The University of Toronto’s Independent Weekly
VOL XXXIV Issue 28 • April 2013
the boozepaper 2013 part of a balanced breakfast
Ontario’s microdistillery sets to release first whisky p 4 How beer became hip p 5 A profile of eastern North America’s only sake brewery p 6 Weighing the costs and benefits of Ontario hops p 7 Do you sacrifice the craft for contract brewing? p 8 Tips from Toronto’s homebrew master p 9 Ontario beer review p 10 Wine + [junk] food pairings p 12 Save a tree. Have a cider. p 13 Cider review p 14 Alcohol: a family history p 15 Hard sell: the changing tactics of beer ads p 18 Homemade kombucha: the moonshine of tea p 19 Ontario beer fests for summer p 20
the newspaper would like to raise our glasses to everyone who has made this publishing season possible. Here’s to you Spencer Afonso, Yusur Al Bahrani, Brittany Arjune, Suzanna Balabuch, Justin Beattie, Jonas Becker, Aberdeen Berry, Jeff Bierk, Mackenzie Blyth, Sarah Boivin, Jon Bradford, Emma Burtch, Isabell Chavez, Samantha Chiusolo, Dan Christensen, Mike Fergusson, Jon Foster, Samantha Del Frate, Sinead Doherty-Grant, Lou Doyon, Jon Dundas, Peter Gatti, Jack Grobe, John Han, Jordan Harcourt, Kevin Hempstead, An Hu, Geraldine Hu, Meghan Hubley, Corrie Jackson, Jane Alice Keachie, Odessa Kelebay, Brendan George Ko, Charles Philippe Lamy, Ginette Lapalme, Scott Leeming, Sofia Luu, Amanda Lynne-Ballard, Maj Major, Lauren Mansfield, Christina Maraveggia, Keely Maynard, Marsha Mcleod, Emily Meikle, Natalie Morcos, Zach Morgenstern, Andrew B. Myers, Adam Oliver, Zach Oullette, Calan Panchoo, Djastin Park, Lauren Peat, Felicia Perricelli, Samantha Preddie, Vanessa Purdy, Karel Reinga, Sigrid Roman, John Smith, Kaleena Stasiak, Kelsey Stasiak, Fang Su, Fatima Syed, Olga Taratuna, Isaac Thornley, Noah Vanderlann, Victoria Vaughn, Geoff Vendeville, Rhiannon White, Diana Wilson, Jesse Yao, Maddy Young, Angela Zhu
the newspaper is not responsible for any associated hangovers. Please read responsibly.
the newspaper the newspaper is the University of Toronto’s independent weekly paper, published since 1978. VOL XXXV No. 28 Editor-in-Chief Cara Sabatini Associate News Editors Sebastian Greenholtz Emerson Vandenberg
Odessa Kelebay Nick Ragetli Cara Sabatini
Associate Art Editor Carissa Ainslie
Web Editor Joe Howell News Editor Yukon Damov
Photo Editor Bodi Bold
Features Editor David Stokes
Illustrations Editor Nick Ragetli Copy Editor Sydney Gautreau Managing Editor Helene Goderis
Comment Editor Dylan Hornby Contributors Brittany Arjune, Sarah Boivin, Lou Doyon, Sebastian Greenholtz, Kevin Hempstead, Dylan Hornby, Odessa Kelebay, Samantha Preddie, Nick Ragetli, David Stokes, Isaac Thornley, Noah Vanderlann
the newspaper is published by Planet Publications Inc., a non-profit corporation. 256 McCaul St, Suite 106 Toronto, ON M5T1W5 firstname.lastname@example.org All U of T community members, including students, staff and faculty, are encouraged to contribute to the newspaper.
