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Over a pint, lovingly. from the Publisher

ike many Canadians, my first

education, and started to get to know the men

a wide communal fireplace, had become his

experiences with beer were a sip of an older

and women behind the malts, learning that

favourite spot – it really did feel like home.

sibling’s Moosehead when no one was looking,

any brewer worth their grain is good company

Standing in a beautiful new brewery with

a warm bottle of Keith’s hidden under my

at a bar – better even than their best brew.

bed for days until the opportunity to drink it

But, it wasn’t until moving to Victoria, BC

one of my oldest friends, chatting with the brew master, I was struck by the important

arose. A malty, sickly sweet experience shared

that the idea for this magazine truly took

similarities that unite Canadian craft brewers,

with friends around a bonfire, or, for whatever

shape in my mind – not only as a passion

as well as the wonderful idiosyncrasies that

reason, on a trampoline. And, like most people

project, but also as a necessary means of

make them special. Every day across Canada,

I know, I thoroughly hated it, until I didn’t.

bringing craft brewers and beer drinkers

and around the world, passionate people

together, across the country.

pour their creativity into something that

It wasn’t until moving to Québec – with its generous legal drinking age of eighteen – that I

One of my best childhood friends, Andrew,

rekindles old friendships, builds new ones,

realized that people brewed beer with purpose.

had recently moved to Nanaimo, BC. We

gets people excited, and makes people happy.

A different blend of hops and malts could spell

grew up together in the small town of

All across the country people, like Tyler at

the difference between something Maudite or

Sackville, NB, but after high school we went

White Sails Brewing, are making a strong

La Fin Du Monde. This was knowledge that I

our separate ways. After too many years, we

case for beer – real, flavourful, carefully

would internalize, but not do much with, until

found ourselves effectively sharing the same

made, conversation-provoking beer.

I found myself working in the service industry

backyard again; only this time, instead of

Canadian craft beer.

in downtown Toronto in 2009. All of a sudden

the marshes of Sackville, it was the British

I was expected to understand the subtle

Columbia coastline. Not surprisingly,

It is a tribute to their passion and hard work.

differences between beer styles and brewers.

rekindling our friendship was easy – we had

It is also a tribute to you: the passionate beer

While I can’t claim to remember the tasting

always been very close as kids – and it was

fan; you, the first time IPA drinker; and you,

This magazine is a tribute to those people.

notes I studied so hard, the lesson that I

made even easier by a new passion that we

the adventurous soul trying your first craft

started to learn in Montréal proved vital

developed separately, but could now share

beer – hating it, or loving it, but trying it, damn

again: beer matters, to people, and to the place

together: a love of craft beer.

it! Like craft beer in Canada, this magazine

and time it is brewed. When I found myself adrift after graduating

On my first trip to Nanaimo, Andrew took

is made, with love, for you. May you enjoy it

me to his new favourite spot: White Sails

(and the beer I hope you’re pairing with it) in

university, I did what any ex-server with

Brewing. The single room that makes up

good health. Cheers!

enough debt to match their ambition would

White Sails’ taproom, bottle shop, and brewery

do and threw myself back into the service

has plenty of exposed wood, high ceilings and

industry. Working at Stone City Ales in

a roaring fire. It wasn’t hard to tell why this

Kingston, Ontario, I continued my craft beer

beautiful old building by the sea, anchored by M A S H M a g a z ine


P r e m i e r e I s s u e | m ay j u n e 2 0 1 7

Thomas Gilbert Founder, Mash Magazine

trash pandas. great beer. Bandit Brewery proffers pints critters can’t wait to get their paws on. They might just steal your heart.

M ay

J u n e

2 017

P r e m i e r e

E d i t i o n

in this

2. Publisher’s Letter

Over a Pint, Lovingly

In This

Brewd ale and Beere Provided

The Siblinghood of the tr aveling bottle

“POP” Goes the Beer Scene

Captain Hancock

Milos Cr aft Beer Emporium, London O N

A Fox in the Hen House

4. Table of Contents

5. Contributors Whodunnit 8. Colophon The Story of Us 10. History 12. Brew Review

16. What Else They’re Doing 18. Brewery Profile

22. At the Bar: Profile 24. Brewery Profile

29. Not Wanted on the Tour

Adventures in Vintner L and and other stories

46. The Society

The Society of Beer Drinking L adies

Outlaw Brew Co.

52. Pictures

56. Come From Away

Drinking Your Way Around the Maritimes

62. Style


66. At the Bar: Profile

Ba r Stillwell, Halifa x, NS

Cr afty Chefs

Ba rHop, Toronto ON

Cr aft Beer is in the Passing L ane

What’s coming up

Ba d, Ba d, Not Good.

68. Food

72. At the Bar: Profile 74. Motor City 78. Festivals

80. Editor’s Letter

All photography by Paul Gilbert unless other wise noted.

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Nick Blagrave Writer & editor Born on the east coast, Nick Blagrave has been slowly moving west ever since. After graduating university he spent four years pursuing higher education in the downtown Kingston bar scene. He now works as a copywriter and lives in Toronto. Jason Foster Writer & educator Jason Foster is the beer columnist for CBC Radio in Edmonton and writes for a variety of magazines and outlets. He is also the creator of, a website devoted to craft beer on the prairies. He has been a homebrewer for more than 25 years and is a National Ranked BJCP beer judge. Paul Gilbert Photographer Paul Gilbert is an art director who takes pictures on the side. He has worked all over the world. But nowhere is closer to his heart than a craft beer tasting bar in Canada.

Rebecca Grima Writer Rebecca is a Toronto-based writer and marketer. Her gastronomy articles on Chuck Hughes, Grant Van Gameren and Curtis Duffy appeared recently in Embark.

Robin LeBlanc Journalist & author Robin LeBlanc is an awardwinning beer writer, owner of the, and the coauthor of The Ontario Craft Beer Guide, in stores now. She lives in Toronto. Robin is also part of the MASH Beer Review Panel.

Derek Harrison Writer and editor Derek Harrison is a craft beer professional and the Editorial Director of Apothecary Communications. A native of

Susannah Kiernan Journalist & author Susannah is a Toronto-based

Harrow, Ontario, his column “It’s Not Just the Alcohol Talking” for the Windsor Independent is one of the longest-running craft beer columns in Canada.

freelance writer and performer. Prior to this she was a weekly contributor on the beverage blog Bev Nine to Five and served as Managing Editor for the Fashion & Lifestyle magazine Chloe.

Ben Johnson Writer and editor Ben maintains the popular website Ben’s Beer Blog and was voted the

Susannah is a big believer that, “if you think you don’t like beer, you probably just haven’t tried the right one.”

“The Best Beer Writer in Ontario” at the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Golden Tap Awards. His writing about beer, politics, and the places where the two intertwine has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Life, Post City, blogTO, and Torontoist. Since April 2017, his southwestOntario focused beer column, Full Pour, has appeared biweekly in the publication Our London.

Alan McLeod Writer, lawyer, historian Alan McLeod has authored a number of books on brewing history and culture. He can be found posting regularly at He has a particular interest in the international beer trade from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. He can also be found leaning on a rake in his garden as the weeding gets put off... again.

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Heads up R&B Brewing in Vancouver got a big boost with investment from big league craft brewer Howe Sound. Both are heavy hitters. Knock it out of the park, team!

Prohibitively good. Walkerville Brewing Company is maintaining its ties to Windsor’s whisky-filled past with beers aged in Jim Beam bourbon barrels.

trailway brewing co., fredericton, NB

Trailway Brewing, with its lovely taproom right in Fredericton’s Northside Plaza, has made high-flavour American styles their focus and Hu Jon Hops IPA is a good example of how far they can go with it. A bright wheat colour with an opacity that light doesn’t seem able to penetrate, Hu Jon has all the appearances of a glass of juice. The aroma has a LOT of pineapple in it, with some serious primo dankness coming through.

Taste shows that, yes, pineapple is still very much the star of the show, though I’m also getting notes of other fruits such as cantaloupe and honeydew melon, with a moderate stab of pine hitting at the end, before fading into an almost creamy return of the cantaloupe.

the father

parsons brewing co., prince edward county ON

The fun thing about this imperial stout, part of the brewery’s new Devil’s Right Hand series, is that it was aged in a mix of Jack Daniels and Ardbeg barrels. And I gotta say, it packs a heck of a punch, sensory-wise, with the Ardbeg’s peatiness making the strongest presence. Heavy notes of cocoa,

black strap molasses, latakia tobacco, leather and hickory just take over. As it warms in the glass the strong barrel character becomes somewhat subdued, making for a really pleasant evening sipper.

