Tree's Hophead Double IPA which promptly sold out within a week. The brisk sales helped Tree's year round IPA (Hophead) to get a listing with the LCBO retail system that North American Craft currently represents.

Canadian Beer News Dinner Series #2 Announced

Greg Clow, the publisher of the Canadian Beer News website, has announced the details for the 2nd dinner of his Canadian Beer News Dinner Series.

Scheduled to take place on Tuesday February 21st at Toronto's L.A.B. Restaurant (651 College St.), the 2nd dinner will feature beers from Etobicoke's Great Lakes Brewery, including a number of one-offs, which will be paired with the unique ‘cucina moleculare’ crafted by L.A.B.'s chef Howard Dubrovsky.

Tickets to the six course dinner are available for $95 per person including tax and gratuity by calling L.A.B. at . Seating is very limited for this dinner as only 20 are available.

More information about Great Lakes and L.A.B are available on Canadian Beer News.

Dead Frog Winter Mixer12 Packs Now Available In Ontario

It was back on April 7 of this year that I first posted about the Dead Frog Brewery coming to Ontario through North American Craft, and I received word the other day that the Aldergrove, BC brewery's Winter Mixer 12 Pack is now available at various self serve Beer Stores and LCBO combination stores.

The mix pack features 3 each of the following beers - Lager, Nut Brown, Pepper Lime Lager, and Mandarin Orange. Not earth shattering beers, but a good idea when introducing people to different flavours for the first time.

The Winter pack will be available until late March, which will then give way to Dead Frog's Summer mixer pack. Dead Frog will be available year round as a general list at retail.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Meet Patrice Godin - Acadie Broue Inc.

Meet Patrice Godin, the founder, brewer, packager, delivery driver, and more at , New Brunswick's smallest brewery. 

It is a small brewery. Godin produces his beers on a 50 litre system in his garage, right next to his car! He received his official permits to brew commercially in 2010 and brews four beers that are only available on tap at one location in Moncton - The Laundromat Espresso Bar. La Bringue won a bronze medal this year at the 2011 Canadian Brewing Awards in the North American Style Amber/Red Ale category.

Godin still has a full time job aware from his small brewery, but the response to his beers has him dreaming big. Many Haligonians had the opportunity this past summer to try a number of his beers as Acadie Broue was a participant at the Halifax Seaport Beerfest. 

Meet Patrice Godin!

You're a one man show! Where is Acadie-Broue situated and what beers do you currently produce?
The brewery is located in Ammon, a small community on the outskirts of Moncton NB. The brewery is literally 50 meters just outside the city limits as I was trying to avoid zoning restrictions. The brewery sits in a vacant un-heated garage. I currently produce four beers; a Saison called Tintamarre, a Sticke Alt called Patente, a North American Brown Ale called Bringue and a Dark Saison called Boloxée.

Describe the history behind the brewery.
My friend and I started a beer club in 2001. We we’re judging, analyzing and ranking 3 different beers every Wednesday. After three years it was getting hard to find new beers and the selection available at our provincial liquor corporation was stagnant. It was then that we decided to brew our own commercially to improve variety available to local beer drinkers. We’ve looked on the web and found a 50 litres electric system for sale in Québec and bought it in 2004. I’m still brewing on this system today. In the meantime my brewing partner moved on to start his own distillery.

I was initially brewing in my basement but the zoning was not appropriate to sell commercially so I had to move to Ammon. My brewery is so small that I was able to move it with my Mazda Protétgé. It took me 6 years to get all the permits to finally start brewing commercially. I have a full time job so it was hard to get it going but I finally gathered all I needed by mid-July 2010.

What's new at the brewery? 
I recently purchased a 23L oak barrel from a local Oktoberfest event and I’m experimenting with it. I never thought I would condition beer in a barrel but I love it. I’m currently developing a Berliner Weisse, souring one half in the barrel with lactobacillus before blending it back. I visited Berlin in 2008 and really enjoyed the style. It is one of the most complex session ales.

In 1943 a German submarine on a secret mission came to pick up POW escapees in my hometown of Maisonnette in Northern NB. The beer will be named after this secret mission (Kiebitz). We are trying to get in touch with the descendants of the German detachment and have them visit the site and most importantly try my beer of course.

Also I won a bronze medal in the North American Amber/Red Ale Category for my Bringue at the 2011 CBA. I’m really proud of the achievement since it was only my third batch for this beer and my first participation in such an event. I just submitted it out to see what component I could improve, it was a total surprise.