Toronto’s Distillery District then & now
Two hundred years of community, industry, and booze Sebastian Greenholtz The Distillery District, a small neighborhood between Parliament and Mill St just north of the Gardiner, is known more today for its restaurants and theaters than booze-making. The area got its name however from its history as the site of one of the biggest and most successful distilleries in Ontario: Gooderham & Worts Distillery. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, Gooderham & Worts was just one of a number of distilleries in the area. The join venture between George Gooderham and James Worts in 1831 started as a flour mill; farmers who could not pay would give excess grain in lieu of money, and the grain that couldn’t be fed to farm animals would be made into alcohol. This was a popular way for millers back then to use up their grain, as spirits were in high demand for their social and medicinal value—people believed alcohol could cure cholera. “As a result,” explained Vanessa Matthews, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Regina who wrote her dissertation on the history of the Distillery District, “there were a number of taverns in the city—I read one account that placed this rate at one tavern for every 120 people!” The shift in 1837 towards making whisky in the Gooderham & Worts Distillery coincided with the onset of the industrial age, and while smaller distillers started to die out,
Gooderham & Worts grew to be the largest distillery in the British Empire. Gooderham & Worts dominated the area. Seventy-five buildings built between 1859 and 1873 still stand today, filling up most of the area between Parliament and Cherry Streets. Before the 1850s the workers had housing adjacent to the distillery, but when railroads moved in the workers’ housing was converted into railyards. The Gooderhams built more worker housing a couple of blocks away in the 1880s. While most of the workers were not unionized, they generally had a good relationship with the management. Besides competitive pay, workers were given benefits such as pensions, sick days, and other health benefits. Matthews added, “According to one source, for a short time following the automation of the cooperage operations, the coopers were part of the Coopers International Union. … There are several sources which suggest that there was a close relationship between the employees and employer, but there’s still a lot of research to be done in this area.” The growth of the distillery was cut short by the start of World War I. The plant was given over to the British government to manufacture acetone and butyl alcohol for the war efforts, and Gooderham & Worts became the largest producer of acetone. The original workforce was retained as much as possible, and women could contribute through
working in the factory office as well as in the fermentation and bacteriology departments. Post-war Canada witnessed a short era of prohibition, which once again stopped the factory producing alcohol. Liquor industrialist Harry C. Hatch purchased Gooderham & Worts Ltd in 1923 and saved it from decline by merging Gooderham & Worts with another distillery, Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd. In 1927, the new company emerged as Hiram Walker - Gooderham & Worts Ltd. The last grain alcohols were distilled by Gooderham & Worts in 1957, leaving rum and industrial alcohol as the sole products. Production gradually shifted to the Hiram Walker plants in Walkerville, ON and Kelowna, BC, which had more modernized equipment. The Gooderham & Worts plant was finally closed in 1990, after 153 years of continuous production. The Distillery District, however, has gained new life in several ways. Even prior to the closure of the Gooderham & Worts site, the buildings were designated as a heritage site by municipal, provincial, and federal governments. The structures built for the production of alcohol came as a collection, so preservation efforts have tried to preserve the site in its entirety, like a collector’s set. Planning rules were passed by the city in 1994, allowing for mixed use development of the site, with preservation as a key objective. Matthews said, “I can’t think
of another property in the city which has received this level of guidance and protection from both the public and private sectors. The scale of the property – a collection of over forty buildings – makes the preservation process unique.” The Distillery District has become a pedestrian-only area dedicated to the arts and culture, as well as the creation of a culinary excellence. In 2001 Cityscape Holdings Inc. purchased The Distillery, and along with the Dundee Realty Corporation, undertook the redevelopment project. The historic buildings mix with modern usage in a way that preserves the heritage, rather than building over it like other old waterfront communities in the city. Finally, the alcoholic legacy has returned to the Distillery District, with the opening of the Mill Street Brewery. As Matthews remembers, “The venture signaled the return of alcohol and there
was quite a lot of excitement in the press about how Mill Street brought back the smells and sights of alcohol manufacturing. … The company was named after the street on which it was housed, and they used pony bottles and historic recipes as a tie back to the past.” In 2011, a sake producer, the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company, joined the Distillery as the first sake brewery in Eastern North America. They bring in crowds with tastings and tours, as well as a product unlike anything else on the market: a locally produced sake. The long and rich history of the Distillery District continues to add to the legacy of Toronto as a place of alcohol production and a home for those with the taste for the hard stuff. While the industrial days have come and gone, the Distillery District lives as a reminder and resurrection of what has come before.
Ontario microdistillery set to release first whisky Some things are worth the wait The story of a bottle of whisky is at least three years long. This is the minimum maturation period as dictated by Canadian law for a spirit to be sold as whisky. The metamorphosis from a dry pile of grain to that amber-coloured nectar at the bottom of your glass is an elaborate process only to be accomplished by experts who dedicate themselves to the craft. The story of Still Waters Distillery is no less rich. It began in a Synagogue some time in the 90s. Barry Stein and Barry Bernstein met and became fast friends, brought together by their love for Scotch whisky. The world of whisky was well known to their palates, but the professional side of it was unfamiliar territory. In those days, they were just a couple of whisky fans with day jobs. Barry Bernstein owned a small software company while Barry Stein was in charge of the national distribution centre for a large company. It was a leap then, to be sure, but the duo that would become the founders of Still Waters were no starry-eyed innocents. “Starting any business is risky, so we had realistic expecta-
tions before embarking upon this adventure,” explains Barry Bernstein. “We are passionate about whisky and other spirits and neither of us would trade the security of a day job for the excitement and hard work of making our own products.” Their first venture was importing whisky. Five years later they decided it was time to go further. The calm, glassy surface of the lake off their cottage dock offered up a name for their distillery while Stein and Bernstein put up the considerable sum of money needed to start up. “[Family and friends] thought we were crazy,” said Bernstein in a 2010 interview, perhaps half joking. Giving up the professional lives they had to toil passionately in a jungle of machinery over their creation was no small undertaking. If the Still Waters boys are crazy, it is the madness of Dr. Frankenstein that infects them. Their Single Malt Whisky and Single Malt Vodka begin as Canadian two row malted barley. The corn and rye whiskies start as locally grown grain. Then the Barrys set to work on them. “Our spirits are made by hand from grain to glass,” their website boasts.