‘shake your fruity’ milkshake ipa Cloudy, fruity IPAs are certainly a thing these days, particularly on the east coast, but a milkshake IPA is another thing entirely. This one uses lactose and actual apple purée in an attempt to create a true fruity milkshake effect. If your bottle has been sitting awhile, the sediment will have settled on the bottom, so you may want to rouse it by pouring into two glasses, then cross pouring until it is uniformly cloudy, to give a nice milky effect.

clearly present malt profile. The mediumfull body means that the beer can carry the hop bitterness and flavour without seeming out of balance. It finishes fairly dry and bitter, but still has some lingering malt. Good stuff.

6.2% ABV 6.3% ABV

At 6.3% abv, Sweet Leaf IPA has an opening nose of caramel malt, backed with fruity, floral, herbal – leafy – hops. The market is overrun with IPAs of all different styles, many defined by the variety of hop used in late additions for flavour and aroma, so Sweet Leaf is a little different, given its

Red arrow brewing company, duncan BC

r&B brewing company, vancouver BC

The result is a hazy beer with a creamy head and very fruity nose. Hop fruitiness might be confused with actual fruit on the nose – either way, it’s fruity! Bitterness is perceived as fairly mild, probably due to the lactose, creamy body (oats help with that) and general sweetness. All of these factors combine to make a pretty easy drinking IPA that carries its abv of 7.3% and 38 IBU very well.

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7. 3% ABV

Sweet Leaf IPA

6 .5 % ABV

hu jon hops ipa

[ o n righ t page ]

be the strange you want to see in the world no one brewing in western Canada would deny the influence from south of the border. Portland and Seattle have long been centres of gravity. But Fat Head’s in portland wins the prize for good-natured levity.

Captain Hancock L

ike most successful business stories, the idea for Side Launch Brewing Company came from two hockey players who were super bummed about the purchase of Creemore Springs Brewery by Molson Coors in 2005 (alright, maybe not all business stories, but some, surely). Located in Collingwood, ON, which has become a hotbed of quality microbreweries and brewpubs as of late, Side Launch is named for the deep-rooted history of shipbuilding that has fuelled the town since the late 1880s. In their words, “for over a hundred years, Collingwood was responsible for building lake freighters designed to fit through the narrow locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway. During World War II, Collingwood Shipbuilding was contracted to build 23 warships for the Canadian Navy. Due to the geographical constraints of the bay, these massive ships couldn’t be launched into water the conventional way: bow or stern first. Instead, they were launched sideways or ‘side launched.’ So how did Side Launch become so damn good at brewing Hefeweizen? The answer is a simple yet impressive one. Brewmaster Michael Hancock, who is responsible for the recipe, was the first brewer in Canada to serve unfiltered beer on draught, as well as one of the first in all of North America to brew a wheat beer. He originally developed his signature brew in 1989 at the now defunct Denison’s Brewery, and brought it to his new home at Side Launch, which officially opened its doors in 2014. With deep-seated roots in the Ontario craft beer scene, and passionate, knowledgeable experts backing it, it’s no wonder Side Launch is as successful as it is. And with Captain Hancock at the helm of this ship, there’s no telling how far they can go and what the future holds for this growing brewery.

Susannah Kiernan

Michael Hancock (left) with his team.

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Michael Hancock was the first brewer in Canada to serve unfiltered beer on dr aught, as well as one of the first in all of North America to brew a wheat beer.

side launch collingwood ontario

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Letterkenny this is not At first glance it looks like a low rider with a chainsaw tucked into the saddlebag. Crack open their Lager or the once-a-year Sweet LeaF IPA and suddenly it’s more like A Triumph bonneville and the open road. Bravo Red Arrow. in the cowichan valley, BC.

A Fox in the W

hen Josh Vanderheide decided to start a brewery in his home

Since opening, the brewery’s “East Abby” vibe has attracted

city of Abbotsford, BC, he knew it was going to have to do more than

varied strata of the community, from new moms and business types

produce great beer. Located about 70 kilometres east of Vancouver,

stopping in for lunch to the young professionals and beer geeks

Abbotsford, population 140,000, wasn’t exactly craft beer central in

hanging out in the evening. This community-feel feeds into Field

2015. The biggest city in the Fraser Valley has long been dominated

House’s other mantra: collaboration. Numerous events have been

by the big box stores so common to suburbia.

held at the brewery in tandem with local businesses, including yoga

Vanderheide felt keenly the lack of community in such an

on the “beer lawn” out front, and a recent bike workshop, while local

environment, where McDonald’s was the only place to simultaneously

ingredients are used both in the kitchen’s menu – which includes

keep your kids entertained and your belly full. So he set out to build

fresh pizza, grilled cheese, and tacos – and in head brewer Parker

a true community brewery, one that would not only produce a wide

Reid’s beer. “It’s really steeped in everything we do – who can we

range of beer from the accessible to the experimental, but would

work with? Who can we work with that we can showcase what they’re

also offer a place where locals of all ages could while away an hour or

doing and how can we use their product in our business so that we can

two. “I think community breweries can be the hubs of communities,”

truly be part of the community and not just say we’re a community

Vanderheide says. By all accounts, Field House has become just that.

brewery?” Vanderheide says.

Beyond the brewery’s whitewashed exterior is arguably the coziest

Another collaborative project began with a copper coolship. Built

brewery lounge in the province, all blonde wood and textured surfaces,

as a test model by Abbotsford-based Newlands Systems, this long,

with a log-burning fire and some very tempting armchairs. From the

shallow vessel, traditionally used to cool wort coming out of the

fireside there’s a peek-a-boo view of a newly installed kitchen led by

kettle, had never seen use before Field House asked if they could

Red Seal chef Bonnie Friesen.

borrow it. Vanderheide invited several breweries out to Abbotsford

Jan Zeschky

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Hen House Vanderheide felt keenly the lack of community in such an environment, where McDonald’s was the only place to simultaneously keep your kids entertained and your belly full.

T r avel

I have never understood why a refined palate and a penchant for spitting seem to be prerequisites for admission to some of Canada’s more charming destinations. It’s not that I don’t enjoy wine, but if we’re talking about spending long hours in the hot sun, snacking only intermittently, beer seems the obvious choice. Nonetheless, when my friends invited me to join them on a wine tour last summer, I agreed to go immediately, with admittedly ulterior motives. It didn’t take much searching online before I realized that the only thing keeping me from enjoying a pint of craft beer on a wine tour – aside from the possible judgment of my friends – was a lack of knowledge of the area’s breweries. I had a great time giving my wine tours the slip to sample a few local brews, and I know other beer drinkers – feeling stuck on a wine tour – will too. We sent a few of our contributors to Prince Edward County, the Niagara Peninsula, and the Okanagan Valley to create a bit of a road map for navigating wine country, and, with any luck, steering your wine tour to some alternative tasting rooms.

Thomas Gilbert

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County Road 12 Pale Ale is the perfect embodiment of what you should expect from

touring all day – you find you’re not the only one sneaking off in search of a pint. As you crunch down the gravel path between Hinterland’s (wine) tasting room and the County Road taproom you overhear a fellow sampler suggest to her partner that they split a flight of beer, saying, “I’m going to crash soon with all of this wine I’ve been drinking.” As you order your own flight – a Sumac Witbier, a Saison (recommended to you the night before at the pub), an enticing Belgian Dubbel, and a Pale Ale – a tray of oysters and a Smoked Fish Rillette arrive at the table next to you. Your stomach grumbles, and you turn the menu over, knowing what to order. The Sumac Witbier is a new addition to the tap list that pours a light yellow and tastes of cloves and Belgium. This is the perfect wine-to-beer transition, a pleasant discovery that deserves a toast. Your friends arrive at your table at the same time as the oysters, lucky for them as the taproom is almost entirely full – groups by the door are sharing flights and ordering

a county cr aft beer : equal attention to both the malt and hop char acters of every brew.

takeaway bottles. Eccentric and genuine servers buzz around the comfortable, airy taproom that opens on to a patio – nearly full as well – and a splendid view of acres of sun-dappled grape vines. With a bit of spice and a slight hop edge often lacking in this style, the Saison does not disappoint (you remember to thank the bartender at County Canteen for the recommendation on your way back). The Belgian Dubbel pours an attractive dark brown, sweet without being cloying, complete with the expected toffee notes, and a slightly toasted finish. Your flight finishes with County Road 12 Pale Ale (lovingly named after a dirt road to their favourite fishing spot), a well-balanced beer with citrusy, pine notes up front mellowing into a satisfying bitterness. At 32 IBU,

County Road 12 Pale Ale is the perfect embodiment of what you should expect from a county craft beer: equal attention to both the malt and hop characters of every brew. Flight completed, you amble over to the bottle shop before heading out to the next few wineries in the area (The Grange, Broken Stone, Closson Chase, and The Old Third). Next, it’s time to rally the troops and head to Parsons Brewing Company, on County Road 49, in Picton. Everyone at Parsons wears their mission statement on their sleeve. Committed to local production and sustainability, the brewery and pub are housed in a charming building cobbled together from half of an old parsonageturned-blacksmith’s shop (hence the name) and an old county homestead. With an impressive number of beers for such a new outfit (including three stouts, each with its own barrel aged counterpart), and a blend of Mexican and Southern Comfort foods, Parsons is the fashionable place for late lunch, and a necessary punctuation for any overworked wine tour.