How did you get into the brewing industry?
If I can answer this question more philosophically I would say that I got into the industry because I wanted to offer Acadian themed beers to people who are curious or in love with our unique culture.

What is the best aspect of working in the Canadian craft brewery industry? 
As a new brewer I feel like we are still a small family closely knit together. The brewers are very helpful and willing to help each other out. The breweries don’t see the others as competition. The market is still fairly new and there is lots of room to innovate so to me it’s a great time to be a brewer in Canada.

Where can someone find your products?
I don’t bottle so my products are only available on tap. Currently there is only one bar serving it in town called located at 382 St. George Street in Moncton. This cosy café specializes in imported bottled beers and serves seasonal beers from local brewery on tap. It is a must see if you like beer and are travelling in Moncton.

Tell us something about the Acadie-Broue that not a lot of people know about.
When residents heard that I was moving my brewery in their neighbourhood they started a petition against the project. The document was presented at town hall the same night I was getting the OK from the planning commission. It added hours of deliberation but reason prevailed. Among their arguments; there will be a rat infestation, the traffic from transport trailers will increase and a spill could contaminate their water supply which would get the whole town drunk.

Really? Well, how is the local support now?
Excellent! The beer drinkers around here are just starting to learn about all the different beer styles. Personally I see this as an opportunity to teach them something by producing hard to find styles while they provide me genuine feedback on what they perceive in my beers. It was nerve-wracking to launch a Saison for my first beer in such an environment but the locals were open and ready to taste something new. They are now asking me to produce new styles.

What is the highlight of your brewing career - to date?
Definitely the launch of my very first beer in 2010. Nothing beats rising your own creation “legally” in a bar to toast with family, friends and supporters.

Name your favourite non Acadie-Broue produced beer?
With my beer club I take note of all the beers I drank and so far after 3000 beers my best ranked is a Düsseldorf Alt beer named Zum Schlüssel. I traveled to Düsseldorf Germany to visit the Alt breweries and this one alt was not only the best beer in town but my favourite ever. When you look closely at the style you’ll find everything you want in a beer; it is an ale with lager qualities and it is bitter yet malty, what else do you want.

Best time for a pint?
For me it is around 11h00 am. You’re well rested, you breakfast is long gone and your taste buds are ready to roll. In case my boss is reading I mean 11h00 am on weekends.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Brewery Market Back This Sunday - 'Twas the Beer Before Christmas

Twas the Beer Before Christmas
Time: 1 - 5pm
Location: The Stop’s Green Barn-Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie Street

Cass Enright is pretty excited about this Sunday; and with good reason. The founder of the Brewery Market has everything in place to welcome back the popular Sunday event, which has been on hiatus since October 23rd.

"We want to celebrate winter with the Brewery Market events this season. So we're embracing it head on with beers and food to warm you up, and blankets to stay cozy," said Enright.

The 1st 'winter edition' of the Brewery Market welcomes back Jason Fisher and his Indie Alehouse, who have brewed up a special Christmas Spiced Porter (with gingerbread) exclusively for the Brewery Market. Joining the special beer will be Indie's Breakfast Porter, Belgian IPA and Hoppy IPA. There will also be a Chinese Hot Pot, Buddha Dog hot dogs and fire-roasted artisanal marshmallows.

"I'm really hoping that 'Twas the Beer Before Christmas will become an annual holiday tradition," said Enright who has already announced the dates for the January edition (January 15th)

The Brewery Market takes place between 1 - 5pm with proceeds supporting The Stop Community Food Centre.

Sawdust City Ol' Woody Alt Release Party

Sawdust City Ol' Woody Alt Release Party
Time: 4:00pm
Location: The Monk's Kettle, 3073 Bloor St West

The Monk's Kettle, one of Toronto's newest craft beer bars (and not to be confused with the Monks Table), will be teaming up with the Sawdust City Brewing Co. on Thursday December 15th for the release of Ol' Woody Alt, the second beer commercially produced by Sawdust City.

Recently opened in Toronto's west end (Bloor and Royal York), The Monk's Kettle is a warm and inviting pub with a great beer selection to complement their simple yet enjoyable food menu. The release party will provide you with an opportunity to sample the Ol' Woody Alt, which Sawdust City brewmaster Sam Corbeil describes as, "a traditional Dusseldorf Alt, the quintessential session beer. Malt forward with bunches of bready munich malt flavour, its balanced with German nobel hops that give it a strong bitter kick on the finish. Great with hearty meat dishes or on its own on a crisp fall evening." It will also be paired with an appetizer prepared by The Monk's Kettle.

Samples of their Golden Beach Pale Wheat will also be available, the last of it until the summer.

The Ol' Woody Alt will be available shortly at select bars and pubs across Toronto.

Next up for Sawdust City - Lone Pine IPA

Monday, December 12, 2011

TAPS The Beer Magazine - Winter 2011 Issue Contents

TAPS The Beer Magazine - Fall 2011 Issue
Up front disclosure: It is no secret that I am employed by TAPS Media, the parent company of TAPS The Beer Magazine. From time to time I've posted material on this blog (before and after being hired) with respect to work that has appeared in TAPS. My intention when posting said material, and the material below, is only meant as news, nothing more.

p.2 From The Editor by Karla Dudley
when it comes to the sense of taste, what tastes good is not so simple…

p.9 Bar Snacks
coast to coast industry news

p.17 Did You Know by Oliver Dawson
Brewing in Africa has been practiced for well over 10,000 years! In fact, long before European settlers colonized different regions of Africa, indigenous brewers were making beer from a variety of ingredients including sorghum and maize.

p.18 Down The Hatch by Troy Burtch
Mike Lackey, one of the brewers with the Great Lakes Brewery in Etobicoke, ON, is known around Ontario as an experimental brewer who pushes boundaries the province hasn't witnessed before.

p.19 The Business Of Beer by Rob Symes
when it comes to the sense of taste, what tastes good is not so simple…

p.21 French Connection by Mirella Amato
Laura Urtnowski was twenty-six years old when, along with her boyfriend Bernard Morin and his brother Jean Morin, she founded Les Brasseurs du Nord in 1987. Better known by the brand name of its beers, Boréale, the trio’s brewery is now the second-largest craft brewery in Québec and still growing……

p.26 Trappist Orval by Chuck Cook
My last visit to l’Abbaye Notre Dame d’Orval in Belgium was in 2006 and there have been some big changes since then. First, the name has changed to the Orval Trappist Abbey brewery, and they have added a brand new state of the art brewhouse. Orval is located near Florenville in Luxembourg Province, close to the border of France, and was first settled by Benedictine monks from Italy in 1070. It has a long and turbulent history.

p.30 Adventurous Amber’s by James Burla
When most beer drinkers across this country think of beer in Edmonton, elaborate and international flavour is probably not what they think of first. Despite what the rest of the country believes, Albertans know that this is the case when one talks about Amber’s Brewing Company.

p.32 Beer Letters by John Holl
the 1-800 number on the packaging has led to interesting messages...

p.33 British Seasonal Ales by Martin Sayers
...when the white stuff does arrive it can lead to national panic and paralysis. Schools shut up shop, roads close and people are left stranded in railway stations and airports across the country as the transport system is thrown into chaos. Last winter even Heathrow, the world’s busiest airport, was a victim of the weather and planes were left grounded for days. However, one national institution that does not grind to a halt during the winter months is the pub. In fact, the UK’s hostelries tend to fill up with people seeking solace from the cold...

p.37 Confessions Of A Brewer by Sam Corbeil
I’m writing this latest article on the eve of my very first commercial brew. Well, not my first first, I’ve actually brewed well over a thousand commercial brews for a number of different breweries throughout the past six years, but this is the first time it’s ever going to be one of my own recipes that gets sent out into the world for public consumption and approval.

p.38 Best Beer Bars by Craig Pinhey
What makes a good beer bar? A place needs to meet one or more criteria to be a truly great beer bar. If it only meets one, it has to have a great beer selection. Even a total dive can be my local if it has the right beer. Other things like tasty food, tasteful music, friendly staff, funky décor and a ‘je ne sais quoi’ ambiance can combine to make an enjoyable experience, but without good beer it wouldn't even be an adequate beer bar.

p.40 City Of Hops And Barley by Matthew Bellamy
In the aftermath of the rebellions of 1837-38, British authorities sought to restore law and order to the upper colony. In 1838, they dispatched a bloodthirsty colonial administrator, Sir George Arthur. As the lieutenant governor of Britain’s main penal colony off the coast of Australia, Arthur had spent the last 14 years of his life literally whipping Britain’s exiled convicts into line. British colonial administrators hoped that he would do the same to the dissidents in Upper Canada.