Farmer’s Tan Harvest Ale is Parsons’ flagship. Pouring a dark amber and with a heavy malt backbone, Farmer’s Tan has just enough hop bitterness (thanks to fresh whole cone hops) to quench the thirst brought on by gargling one too many pinot noirs. Westy Pale Ale – lovingly named after the brewery’s Volkswagen Westfalia delivery van – is generously hopped, and perfectly refreshing – a solid choice for lunch outside on Parsons’ expansive property, soon to be covered in grape vines and hop fields. If anyone in your party needs rousing, suggest they try Grandpa Miguel’s Coffee Stout. Brewed with beans flown in from coowner Samantha’s father’s coffee farm on the volcanic coastline of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala and roasted locally at County Roasters, it has the right balance of roasted malt and roasted beans to satisfy stout lovers and caffeine addicts alike. Delicately hopped, like so many of the Craft Beers in the County, at the end of the rigorous day

... at the end of the rigorous day you’ll be gr ateful for the bottle or two you added to the growing collection in the trunk.

who have tolerated your inventive touring so far, but whose patience has been slowly eroded by the sun and the Chardonnay. (The Scrimshaw Oyster stout is a staple for seafood restaurants across Ontario, and is well worth popping in for.) Sunday, 10:30am, Wellington, Prince Edward County.

you’ll be grateful for the bottle or two you added to the growing collection in the trunk of your taxi. Your friends have just a few more wineries in mind en route to Wellington, and your rooms at the Drake Devonshire. The other side of Picton, on Loyalist Parkway, you convince them to make a quick stop at Barley Days Brewery. Barley Days, the first craft brewery in Prince Edward County, has been in operation since 2007. Without much of a tasting room, Barley Days is perfect for a quick sampling and a takeaway mission, guaranteed not to raise the ire of your wine-obsessed friends

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Perched on the edge of the lake in Wellington, the Drake Devonshire’s dining room is an ironic late-night Las Vegas wedding of country kitsch and Toronto hipster sentimentality. From the olive green leather banquette seats and bright yellow camping lanterns to the vaulted ceiling and knit-wool-clad steel beams, what’s most impressive is not the pop-art aesthetic or the astounding view, but the fact that the whole place has managed to exist without too much arrogance or pretension. The staff members at the Drake Devonshire are cut from the same


Robin LeBlanc

Barrels de saison Bière du Garde versus Côte des Gardes


f course wine geeks get excited about the Niagara region: the peninsula is scattered with nearly 100 wineries, with doubtless more on the way. Once you drive a little ways beyond the gaudy Niagara Falls Clifton Hill area, the buildings get smaller and fewer, and the most common view out the car window becomes rows and rows of grape vines. As one of the best sources for Icewine in Canada, it’s no surprise that wine tours are constantly happening in Niagara, nor is it uncommon for many a wine enthusiast to spend a weekend or more exploring the fine establishments to be found there. But what about those travelling with a wine enthusiast? What is a beer drinker to do on the Niagara Peninsula? Thankfully, lots. While Niagara boasts nowhere near as many breweries as wineries, the two local industries are bonded by the same passion for quality and

complexity while featuring the welcoming aesthetic the region is known for. The peninsula is home to many who opt to leave the wine, but take the barrel for some interesting aging projects. Of note are three such breweries that are near enough to the vineyards that you can sneak away from a wine tour to visit them, and are of a high enough calibre that you needn’t feel any less classy or refined. The natural first stop, and the one least likely to offend the sensibilities of any wine drinkers you might be with, is Niagara Oast House Brewers. Located in a bright red barn among vineyards on Niagara Stone Road, Oast House originally opened in 2012 and immediately put a focus on farmhouse-style ales, leaving plenty of room for experimentation in recipes, bottle conditioning and barrel-aging. Their year-round offerings include a bottleconditioned Saison with flavours of herbs M A S H M a g a z ine


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and bright lemon, an earthy Bière du Garde with hints of dried berry, and Barnraiser, an American Pale Ale with notes of grapefruit and peach. Seasonal and experimental beers include anything from a Belgian Wit to a unique take on a Dutch Koyt. To accompany their delicious beer is mouth-watering food brought forth by two chefs with two different approaches. Chef Adam Hynam-Smith and his team at El Gastronomo Vagabundo provide dishes on Friday evenings and Saturdays during the day, and take their inspiration from street food found in all parts of the globe, from Korean BBQ burgers to fish tacos. Chef Charlie Clowes of the Ello Gov’na food truck, stopping by on Sundays, strives to create modern fusion takes on British cuisine like a spicy Chinese-style scotch egg, while also serving longstanding English favourites like pasties. Top off excellent beer and food with the gorgeously rustic

venue, which includes a spacious taproom, luxurious patio, and a breathtaking upstairs event space that overlooks a field of grape vines, and you have one amazing Niagara beer experience. Just down the road you’ll find, in the small community of Virgil, one of the early breweries on the small-town Ontario scene and, as it so happens, a fantastic stop for a short lunch and a flight. Those familiar with Silversmith Brewing may only know it for its flagship beer, a black lager that has been making the rounds through bars consistently since 2011. But going direct to the brewery, itself a beautifully converted

Those familiar with Silversmith Brewing may only know it for its flagship beer, a black lager that has been making the rounds through bars consistently since 2011.

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century-old church, you’ll find a larger selection of beers that show they’re so much more than a one trick pony. Longstanding favourites include the Bavarian Breakfast Wheat, with hints of banana, clove, and graham cracker, the Hill 145 Golden Ale, with flavours of apple and peach, with a lovely malt backing and a slight bitter note, and the ever-popular seasonal Tide & Vine Oyster Stout, a collaboration with the brewery’s food partners Tide & Vine. While the many varieties of oysters with housemade sauces are a fan favourite, the biggest hit is the Po’ Boy of the Month.

Image courtesy The Exchange

Enticing beers such as their Witbier, aged in Hungarian oak and featuring heavy or ange notes, and a delightfully sour Flanders Red Ale aged in local red wine barrels...

Finally, right in the heart of downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake is one of the region’s most talked about brewpubs, The Exchange Brewery. Exchange, taking its name from the telephone exchange that the building once housed, was recently named Canadian Brewery of the Year at the New York International Beer Competition, and for good reason. This modern space features a number of elements, from its unique interior with a telephonic theme to its modest menu of food, that make it stand out. However, all of those things are secondary when compared to the creative

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efforts of Head Brewer Sam Maxbauer, who brings experience from his previous job at the famous Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Michigan to the table, creating a wide range of beers that entice the palate and excite the imagination. Beers such as their Witbier, aged in Hungarian oak and featuring heavy orange notes, and a delightfully sour Flanders Red Ale aged in local red wine barrels, are an excellent indicator of the level of talent held at Exchange, from the brewing side right down to the folks involved in their barrel-aging program.

The okanagan valley

Joe Wiebe


uch like the Niagara Peninsula, the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia (Canada’s second largest wine region, with 8,619 acres of planted vineyards) has been an attraction for wine lovers for over twenty years. Luckily the Valley has its own emerging craft beer scene, as passionate as those in Prince Edward County and the Niagara Peninsula, and as much a proud part of the local culture. Starting just north of the border between the United States and Canada – with no wall in sight yet – your first chance to carve out space for a good pint of craft beer in your wine-heavy itinerary is in Oliver, British Columbia. The highway signs exclaim that you’re entering the “Wine Capital of Canada,” but fear not. Among all those vineyards and wineries, you can extinguish your thirst for beer at the Firehall Brewery, run by a local musician named Sid who started home brewing in his dorm room at university and has never looked back. The Firehall’s downstairs Beer Shop & Social tasting room offers draught beer, snacks, board games, and regular events. The brewery also hosts a series of Back Alley concerts in the warmer months. As you make your way into the Valley, through White Lake Grasslands and Vaseux protected areas, and along the west side of Skaha lake, you’ll find Penticton, nestled at the bottom of Lake Okanagan. Penticton is home to the oldest brewery in the region: Tin Whistle Brewery, which opened there in 1995, the same year as the birth of the Okanagan Fest of Ale, an annual two-day festival in early April. Since 1995 Penticton’s beer scene has expanded to boast four breweries and a quaint brewpub called the Barley Mill. Cannery Brewing, which opened in 2000, has recently moved into a new downtown location with a popular tasting

The Okanagan room. Nearby is Bad Tattoo Brewing, opened in 2014. Its custom-built facility within sight of the beach includes a popular pizza restaurant and a solid range of beers. Filling out the scene in Penticton with Tin Whistle, which moved into Cannery’s original location in the Cannery Trade Centre, is the newest arrival, Highway 97 Brewing, which took over Tin Whistle’s original building when it moved out. Heading further north towards Kelowna, you’ll find one of the Okanagan’s newest breweries in Summerland, about 15 minutes north of Penticton. A small operation, the very newly opened upstart Detonate Brewing is only open Fridays and Saturdays.