p.43 The Impossible Porter by Matt J. Simmons
…a beer that grew up on the dusty streets of London should not be subjected to flavours that belong in a Chinese restaurant. Instead, it should swim with a dark, roasted flavour, like venison sausages that were cooked over a campfire or bitter black smoke wafting from coal-burning chimneys in 18th century England.

p.44 In Depth by Troy Burtch
The Moosehead story is an interesting one; dating back to the year Canada became a nation. From Susannah Oland’s humble beginnings in a backyard in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, to becoming one of the major brewing companies in the country, Moosehead Breweries Ltd. has been with us since 1867 and has been a significant participant in shaping the history of the Canadian brewing industry.

p.48 The Perfect Pair featuring Chef Donna Dooher
With over 25 years of professional experience in the kitchen, Donna has established herself as a prominent figure in the Toronto hospitality community. Donna expanded her successful catering business Avant-Goût in 1990 to create an intimate restaurant called Mildred Pierce. Built in the west end of Toronto’s warehouse district, Mildred Pierce introduced its guests to a unique dining experience and established brunch as a culinary trend in the city.

p.51 Women In Beer by Stephanie Whitaker
Marketing manager Olivia Bassa admits that when she was hired by Premier Brands about three years ago, she drank only wine and vodka. “I confessed in the interview. I didn’t want to waste their time or mine and admitted that I did not drink beer at all. Growing up in a Polish household, wine and vodka were the drinks of choice,” says Bassa. Not too long after she was hired, she vacationed in Cuba. “Pretty much all they offer in Cuba is rum and beer, and I can only drink so much rum and juice so I turned to beer. Not great beer, but this is when I first started drinking it,” admits Bassa. When she came back to Canada, she started trying different styles of beer. “I really started enjoying it.”

p.53 Adventures Of A Craft Beer Foodie by Tracy Phillippi
Brewers were ‘sustainable by accident’; they used fewer resources and drank locally produced beer because it was their only option. As Canada’s only historic brewery, producing unpasteurized and unfiltered ales without the use of electricity, Toronto’s Black Creek brewery has taken their commitment to pioneer sustainability to the next level by creating Canada’s first one-mile beer last November 2010!

p.54 Stews ‘n’ Brews by Chef Michael Olson
Winter brings out a certain survival instinct in Canadians whereby we will do our weekend errands but what we really want is to be at home where it is warm and there are great things to eat and drink (and where the always-fleeting possibility of the luxurious afternoon nap exists). This is the kind of weather that makes me wish for rich, braised things like curry or potpie or beef stew. These slow-cooked unctuous flavour bombs are a symphony of aromas and tastes, blended together and nurtured by gentle heat to yield a result that is greater than the sum of its parts.

p.58 Tackling That Titanic Turkey by Mike Tessier
The best beverage to pair with turkey is a seasonal topic that gets covered on just about every foodie website, blog and in all the major media outlets. It seems like every cork-dork and wannabe sommelier spew their thoughts on what fermented grape juice will take on the big bird. Most wine experts recommend an oaky white wine, while the more adventurous ones will suggest a Pinot Noir or a spicy Beaujolais Nouveau to wash down the large bird. They are all wrong!

p.60 Cheese Please by Sam Corbeil
Winter has arrived and we turn our attention away from those warm summer days of backyard BBQs and poolside patio parties, towards indoor dinner functions and fireside sing-alongs. ‘Tis the season for entertaining indoors, and what better way to entertain than by hosting a beer and cheese pairing soirée for your closest compadres?

p.62 Quaffs, Questions & Answers by Mirella Amato
interview with Chris Swersey, who began his brewing career as a homebrewer, moving into commercial brewpub production in 1992. His beers won several awards in American and international competitions. Chris attended the Siebel Institute, and also provided practical brewpub training for Siebel students while at Mickey Finn’s in northern Illinois. Chris now serves as Competition Manager for the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup, and as Technical Brewing Projects Coordinator for the Brewers Association.

p.66 The Great Gods Of Beer by Luke McKinney
Gods are useful, that’s why we have so many! Every major civilization has had a pantheon, from vaguely relaxed everything-spirits through bossy schoolteachers to soap operas about incest and killing each other. Gods provide excuses to celebrate, help when times are hard, and offer to take some of your problems away; by that definition beer itself is a god, which is why many cultures worshipped deities whose entire job description was telling us, ‘Beer is great!’

p.68 TAPS Holiday Shopping Cart
a few gift ideas guaranteed to please the beer lover...

p.71 Festive Beers by Jason Foster
On the Prairies, winters are always white and often cold. It is the kind of weather that makes getting into the festive spirit quite easy. Without a doubt, Canada’s Prairie craft brewers have no trouble slipping on their Santa hats. Want a light, spicy beer to go with holiday turkey? How about a rich dessert beer? Or maybe a hearty winter ale to warm you up on a frigid evening? Prairie brewers have it covered.

p.72 Editorial: Infected Or Infectious? by Craig Pinhey
…one person’s fatal flaw is another’s ‘value added complexity.’ I have often had to reword my wine or beer presentations after folks reacted to the word ‘infection.’ Strangely enough, that word has a negative connotation for some people! Now I might say a beer has “sourness that adds complexity” rather than “a Lactobacillus infection.” It is all in the nuances.

p.74 TAPS Pictures Of The Past
random pictorial moments from a year gone by…

p.76 Iron Brewer 2011 by Bill White
On September 30, 2011 the Black Oak Brewery was the stage for the 2nd Annual MBAA (Master Brewers Association of the Americas) District Ontario Iron Brewer Competition. Following the very successful format of 2010, Paul Dickey sourced and delivered a package of brewing materials to each of the eager contestants...

p.78 Carboys In My Laundry Room by Christine Beevis
When Ron Haigh announced to his friend Greg that he’d finally popped the question to his high school sweetheart of many years, the first thing his new best man proposed was that they get brewing.

p.81 Master Brewers Meet in Minneapolis by Bill White
when it comes to the sense of taste, what tastes good is not so simple…

p.82 Tasting Notes
Beers from across the country. This issue: Nutcracker Porter, Munich Eisbock, Christmas Beeracle, Obscur Désir, Frappabord & Russian Imperial Stout

p.84 Homebrewing Recipe by Eric Ecclestone
Spiced Imperial Porter

p.85 Sources
this issue’s contacts list

p.88 My Shout by Stephen Beaumont
Working on the beer beat as long as I have, I’ve witnessed plenty of growth. In Canada, across North America and around the world, what started as a modest ‘microbrewing’ movement has evolved into a craft beer explosion.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

TBW HomeBrew Competition - Weinberg's Kama Stoutra w/ Great Lakes Brewery

was one of the winning homebrewers from the 2011 Toronto Beer Week HomeBrew competition and his prize was a brew day with the Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Etobicoke.

Together with Great Lakes brewer, Mike Lackey, Weinberg brewed his Kama Stoutra Indian Imperial Stout that will be featured at the January edition of Project X (a monthly event hosted at Great Lakes). In this short video, Weinberg fills you in on the ingredients he uses to produce the beer and describes the experience of brewing his beer on a commercial scale.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Meet David Woodward: Tofino Brewing Co.

Meet David Woodward, the brewmaster at the Tofino Brewing Co. in Tofino, BC. 

Woodward came to Tofino after spending some  time with the Whistler Brew House, where he was known for brewing a number of big beers in a variety of different styles. He brought his experience (trained in England) to the small coastal town (pop. 1650), much to the pleasure of Tofino Brewing Co. co-owners Bryan O'Malley, Chris Neufield and Dave McConnell, who opened for business earlier this year.

The brewery has produced four beers for the locals (Tuff Session Ale, Hop Cretin IPA, Fogust Wheat Ale and Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter) who have welcomed the brewery with open arms. Tofino sells their product at the brewery in growler format, in two sizes actually. Tofino recently introduced customers to a smaller 1 litre growler, which joins has the popular 1.9litre growlers that locals continue to buy at a healthy rate. And, keep an eye out for Woodward's creations at your local (BC) liquor stores in the near future as it appears some Tofino beer will soon be bottled. 

Meet David Woodward!

Where is the Tofino Brewing Co. situated and what beers do you currently produce?
TBC is located on Industrial Way just 5 mins on the way into Tuff City if you're coming into town. Just keep your eyes out for some blue signs on the road pointing the way into our place on the left. Walk on in and we'll be happy to give you a sample our our craft beer and show you around our compact little brewery!

Describe the history behind the brewery.
I can't really take credit for the start of the brewery as I came in a little later.. The idea of starting a small craft brewery in Tofino had been kicking around in the back of founder Bryan O'Malley's head for quite a long time. Bryan, a Tofino local with a family history of brewing, began sharing his dream with members of the community who shared his love for great beer and was quickly able to put together a small group of partners. Soon after, Tofino Brewing Company was born.