The highway signs exclaim that you’re entering the “Wine Capital of Canada,” but fear not, among all those vineyards and wineries, you can extinguish your thirst for beer.

If you’re not in town on a Friday or Saturday, your next craft beer stop lies 35 minutes north in the beautiful city of Kelowna. Head north on BC Highway 97, and make sure your navigator keeps an eye on Lake Okanagan, in case of a sea-serpent sighting. Tree Brewing started the Kelowna craft beer revolution in 1996, and was joined by Freddy’s Brewpub five years later. It took some time for another microbrewery to join the scene: a second operation run by Tree called the Tree Beer Institute, housed downtown right next to Waterfront Park

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where the annual Great Okanagan Beer Festival has been taking place every June since 2015. Now, twenty years later, Kelowna is home to several other breweries: BNA Brewing, named for the historic BNA Tobacco building in which the gorgeous restaurant/brewery is located; Kettle River Brewing, just around the corner from Tree; and Boundary Brewing, closer to the airport to the north of the city. Two more breweries are slated to join the scene very soon: Red Bird Brewing will open across the street from Tree, and another operation is in the works across the floating bridge in West Kelowna. Vernon, BC, a 45-minute drive north of Kelowna, past McKinley Landing, Pixie Beach, and Kalamalka Lake, is the northernmost point of our Okanagan Valley Wine-turned-Beer Tour. Vernon is the home of the Okanagan Spring Brewery, which was one of the early leaders of BC’s craft beer movement in the 1980s and 1990s. Okanagan Spring Brewery eventually ceded its status as an independent brewery when it was bought by Sleeman Breweries and then, ultimately, Sapporo Brewing. Happily, craft beer returned to Vernon in 2015 when the Marten Brewpub opened downtown at 30th and 30th next to the Naked Pig BBQ Smokehouse, which is also run by Stefan and Pearl Marten. As you may have suspected, Canada’s most popular wine-producing regions have created tourist-fuelled havens that nurture more than just the vintners whose initial undertakings created the scenes. Just as any developing art scene becomes its own catalyst for creation, innovation, and culture, the wine counties of Canada are, and will continue to be, hotbeds for people who are committed to creativity and quality in craft brewing.

“It kind of took on a life of its own before we really had a choice. We knew there’d be lots of women in the industry, but we underestimated how exciting it was for women to know that other women were drinking beer.”

the Society Jaim e D obbs, c o- fou n der


t started unassumingly enough. A group of five women planned

“It’s just become this organic thing that’s changing.

to hold a decidedly small, women-only gathering; depending on

We didn’t plan for it to be such a massive thing. We showed

whom you ask it was a bottle share, a house party, a networking event,

up at the right time and women latched on to that and it just

or something else entirely. It’s not clear exactly what it was supposed to be, because the event I’m describing never actually happened – something much larger did. In 2013, Erica Campbell brought together Jaime Dobbs, Jen

grew from there. There’s no way that we could have grown it to this size by just trying... that’s the amazing piece about it.”

R en ee N ava rro, c o- fou n der

Reinhardt, Renee Navarro, and Magenta Suzanne. She knew each

That first event, held in January 2014 at the Jam Factory, became

of them through different avenues and had, at different times, had

the model for their bevies held on the last Friday of every month

conversations with each about getting together to drink good beer.

through 2014 and 2015, with a portion of the proceeds going to the

So, when she had the idea to form a “secret society” of beer-drinking

Canadian Women’s Foundation. It wasn’t the first women’s-only

women, she invited them out for a beer at the former Two Bite Saloon

beer event in Toronto, but it had one key difference: most similar

in Toronto, and told them what she had in mind.

events were either focused on beer education or were paired with

That night, the newly minted Society of Beer Drinking Ladies

other activities traditionally considered feminine, such as yoga and

decided they should put on an event in Jaime’s living room.

beer, cross-stitch and beer, etc. Instead, this event did something

SOBDL’s first “bevy” was planned as an informal, relaxed event for a

completely different – it assumed women already loved to drink beer.

small group of women to get together, hang out and drink beer.

It turns out this simple assumption would be the secret to

They were expecting 20 or 30 women and they put some $10 tickets

their success. SOBDL based their entire organization around the

online for good measure. Before they knew it, nearly 100 tickets

philosophy that women don’t need a reason to drink beer, they

were sold and they had only three weeks to find a venue that could

just want a place to drink it. Once the SOBDL had created a beer-

accommodate them and some local craft breweries to provide the

drinking space specifically for women, they had satisfied the only

beer. The Society was born.

necessary condition for women to show up.

Derek Harrison

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“It’s just a really great atmosphere that happens at these events. The

“A lot of women don’t want to go into a bar by themselves and

room feels powerful when that many women get together, and it

try a bunch of different beers. So knowing there is a space that was

happens every time. It’s hard to describe – that’s why I say you just

women only is such a great thing. Providing a safe space for women

have to come to a bevy to see for yourself.”

of all backgrounds to hang out, have a great time, try some great beer

Jaim e Dobbs, co- fou n der

and feel safe, be able to meet likeminded women, and do some good

“The energy is amazing. We’ve all had women come up to us

because we donate to the Canadian Women’s Foundation.”

who say ‘I’m here by myself, I’ve had so much fun, I’ve never

Re n e e

Nava rro, c o- fou n der

come to an event, I am going through a break-up, I’m feeling

By 2016, the society had outgrown their bevies and in March SOBDL

kind of lost and I just made like 10 new friends.’ It’s turned

launched Canada’s first ladies-only beer festival, held at Evergreen

into a really powerful, feminist community and people are

Brickworks in Toronto. When 600 tickets went on sale at the end of February, they sold out in the first 36 hours. SOBDL repeated that feat

legitimately making friends at our events. The central point

with a second festival in November, held at the Artscape Wychwood

is not the beer, the central point is the togetherness.”

Barns, and returned to Evergreen Brickworks for the second time on

E r ic a C am p bell, co- founder

March 31st, having increased the event capacity to 1000 women. Again,

When they started these events, even the founders of SOBDL

tickets were sold out more than a month prior to the event.

didn’t know what to expect. Having a hundred women together in a

This is unprecedented among craft beer festivals. Other events

room (with no men) enjoying beer was something not many of them

can’t match the speed at which the SOBDL – a festival where half of

had experienced before – and women loved it. Almost by accident,

the population isn’t even allowed to come – sells their tickets. As the

they had identified a huge unmet demand in the beer drinking mar-

popularity of these events keeps growing, there is a loyal group of

ket. Beer has always been a curiously male space, thanks in part to a

devotees who have been attending since the very beginning. Among

century of male-centric marketing by breweries large and small that

these are their dedicated volunteers, some of whom have participated

continues to this day and has led to half of the population feeling

in nearly every event that the Society has thrown, putting in two hour

excluded – or worse. When you take men out of the equation, it em-

shifts in exchange for free tickets and beer.

powers women to take ownership of their identities as beer drinkers.

With their biggest event yet, the second annual festival at

“I think that breweries are starting to catch on, and everybody is

Evergreen Brickworks just completed, the SOBDL have more plans

starting to catch on in the beer industry, that the women’s segment of

in the pipeline. They are in the process of working with the LCBO

the market has been ignored and that it’s very important that women

to produce a series of one-off, women-brewed SOBDL beers for the

beer drinkers are recognized, from both an equity standpoint and

LCBO Growler Program, planned for the early summer. Beyond

from a financial standpoint.” E rica

that, who knows? Franchising opportunities? Taking the bevies on

Cam pbell

Within craft beer, some strides have been made to create a more

the road, touring other major Canadian cities and throwing more

inclusive drinking culture. Craft breweries stand in opposition to

women’s only beer events outside of Toronto? Whatever is next, the

big brewers, who are largely responsible for reinforcing the idea of

SOBDL has no plans to slow down.

beer drinking as a boys-only club. As a result, craft beer has been vastly more successful among female consumers. Unfortunately, assumptions and prejudices run deep and craft beer still has a sexism problem. Sometimes it’s men at festivals who mistakenly think sexual harassment is just fun and games. Sometimes it’s self-appointed craft

“It became a really amazing community for women to network on all levels outside of beer, make friends and be a part of something. It’s pretty incredible that it became a movement beyond just women drinking beer.” Jen R ein h a rdt, c o- fou n der

beer experts who think they know more about beer than a woman possibly could. Sometimes it’s brewers who think that women only drink light or fruit-flavoured beers.

With 31 events under their belt, even their regular bevies (held more intermittently now) have been known to pull nearly 500

Both within and outside of the craft beer space, how often do you

women. Over the last two years, SOBDL has taken on a life of its own.

see women going to a bar, brewery or event by themselves? There are

Gone are the days when the founders threw these events as much

still too few places for beer drinking ladies to feel safe, comfortable

for themselves as for their guests; the Society’s bevies and festivals

and respected.

have grown so popular that the organizers have to be on the clock at

“We clearly hit the nail on the head with finding the need in the market, or the need in society, for this to happen.”

E rica C a m p bel l

all times. From five women the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies has become thousands.

Photographs provided thanks to The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies: by (in order) Taylor Shute, Renee Navarro, Brilynn Ferguson.

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rinkotourism, like Ecotourism, is a term coined for holidays planned around a specific hobby or interest. In the case of drinkotourism, the search for a good drink – whether beer, wine, spirits, or any other beverage of the fermented variety – is the laudable hobby in question. Over the past five years, the Maritimes have become a thriving drinkotourism destination; arguably Canada’s best when you consider the beauty and history of the region, not to mention its friendly reputation. Although all of the great little breweries that have opened are perfect for beer hunting, the true success of the Maritimes as a craft beer destination comes from the fact that many of these breweries are in small towns dotted around the gorgeous coastline of the Maritime Provinces. The result of this being that there are many


A l o c a l’ s g u i d e t o d r i n k i n g y o u r w a y a r o u n d t h e M a r i t i m e s beautiful sights and great adventures to enjoy in addition to the great beer. Nova Scotia has the most active beer scene, but the other provinces aren’t far behind. What could be more fun for a beer lover than touring an historic site or strolling beautiful beaches and coastal trails, ending up at a cozy pub trying the fresh local brews? It wouldn’t be practical to list every such place in Nova Scotia, nor every brewery, but this guide will give you some good examples of places that combine the beauty of the east coast with good local beer. While exploring you will surely find others, as new breweries are popping up by the dozens. How you arrive in Nova Scotia – the ferry from Portland, Maine to Yarmouth (in the summer), the ferry from Saint John, NB to Digby (all year round), a flight into Halifax, or a drive across the border from NB – will, M A S H M a g a z ine


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naturally, dictate how you start your tour of the region. If you’re starting in Yarmouth, your first stop is Rudder’s BrewPub downtown, a short walk from the ferry. Rudder’s is located on the site of the region’s first brewpub, The Queen Molly, which opened in 1996. The Queen Molly was purchased by new owners in the early 2000s and has been Rudder’s ever since. They brew their own beer at this historic waterfront location, and, while the Yarmouth Town Brown is a sure thing, you should be sure to keep an eye out for seasonal brews, too. Rudder’s is a great spot to enjoy a beer and some fresh seafood while watching the boats in the harbour, with a great view of Doctors Island, usually dotted with seabirds. While in the area it’s worth the drive to the Cape Forchu Lightstation

from away. Craig Pinhey

Museum, as beautiful as Peggy’s Cove but far less of a tourist trap. If you want to stay in the area, check out the B&B options in town, or the Rodd hotel. As you head further down the South Shore back towards Halifax, you’ll come across Boxing Rock brewery in Shelburne, a quaint seaside town. Boxing Rock ships their beer all around the region, but you can find them on tap in their own hospitality room or at the local yacht club. The South Shore of Nova Scotia is one of the most beautiful parts of Canada, which you will quickly notice as you make your way along, sticking to the old highway and occasionally veering off down smaller roads to get right next to the ocean, a beach, or a rocky shore. Stop in Liverpool to try the beers of Hell Bay at Lane’s Privateer Inn, another great place to eat and stay. You can

also find local micro brews at nearby White Point Beach Resort, a popular family getaway with a stellar beachside location complete with wild rabbits you can feed. The gorgeous, historic Lunenburg, home of the Bluenose schooner, is just a short drive away, right next to the tiny, picaresque town of Mahone Bay. Saltbox is a new brewery in Mahone Bay, and FirkenStein is in nearby Bridgewater. Lunenburg has several good pubs, restaurants, and inns, including The Knot Pub and The Grand Banker – avid supporters of local beer and wine – and the decadent Fleur de Sel inn and restaurant. It is only an hour drive to Halifax from Mahone Bay and you’ll want to find a place to stay the night, because Greater Halifax is rife with breweries, great pubs and inventive restaurants. There are many hotels,

B&Bs and inns, of all styles, shapes, and sizes. The perfect place to stay is the historic, affordable Waverley Inn, right downtown close to many pubs and breweries. In Halifax there are lots of breweries of various sizes to visit, but the easiest way to taste most of their beers is to check out the best beer pubs in the city. Bar Stillwell, The Stubborn Goat, Tom’s Little Havana, Battery Park (in Dartmouth), and Lion & Bright are all good bets. Studio East is a gem of a restaurant, featuring Asian fusion cuisine offered with local beer and wine. If you want a pub experience more reminiscent of England, visit the historic Henry House on Barrington, where you’ll find great pub fare and cask ales from Halifax’s first microbrewery, The Granite Brewery (c. 1984). There are good brewpubs and breweries with taprooms, including Image courtesy Tourism Nova Scotia

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the very popular Garrison on the waterfront, Good Robot, 2 Crows, Charm School (Unfiltered Brewery’s taproom), and Rockbottom brewpub, which is also affiliated with Nine Locks Brewery. Some, but not all, of the taprooms have food, so check first if you’re feeling peckish. In the summer, be sure to check out Bar Stillwell’s seasonal beer garden on Spring Garden Road. It is the place to be for beer lovers, has good snack food, and is dog friendly. Other breweries worth visiting if even just to grab some excellent beer to go are the pioneering Propeller Brewery, and Belgian specialist North Brewing Company, both in downtown Halifax, and Spindrift and Brightwood in Dartmouth. It’s always hard to leave Halifax, but there’s more beer to be had elsewhere. Head towards Cape Breton, but don’t miss a stop

in Antigonish at the Townhouse Pub for a traditional British lunch and a pint of their authentic, 4.4% abv, house brewed, hand pumped cask ale. Before crossing to the island, you can detour to visit Rare Bird in historic Guysborough, which has a great pub with a patio overlooking the ocean, serving house-brewed beer. Once on Cape Breton head directly to Baddeck and check out Big Spruce, an excellent organic brewery and hop farm just outside of town in Nyanza. You can taste the beer at the brewery’s tasting patio – there’s a visiting food truck on weekends, in season – including their refreshing Kitchen Party Pale Ale, or in the town’s watering holes. Baddeck is a lovely holiday town, particularly attractive to boaters, viewing the famous Bras d’Or Lakes. Stay at the Inverary Resort, or rent a local cottage.

Images courtesy Big Spruce, good Robot, Tatamagouche

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If you’re travelling in fall, make sure to check out the Celtic Colours Festival – try to mix some traditional music in with your beer. It is highly recommended that you take the time to drive the entire Cabot Trail loop, visiting Ingonish Beach, and perhaps golfing the celebrated Highland Links. Pop into the French town of Cheticamp, tour the Glenora Distillery, which also has rooms and a great pub/restaurant, and stop into Mabou for lunch at the Red Shoe pub to enjoy all of the amazing views along this winding, hilly drive. It’s a truly spectacular stretch of the country. Head to Sydney, the only city on the island, where you’ll find the beers from Breton Brewing, at their taproom or available at local pubs, including the Old Triangle, and the Governors Pub and Eatery in downtown Sydney, often featuring live music.

Royal. The whole region is a very important area to the French Acadian population, so look for tourism opportunities such as Grand-Pré National Historic Site just outside of Wolfville. Your next required brewery stop, though, is Bad Apple Brewhouse/Mosaic Brewing Company, in Berwick. They have done extremely well in competitions; in particular for their west coast style Box Cutter IPA. Try their brews on tap at the lovely Union Street Café in Berwick. The café is a renowned music venue for both local artists like Joel Plaskett and visiting musicians, including Ron Sexsmith.