What is your best selling beer?
Our best selling beer is our Tuff Session Ale which is a West Coast Style Pale Ale. As the name says it's a very sessionable and drinkable Ale. For complexity we use liberal English Specialty Malts for a complex body and toasty flavour and aroma. It is well bittered with Oregon grown Warrior and Cascade for flavour for aroma and has a nice subtle ester profile from our ale strain. I'm quite proud of this beer as we didn't take the easy route and feel we had to dumb things down for our customers by brewing a overly malt forward, somewhat sweetish Amber ale.

What's new at the brewery?
Well we've been open for less than a year so everything is new! We had a very successful start due to as soon as the doors opened the beer was flying out the door which is great feedback! We won best beer at the Mt Washington beer fest this summer for our Tuff Session which was cool. New beers next year will be some different seasonals and I'm happy to be bringing our Hoppin Cretin IPA on full time next year due to very enthusiastic response from our customers. Plus next year look out on your local shelves for some bottled Tofino Brewing Co beer.

How did you get into the brewing industry?
I started studying brewing in England back in 2002 and worked over there for a few years. When I came back I got a gig at the Brewhouse in Whistler which is part of the MJG empire. After five years doing the Brewpub thing I was looking to get back to my roots on the island. Once I got in contact with Brian O Malley and Chris Neufeld and heard their plan for a Brewery here in beautiful Tofino I was like "Sign me up!"

Tofino is a small place. How have the locals supported the brewery?
The locals have been extremely supportive of us, which has been great. From the months of construction to opening day we had all sorts of curious folk popping by and being really excited about having a truly locally own brewery in their town. People here are very supportive of local business and help each other out here in Tofino which I've really come to admire. I've also been pleasantly surprised how developed the palate for Craft Beer has been on the West Coast of Van Isle. We've had great feedback with our Hoppin Cretin IPA and hope to launch more interesting seasonals next year.

Where can someone find your products?
Currently we're on Tap at several locations in Tofino including Shelter Restaurant, The Maquinna Pub, The Dockside Pub and Restaurant, and Tuff City Sushi. We're expanding to a few locations in Ucluelet (or as the locals call it "Ukee") and have been in tap intermittently at The Alibi Room in Gastown over on the mainland for most of the past year. When you're in Tofino if you come on by the brewery you can purchase a growler with a fill or bring on by another 64 oz growler and we'll give you a refill.

Tell us something about Tofino Brewing Co. that not a lot of people know about.
We all like to wear flannel here? No everybody knows that by now..

Which Tofino Brewing Co. beer do you find yourself drinking most these days?
Most days Tuff Session Ale but recently i've been drinking quite abit of our newest seasonal Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter. I'm a big fan of good coffee and was quite happy to collaborate with Mike Farrow of Tofino Coffee Co. to select a variety of beans that would work well in our beer. We had a very strenuous afternoon of brewing various beans and roasts, spiking dark beers and sampling the results to see what worked best. Sometimes the lengths you have to go to in this job can really suck...!

What is the highlight of your brewing career - to date?
So far - this gig, honestly! After working for a larger corporate structure like my previous employment it's been a great change to be involved with a brewery from the ground up and to have a real impact regarding shaping brands, setting production goals, and just helping run a Craft Brewery!

Name your favourite non Tofino Brewing Co. produced beer?
I don't have specific favorites right now honestly... To sip and savour anything by Cantillon... For a dark beer North Coast Old Rasputin. And I have been known to reach for a IPA on occasion...

Best time for a pint?
Once the cleanings been finished, the FV temps been checked and the grains been measured out for the next days brew then bottoms up!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Meet Tariq Khan: Brewer at Big Ridge Brewing Co., Surrey, BC

Khan in San Francisco
Meet Tariq Khan, brewer at the Big Ridge Brewing Co. in Surrey, BC.

"Drink Fresh Beer" - Big Ridge is owned and operated by the Mark James Group who were established in 1976 and now has several other restaurant and brewery venues like Yaletown Brewing Co., Taylor's Crossing Restaurant & Brewery and the Brewhouse High Mountain Brewing Co. A native of Montreal, Khan has been the brewer at Big Ridge since 2008 after spending years working for breweries in the U.K., where he obtained his brewing education at the University of Sunderland.