Eventually you’ll reach Digby, home of the famous Digby Scallop Days festival as well as the legendary Wharf Rat Rally, for motorcycle enthusiasts. In the area you’ll find two fairly new breweries, Roof Hound and Lazy Bear. Roof Hound has its own taproom on Ridge Road, about a 10-minute drive from Digby, open Thursday evenings and weekends, serving food until 9 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Lazy Bear is a nanobrewery in Smith’s Cove, only open for Growler fills on Thursday evenings. They make a range of beers; their Braunbär – a honey brown ale – won a Gold Medal for Fruit and Field Beer

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at the 2016 Atlantic Canada Beer Awards. Their beer is on tap locally at The Fundy, in downtown Digby. It’s a beautiful area for clam digging and enjoying the ocean, including whale watching, so if you want to stay overnight, try the Coastal Inn, or live in the temporary lap of luxury at the Digby Pines resort. From Digby you can take the ferry to Saint John, NB to take your beer hopping to a new province, or you can head back to Halifax and start over. By the time you’ve made the loop there will probably be another brewery or two open. Images courtesy Tourism Nova Scotia

Susannah Kiernan

st y le

Image Shutterstock


ave you ever seen this intimidating-looking word on a beer menu and chosen a lager instead, lest the entire bar should turn, point, and laugh at your ridiculous inability to correctly pronounce the German? Oh, of course not. Me neither. But, just in case a friend of yours is ever in this predicament, feel free to let them know it’s pronounced “heff-eh-vite-zen.” They can thank you later. Whether or not you’re familiar with the word Hefeweizen, if you drink beer often, there is a good chance that you’ve had one. Simply put, a Hefeweizen is a German-style Wheat Beer. “Hefe” is the German word for yeast, and “Weizen” means wheat, though it’s mostly in North America that we refer to this style as Hefeweizen. In Germany this style is more commonly referred to as Weissbier (white beer). What differentiates this popular style of beer is the fact that, unlike some other beer styles brewed with wheat, Hefeweizen are bottle-conditioned and unfiltered. Kristallweizen, another German style beer brewed with wheat, on the other hand, is filtered, removing the yeast and wheat cloudiness that are defining characteristics of the Hefeweizen style. Traditionally hailing from Bavaria, the Hefeweizen brewing process sees a significant proportion of malted barley replaced with malted wheat. By German law, “white beer” (nicknamed for the contrast in colour to Munich’s traditional brown beer at the time) brewed in Germany must be top-fermented. Top-fermentation is defined as “a violent kind of alcoholic fermentation at a temperature high enough to carry the yeast cells to the top of the fermenting liquid.” Don’t worry, though, no

yeast cells are harmed in the making of this beer. The specialized strains of yeast used in this process create overtones of banana and clove as by-products of fermentation and give the style much of its unique and identifiable flavour. Hefeweizen style beer is usually close to 15 IBUs, and is particularly noted for its low hop bitterness and relatively high carbonation (approaching four volumes) which is considered important to help balance the beer’s malty sweetness. Without getting too deeply bogged down in the science of it all, the result of this topfermenting yeast process is a flavour combination often described as – clove-y – medicinal, and smoky, with undertones of banana, vanilla, and sometimes, even bubble gum. Old rules and new recipes Historically, the Reinheitsgebot (also known as the German Beer Purity Law) first proposed in 1487 and enacted in Bavaria in 1516, states that the only ingredients allowed in the brewing of beer were: water, barley, and hops. A few centuries later, yeast’s role in the brewing process was discovered and then added to this list, rounding out the Big Four ingredients we know and love today. Now, as is the case with most laws, there were several important factors that lead to the institution of the Reinheitsgebot. First of all, the practice of using unsafe preservatives, common among shadier brewers, led to hops (a safe means of preservation) necessarily becoming the only legal option for the process. The other reasons were political. Banning the use of other grains ensured that wheat and rye would

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always be available for bread makers, and insisting on such rigid standards ensured that most foreign beers could easily be denied entry into Germany. So, what does this mean for the beer itself? Well, that’s a slightly more controversial topic. Today, Germany still claims to uphold the same law, but tends to use it as more of a marketing tool than for actual quality control. Of course, this is totally fine – on the one hand it’s nice to know exactly what’s in the beer you’re drinking, especially these days when we’re finding out that some of the most popular beers in the world contain ingredients like GMO Corn Syrup or fish bladder (called isinglass, if you want to look up this delightful practice). On the other hand, it’s no secret that some of the best beers in the world are brewed with ingredients outside of the Big Four, like: fruit, spices, other grains, and flavourings. Luckily, breaking the German Purity Laws has long been popular practice. The Bavarian Duke of Wittelsbach was said to have particularly enjoyed “White Beer” (aka Weissbier, aka Weizenbier, aka Wheat Beer) that was brewed using malted wheat on top of the usual barley. As such, it was allowed that one single brewery in the village of Schwarzach was allowed to brew Weissbier. Over time it was decided that Weissbier needed to be made more widely available and it began to be brewed all across Bavaria. It became so popular, in fact, that the Weissbier brewery profits were used to fund the Bavarian Army from 1618-1648. Not bad for what started out as an illegal proposition.

HeFeh weizen As the craft brewing scene has grown in Canada, so has the number, and quality, of Hefeweizen beers brewed across our sprawling nation. Some brewers try to pay homage to the centuries-old Bavarian recipe and stick to the basics, while others have been more experimental, twisting the old classic to produce delightful and often surprising new flavours. The result is a long and varied list of wheat beers that is sure to satisfy. Some notable Hefeweizens are: British Columbia’s Driftwood Brewery’s Entangled Hopfenweisse Hefeweizen is made with Mosaic hops, which give it its tropical fruit flavours like guava, pineapple and mango. Alberta’s Last Best Brewing & Distillery has released a brand new beer brewed by women and released on International Women’s Day called Hoppy Hefeweizen that is described as a “smooth drinker with a citrusy bite at the end.” In Saskatchewan, Paddock Wood Brewing Co. has a Hefeweizen (aptly named Hefeweizen) whose bubble-gum forward flavour is offset by a spicier clove balance that cuts the sweetness. Manitoba’s Lake of the Woods Brewery’s Vacation Land Hefeweizen doesn’t stray too far off the beaten path but has a unique earthy, floral aroma that translates into a sweeter finish. In Ontario, craft brewing pioneer Muskoka Brewery has their easy drinking Summer Weiss. It’s brewed seasonally and crafted with “visions of summer in mind” with a fresh banana bread aroma.

Out of Montreal, Québec comes Brasseur R.J.’s Belle Gueule Hefeweizen, a nice classic ode to the original that is smooth and balanced. On the East Coast, Yellowbelly Brewery in Newfoundland is one of the few breweries to attempt the style with their seasonal delight, Hef. Nova Scotia’s Breton Brewing Company has one called Stirling Hefeweizen – named after the Scottish Earl who gave the Province its flag – that breaks the 1:1 ratio mould with a 60% wheat to 40% barley brew. After being disappointed with the lack of East Coast German style wheat beers, New Brunswick’s Acadie-Broue nanobrasserie set out to create their own. With his second attempt, Brewmaster Patrice Godin was able to get the perfect balance of clove and banana notes. Representing the Territories, Yukon Brewing wins the name-game with their Chilkoot Grizzly Wheat Hefeweizen, whose recipe stays true to the German original. Of course, these are only a handful of examples of the hundreds or more Canadian interpretations of the Hefeweizen style. With the freedom to be creative and adventurous by not being beholden to any overbearing purity laws, brewers have free reign to think outside the box and bring this style into the 21st Century. With April 23rd 2017 marking the 500th anniversary of the passing of the German Beer Purity Law, it’s a great time to reflect on an historic beer that came about as an opposition to the tradition. With an origin story as interesting and complex as the Image courtesy hired guns creative

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country that brews it, Hefeweizen is more than just the perfect, easy-drinking summer beer option that has “patio season” written all over it. Whether you’re a connoisseur or new to the beer game there is sure to be a Wheat Beer out there for you. Hefeweizen may be hard to say, but it’s easy to drink, and with each mouthful you are drinking deeper of history. Or at least that’s what you can tell yourself when you’re onto your third pint. Ontario’s Best Hefeweizen I know, I know, fightin’ words. I already mentioned Muskoka’s ode to the classic and so many more amazing Hefeweizen style beers. However, only one has the distinct honour of winning the top prize, not only for this style but the brewery itself. Side L a unch Br e w ing Compa n y: Side L aunch Whe at It’s no accident Side Launch took home Gold for their Wheat beer. Awards or not, this beer is the top Hefeweizen prize in my books. I applaud Side Launch for not trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead of getting overly creative they simply brewed an authentic Bavarian style wheat beer, unfiltered with its natural yeast and proteins, the way the German Beer Gods intended it. If you want a great example of how to make an historic German beer recipe in Ontario, you have to try Side Launch Wheat. [see article on page 18 ]

Craig Pinhey

At the ba r : prof ile Bar Stillwell Halifax, Nova Scotia

There are numerous factors that contribute

Alibi Room, Moeder Lambic, Bar Volo, and

to the development of any scene. In the

Local Option, but rather than being obsessed

Reynolds, who comes from a diverse back-

case of beer, the obvious ones are the desire

with how they looked or felt, we examined

ground that includes music composition,

on the part of consumers for better and

their function. The trick, we found, was to

teaching English as a second language in

more diverse beers and the ability and

be a celebrator and an agitator; a great beer

Korea, and various writing and editing jobs,

willingness of bars and breweries to provide

bar is somewhere where a good brewery gets

ended up at Bar Volo in Toronto, a revolu-

the appropriate products. The bars and

a pat on the back, but is also shown how they

tionary beer bar, that led to opening Stillwell.

breweries that excel at this are the catalysts

can up their game. It’s a lot like a home brew

He is very keen on making beer.

of any craft beer scene.

club in that way, but with more commercial

“We are opening a brewery,” he confirms.

is a great

stakes. If something lands and strikes a

“We love Saison and dry Farmhouse beers

example of a Craft Beer catalyst. Since opening

chord in a great beer bar, the chances of it

quite a lot and haven’t found those beers

in November, 2013, amidst a changing beer

doing better on the shelves or in restaurants

much in our region just yet, so we figured

landscape, with new small breweries opening

are far greater, and we hope to be that front

we should make them. We’re thinking about

regularly and the ‘big breweries’ dabbling in

line, partly because we think that’s what a

an annual Christmastime Barleywine and

more flavourful brews, Bar Stillwell instantly

good beer bar should be, but also because


became a focal point for the beer loving

we’re fans of beer in general, and we want to

for the beer garden, too.” That’s right, in


drink the best stuff in our own shop!”

addition to their bar on Barrington Street,




Christopher Reynolds is one of four key

Big Spruce, an organic micro-brewery in

Stillwell operates a seasonal beer garden

people behind Stillwell, and can usually be

Cape Breton, was one of the beneficiaries

in the summer. The first year it was on the

found behind the bar on any given night.

of the boost Bar Stillwell gave to the Nova

waterfront, but it was moved to Spring

“We opened the bar together,” Reynolds

Scotia scene. “Stillwell has had a profound

Garden Road last summer.

says. “I run the bar day-to-day with my sister

impact on the Nova Scotia Craft Beer scene,”

So, what’s next for Stillwell? Well, in

Laura (MacDonald) and her partner Andy

says Big Spruce owner Jeremy White. “Its

addition to their tap takeovers and brewing

(Connell). Richard (Fewell) is our former

popularity has provided a great outlet for

ventures, they have a philosophical goal: to

stepfather – Laura’s and mine – and does the

us to sell lots of beer, plus a location where

move forward.

books and helps with leases, legal issues, etc.

our beer can sell alongside other craft beer

Reynolds feels that the beer scene is in a

Andy orders the beer, Laura works on events,

from other NS breweries, plus other parts of

self-reflective mode at the moment. “You

I do social media and ‘business development,’

Canada and the U.S. In a way, it has provided a

can’t just open a million billion breweries,”

but we also all bartend full-time.”

measuring stick for how our brands resonate

he observes. “You have to look at what people

with Haligonians.”

want from beer, and, more importantly, what

Bar Stillwell jumped right in, giving full support to local craft beer, featuring

Stillwell has not only given valuable tap

breweries from across the province, as well

space and promotion to good local breweries;

as guest brews from out of province, tap

they have also participated in collaborations

“I guess that’s what we’ll be looking for

takeovers, and special-ordered bottles from

and are even brewing their own beer. “They

more at Stillwell – our founding principle

beer icons around the world. They really

have definitely spurred on creativity,” notes

is that we will carry 12 draught beer and

upped the ante in terms of good craft beer

White. “The fact that we have collaborated

three casks at all times and try to make as

selection in Halifax pubs.

directly with them with beers like Gimme

broad an experience as possible within those

“We aim to be a hub and a venue for all

Citra is an example. I regularly speak with

limitations. That would be 15 classic styles

that is good and forward-thinking in the

Chris Reynolds about ideas for beer styles,

perfectly represented, in an ideal world,

beer scene in our region,” says Reynolds. “In

tweaks to recipes, and what other breweries

with some room for the latest-and-greatest

developing Stillwell we were heavily inspired

are doing. In those conversations, they have

boundary-pushing beer wedged in there.”

by the best beer bars, specifically places like

asked us to do certain things with some of M A S H M a g a z ine


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they don’t yet know they want, and what you can offer.

Image courtesy Tête d’allumette

Bar Stillwell in Halifax, NS

our beers, and we have occasionally obliged!”

Bienvenu à Tête d’Allumette. Craft brewing is about place. The team at Tête d’Allumette has reached into more than 300 years of Québécois history to find a unique style – fire burning Mash Tuns that reflect their roots in saint-André-de-kamouraska.

f ood

Rebecca Grima


Locally sourced symbiosis Craf t beer cuisin e is on a roll.

raft beer and gourmet food are

that balance of sweet, salty, sour, spicy and bitter.” Munns applies this lesson in balance

Canadians can walk into their favourite

to his menu built around semi-traditional

how approachable it is,” says Munns. Dennis

brewery and enjoy a meal that has been

Mexican tacos.

mirrors the insight explaining that food is

created with just as much passion, creativity,

Artfully balancing his flavours to make

offering a new experience to customers. It is

and innovation as their favourite craft beer.

dishes that will make your taste buds dance,

an introduction to a marriage between craft

Customers are no longer doomed to dine

Munn changes his menu daily, tempting guests

beer and food that people can enjoy.

on “wings and fries,” as Chefs are putting

with dishes like Pork Cheek, Pollo Verde and

together menus that are globally inspired

Buttermilk Fried Mushroom tacos.

and locally sourced by introducing new

Fundamentally all of this great change comes from broadening relationships as the craft beer industry matures: relationships

flavours and offering approachable dishes

Burdock Brewery, Toronto, Ontario

amongst craft beer producers and chefs; chefs

that pair beautifully with craft beers.

With a mission to “tie the world of food, beer,

and farmers; and ultimately the relationship

and music together,” Burdock Breweries is

between craft beer producers, the chefs and

a restaurant, bar, microbrewery, and music

their customers. Chefs and brewmasters are

“Food and beer have a symbiotic relationship,”

hall. Helming the kitchen is Head Chef

working together to change our perceptions

says Seamus Munns, a chef by trade and

Jeremy Dennis, an avid home brewer who is

about how food and craft beer can be magic

the Tasting Room Manager at Four Winds

applying his talents to his ’hood hangout.

together. As Dennis explains, it is a story told

Four Winds Brewery Co., Delta British Columbia

Brewing Co. in Delta, British Columbia.

Of course, no visit to the brewery is

slowly; a story that puts emphasis on where

“We’re going to see a big shift in beer and food

complete without a good craft beer pairing.

food is grown, how it’s prepared, and how

as a cohesive environment.” And the recipe

One of Dennis’s favourites is the smoked

ingredients harmonize to create innovative

for achieving this cohesion hinges on the

beet salad, with miso puree, grilled endive,

dishes for us to enjoy.

flavours of a dish. “One of our passions in

crème fraîche, and crispy barley paired with

There can be little doubt that the relation-

life is food and beer,” says Munns, “it’s about

Burdock’s Noom: Imperial Dark Saison, aged

ship between local food movements and craft

how flavours can help other flavours.”

400 days in Cognac barrels.

beer will continue to evolve. As brewmasters

food – can be seasoned, Munns uses flavour

Brewery Food evolution

their dishes. Working side by side, chefs and

profiling to create his dishes. Inspired by

The impact chefs are making through their

brewmasters continue to offer up uncompro-

his travels to Southeast Asia, he is a self-

food programs in breweries is changing

mised experiences that aim simply (and gen-

described “fan of spicy foods” and explains

the industry in a really positive way. Across

erously) to be shared and enjoyed.

that “in Southeast Asia they focus on

Canada, food is opening doors to new

balancing the flavour palate. All plates in

audiences in the craft beer industry. “Food

a meal are served together to compliment

helped open a lot of eyes to new craft beer and

Understanding that beer – just like

push their draughts, so too will chefs push

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Image courtesy BURDOCK


discovering each other. On any given day,


Chefs and Brewmasters are working together to change our perceptions of what food can be in relation to cr aft beer breweries.