Khan produces a number of styles for the regular line-up, including  rotating seasonals, one of which is named after him (Wrath of Khan Imperial Stout) and he is currently working on some new recipes that customers can soon try.

Meet Tariq Khan!

Where is the Big Ridge situated and what beers do you currently produce?
Big Ridge is situated in Surrey, B.C. Our present beer line-up is: Harvest Lager, Rodeo Red (pronounced Ro-dayo), Chimney Hill Wheat, Clover IPA, Old Sullivan Porter, and a seasonal which is currently "Wrath of Khan Imperial Stout".

Describe the history behind the brewery.
The Big Ridge Brewing Co. was opened in late 1999. We have recently re-located to a new location, (actually across the street in Spring 2010).

What is your best selling beer?
Our best selling beer is: Harvest Lager, however sales of IPA, Porter, and Seasonal have been steadily increasing over the years. We are developing our own beer scene here in the 'burbs', which is growing !

What's new at the brewery?
We currently have a new seasonal on tap - Wrath of Khan Imperial Stout (9%ABV). We also host a Brewmasters dinner every 2 months and a cask night every Friday at 4pm. This year Big Ridge won People's choice award at CAMRA Vancouver’s Fest of Ale – Spring Sessional on April 16th 2011 for it's "Pale Bitter" ale (3.6 %ABV)

Why did you get into the brewing industry and describe your passion for it.
I received, as a gift, a beer appreciation course that was taught at the University of Montreal. I had always been a fan of beer but at that time I was exploring the world of beer in much greater depth. I also got bitten by the homebrewing bug and soon developed a desire to go into professional brewing. I later (along with my girlfriend Trudy) packed up and moved to Sunderland, U.K. where I studied Brewing at Brewlab at the University of Sunderland. I spent another 5 1/2 years working for various breweries in the U.K. before deciding to move to B.C. and accepting the job as brewer for Big Ridge. My passion is an appreciation of the brewers art and a love of all beer styles.

What is the best aspect of working in the Canadian craft brewery industry?
The scene is constantly changing here in Canada and progressing. More and more people are getting into Craft beer. It's an exciting time to be a .

Where can someone find your products?
Big Ridge beer is mainly available at our brewpub on draft and cask. The only other location you can find our beer is The Alibi Room in the Gastown area in Vancouver.

Tell us something about Big Ridge that not a lot of people know about.
Big Ridge hosts a Brewmaster's dinner every 2nd month with a regular and Vegan menu. Big Ridge beers are unfiltered and vegan friendly(even cask)

What advantages do smaller breweries have over the big guys?
We have closer contact with the consumer especially in a brewpub, and we have more creativity especially when doing seasonals. Everyday there's something different to do in the brewery as well which keeps things interesting.

What is the highlight of your brewing career - to date?
Highlight: Coming up with new seasonals such as Belgian IPA and getting a great response from the beer/brewer community.

Name your favourite non Big Ridge produced beer?
Dieu Du Ciel "Corne Du Diable" (Horn of the Devil) IPA. Classic!

Best time for a pint?
Friday cask night after the brew day is over!

December CASK! Social

From CASK! Toronto

The next CASK! Social will take place on: Sunday December 4th
Time: 12pm
Location: Victory Cafe
Toronto, ON

Last Ever CASK! Social (until 2012)
Our friends at the Victory Cafe are holding a cask ale festival this coming Sunday, December 4, and we're all invited! Our last CASK! Social of 2011 will be part of the celebration. Yes, we know our Socials are held on Saturdays, usually from 3-6, but let it not be said that we're inflexible (at least now that some of us are doing yoga). The Victory Cafe Winter Cask Festival will begin at noon, upstairs at 581 Markham Street in the shadow of Honest Ed's. These guys don't think we're capable of drinking more than a dozen casks from nine of our favourite local breweries. They don't know us. The CASK! Social will begin at noon so we can get there before anything has run out, and will continue as long as you like (or until the beer runs out). There will be no admission charge for this very promising event.

We are aware that this is a busy weekend for beer lovers, what with a festival in Buffalo and our pal Ken Woods hosting an event at Black Oak on Saturday, but our funfest is way easier to get to, has a bunch of casks, doesn't require a passport, and you don't have to deal with annoying border guards in both directions (honestly, have you ever tried to go to Etobicoke?). Hope to see you at the Victory.
Newer Posts Older Posts Home

Winter Ale