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Image courtesy BURDOCK

Nick Blagrave

At the ba r : prof ile BarHop Toronto, Ontario

If you live outside of Toronto and haven’t had

out the bar that had just opened up a few

Bar Hop patio and watching Jay’s fans walk

the opportunity to explore the city, you’ve

blocks away. I was naturally wary as, usually,

by in search of a pre-game beer, not knowing

probably wondered what the at-times-

my visits necessarily revolved around big-

they’ve just missed the best game in town.

aggressive fuss is about. “Yeah, sure, I mean,

box type bars and restaurants, but I agreed

My second beer, a proprietary brew, Bar

I like the CN tower,” you’ve probably said, or,

all the same. The bar was cleverly called

Hop’s Tremolo 11 is a Mixed Fermentation

“I went to a Jay’s game once,” quick to add,

Bar Hop, and my friend was pretty sure he

Farmhouse Ale that pours golden and very

“before they were good.” But, beyond those

remembered seeing such vaunted brewers

clear, and smells, at least initially, like cider.

obvious attractions, it can be hard to see

as Dieu du Ciel and Great Lakes on their tap

Sweet but clean, with minimal funk, Tremolo

what’s so great about downtown Toronto. If

list. We hadn’t been sitting on the intimate

11 is one of four proprietary beers Bar Hop is

you want to get drunk at a chain restaurant,

(read: laughably small) patio for more than

now offering at their Brew Co. location, and,

you’re better off getting someone to drop

ten minutes when we realized we had found

if it is any indication of things to come, the

you off at the mall than navigating the

our new favourite place in the area.

next five years of craft beer on King Street

entertainment district on a Friday night. And

Sitting in Bar Hop five years later it’s easy

if you want to stand in line behind a velvet

to see why. The atmosphere is as beautifully

From offering a much needed downtown

rope for a club you can’t afford you can always

comfortable as ever, and, while the place

beer destination, to expanding to Peter

– well, actually, maybe the entertainment

may be busier, the bartenders and servers

Street, and developing their own beer recipes,

district is your best bet for that. For years

are no less friendly or helpful, and the beer

all while maintaining the level of quality and

that was the downtown Toronto bar scene.

selection has only grown.

friendliness that first drew people in, it’s no

Luckily, those days are over now.

will be as bright as the last.

The first beer I order, a Citra Grove Dry

surprise that Bar Hop has taken home their

In the Spring of 2012, I was visiting a

Hopped Sour from Beamsville, Ontario’s

fair share of Ontario’s Golden Tap Awards (in

friend, pretending that his condo’s recycling

Bench Brewing pours a very pale cloudy

2013, 2014, and 2015), including the coveted

room wasn’t cleaner than the house I shared

yellow. The nose is slightly citrusy, and the

“Best Staff in Ontario” Golden Tap Award in

with six other guys in a much smaller city

finish is almost peachy with a hint of salt. At

2014 and 2015.

three hours east, when he suggested we check

a very drinkable 6% abv it’s perfect for the

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Windsor Craft Breweries

David Ort


indsor is a whiskey town. And that

has a coppery cleanness and perfectly tuned

With so many directions to match, the

gives its craft breweries space to innovate

carbonation and Waterfront Wit is bright and

best beer pairings are the solid, on-style

and specialise. I’m told they get relatively

citrusy with the requisite coriander backbone.

options that offer support. In this sense, the

few vacationers wandering in and asking for

Even with this easy-drinking lineup, brewer

Model A Amber and Wanker ESB are good

whatever is most like their favourite light

Michael Beaudoin also talks enthusiastically

cornerstones to build a tasting flight around.

lager, because they’re mostly off touring the

about their experimental barrel programme.

Craft Heads is Windsor’s ambitious

beautifully maintained Italianate palace

Gino Gesulae’s Motor Craft Ales also

downtown brewpub. They have 30 taps

Hiram Walker built with the profits from

opened in 2012 as a complement for Erie

that exclusively feature their own beer.

making the harder stuff. Compared to North

St.’s Motor Burger. They are in the process

(Toronto’s Indie Ale House is the only

American hotbeds like San Diego, Denver,

of building a production facility, but for four

exception they’ve made.) Keeping this

or Portland, Windsor is still finding its craft

years have managed to put out very good beers

variation in stock with their tiny five-barrel

beer way, led by a few standouts.

from a very nano-sized system (essentially a

system means a gruelling schedule of ten-

home-brew rig scaled by a factor of ten) in the

and-a-half hour brew days.

Depending on how you do the math, Walkerville Brewery is the oldest small

restaurant’s basement.

Co-owner Bryan Datoc tells the story of a

brewery in town. The name has been worn

The food side of the operation has a menu

memorable encounter with a new customer:

by three separate operations, including one

built around fifteen-odd burger variations

“We had someone come in and ask for

that Hiram Walker started in the 19th century

that manage both a wide spectrum of flavours

‘whatever you have that is closest to Bud.’

and another that made a go of it during the

and also avoid gimmickry. For example, the

I thought about it for a solid minute,” he

1990s microbrewery wave before declaring

Autostrada with Italian chipotle sausage, blue

continues, “and then handed him a pint of

bankruptcy in 2007.

cheese and fennel apple-slaw reads like a

water.” He seems genuinely surprised that

mess of competing flavours, but actually finds

the guy left in a huff.

The current iteration has been around since 2012 with a focus on session-able

a subtle, if spicy balance.

core beers. In that vein, the Honest Lager

After years of whiskey dominance, craft beer is in the passing lane.

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Ryan Hughes, Assistant brewer and Gino Gesulae, owner of Motor Craft Ales.

The Walkerville name has

Craft Heads do make approachable beers like the exceptional Next On Stage Amber (loads more toasted cereal flavour than most examples of a style that usually tastes like craft beer circa 1998) and the Aardvark Blonde (named in honour of the address’s former life as a subterranean blues and rock club). The list also stretches to should-beweird creations like a dill saison (subtle and

been worn by three separ ate oper ations, including one that Hir am Walker started in the 19 th century and another that made a go of it during the 1990s microbrewery wave before declaring bankruptcy in 2007.

balanced) and a chocolate peanut butter porter (my favourite M&M) that hit an

some breweries pushing the quality envelope in the wrong direction. On our tour we found off-kilter sours and unfinished pale ales. With their vastly different sizes, the three Windsor beer leaders will probably continue on divergent paths. Walkerville is pushing their core beers into the LCBO — a good thing, given the retailer’s under emphasis on wits and lagers — and I’m sure Craft Heads will aim for the indie niche with Motor running up the middle. It can only get easier for Ontarians to

unexpected bullseye.

buy beer from Michigan, so that competition

The natural downside to a beer scene still

will also inevitably shape Windsor’s craft beer

in the experimental stage is that there are


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Fearless Step 1: drop a career in advertising. Step 2: get back to your small-town roots. Step 3: start your own brewery. rock on Giordan anderson at Napanee brewing.

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Nick Blagrave

E ditor ’ s comment

Bad, Bad, Not Good. In defense of bad beer.

“That beer is awful!” one of my especially lubricated regulars tosses across the bar at the reserved-looking student who has just ordered a pint of Saison. As a regular at a bar you’re often allowed to “sample” small bits of any beer whose name is sufficiently odd, or whose colour is sufficiently rankling to you, to pique your curiosity. Of course, any bartender worth his or her salty demeanor will let anyone sample any beer. (It takes one person complaining through an entire twenty ounces of something they dislike on a particularly slow Sunday to teach this lesson.) But don’t tell the regulars this, they’ve spent time earning their privileges, and they’re quite proud of them.

But what do we talk about when we talk about “bad beer?” When we say that we “hate it,” or that it’s the “worst beer we’ve ever tasted?” Surely we don’t mean to imply that a beer that somebody took the trouble to keg, price, and deliver, a beer that is sold to a bar on the understanding that said bar will be able to resell it (and at a higher price point, no less) is, objectively speaking, swill. I’ve been known to throw the term around before, but then again, sometimes I just want a pint of swill and a hotdog. Actually, if I’m being honest, most times. Surely, then, we say that a beer is bad in the way that I say that the Baltimore Orioles are bad: not because they are a baseball team that performs poorly, but because I don’t like them. Make no mistake, I’ve had some terrible experimental beers – objectively awful ones. Beers that bars try to give away for free. I’ve personally untapped a still-full keg and put it back in the beer fridge with a note to my boss that says “nobody likes this.” A beer that’s supposed to taste like bacon and maple

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syrup might do just that, without being at all enjoyable. But is such a monstrosity a good beer, or simply a successful beer? That depends. Does anybody like it? If so, who am I to say it’s bad? Luckily, these beers are, in reality, few and far between. Should a timid stranger have to second-guess their beer selection because someone else didn’t like that particular beer? Absolutely not. And so, in defense of “bad beer,” I propose that we, as a beer drinking society, adopt a philosophy of live and let learn, and say instead: “that beer was not for me,” or “I didn’t enjoy that one.” Save your outrage for the very few beers that truly turn your stomach, and, please, don’t yell your opinions across the bar at strangers unless you’re sure that you’re saving them from something truly unendurable. Lastly, did you just eat a really garlicky meal? Do you still have gum in your mouth? Are you coming straight from a root canal? There’s always a small chance that it isn’t the beer that’s bad.

Profile for calliope95

MASH Magazine Issue #1  

A Magazine about the Culture of Craft Beer in Canada

MASH Magazine Issue #1  

A Magazine about the Culture of Craft Beer in Canada