The process is complex. From grain to mash, fermented, distilled and redistilled, casked and matured, the spirits slowly grow into products that Stein and Bernstein are proud to sell. It took the Barrys a year of education and training before they felt qualified to begin producing spirits. They believe that consumers should know about what they are drinking and how it is produced. To this end, they provide a detailed description of the process on their website. In addition, they created Caskbook.com, a sort of independent Twitter feed on behalf of their drinks. A post dated April 10th 2013 reads, “Cask 1: Bottling soon. At cask strength! Nose has hints of cloves, honey and butter pecan. This is very smooth with honey, brown sugar, creamy vanilla and butterscotch on the palate.” Stein and Barry also love giving tours of the distillery. Of course, it takes a great deal of time to produce good spirits, and Still Waters Distillery has only existed since 2009. So, while whisky is the true passion of Stein and Bernstein, they have not yet sold a single bottle of the whisky they have been distilling. Their
blended whisky has been well received, a mix of Canadian whiskies with a dash of their own product. In addition to an award winning Single Malt Vodka and an Ontario grape brandy, they also produce new make spirits, both rye and single malt, which is essentially whisky that isn’t quite whisky yet. In Canada, spirits have traditionally been produced almost entirely by large companies, and legislation makes it difficult for a micro-distillery like Still Waters to break that trend. “The regulations concern everything from production through to sales and taxation, which is very high,” Bernstein explains. “For a small producer with small volume and relatively high costs… the one-sizefits-all taxation means very small margins. The Canadian wineries and micro-brewers have been successful in reducing these for small players and we hope that, in time, microdistillers will see the same kind of relief.” The struggle goes on for Still Waters Distillery. The wait ends this month for their whisky to become available. Stalk and Barrel Single Malt Whisky comes out April 27.
the student cocktail
Sometimes you don’t want shots. You also have to pay a trillion bucks for school books. You deserve a treat. Here’s some wallet friendly —and potentially delicious —alternative libations. #10 - Ghetto Absinthe. Equal parts sambuca and vodka. Add green food colouring. Light it on fire and then dump it in some ginger ale. Listen, it’s just for funsies. #9 - Fruit Cocktail. Okay, simple. Just drain a can of No Name Fruit Cocktail and replace the syrup with Vodka. Be patient and let it all mingle. You’ll be so happy the following evening when you need a healthy snack. A spiked snack. #8 - The Liz Lemon “Funky Juice.” White wine, ice, and Sprite. You want to go to there. #7 - Beer Iced Tea Gnarly powdered-tea mix in your Mill Street Organic. Songza some bluegrass about it. #6 - The “Queens” Special Half Smirnoff Ice. Half Coors Light. All of that Kingston skeez. #5 - Rum and Apple Juice The comfort of childhood recess, with the added comfort of inebriation. #4 - Gin and Water (and lemon) Why not hydrate while you’re at it? The lemon is detoxifying so this perfect for a post-Hart House workout beverage... (right?) #3 - Whiskey, Earl Grey, and Honey Why not caffeinate while you’re at it? You’ll be awake, cozy, and tipsy all at once! #2 - The Beermosa 2/3 beer, 1/3 orange juice. Fighting scurvy! #1 - Five Alive Sangria One bottle of wine per can of frozen Five Alive. No Name fruit punch works, too. This is a shareable drink, so you will be social and creative as well as being an affordable boozer. Everyone misses Five Alive; everyone is done exams and needs to indulge. Win, win. - Meghan Hubley
Co-owners Barry Bernstein (top left) and Barry Stein (bottom) during a tour of the Still Water Distillery
DDIY 10 drinking related do-ityourself projects that will make you see an empty bottle as a vessel of opportunity. 1. Bottle cap thumbtacks Trace around the circular base of the bottle cap on a desired image. Glue to the inside of the bottle cap. Use hot glue gun or crazyglue to attach a thumbtack to the back. Let dry. 2. Bottlecap pendant Tap flat the crimped edge of a bottle cap using a small hammer. Use a small drill bit to make a hole at the top of the flattened edge and thread a jumper ring through the hole, using jewelry pliers to close the ring. Decorate as desired — make more holes to attach beads or glue on images or fabric to the front. 3. Melted bottle windchime Melt a collection of multicolored wine or beer bottles, flattening out the tops. When flattening, slip a strong thread in the bottle opening, such as multistrand nylon, and squish the bottle on top of it. Tie to a wooden or plastic top, spacing out the bottles. Glue to secure. 4. Soap container Wash a smaller booze bottle and leave to dry. Using a funnel, pour in colourful soap, filling almost to the top. Cut off the screw threads on another bottle and glue to the lip of the booze bottle. Screw on a soap pump and enjoy. 5. Wall-mounted vase Rinse out a wine bottle and fill the bottom with water and plant nutrients. Use metal clamps screwed into the wall to hold the bottles. When the flowers start to die, unscrew the clamps and clean out the water. 6. Windowsill bottle garden Cut off the top of a beer bottle by creating a score line around the glass, then alternately exposing the line to heat and cold. Sand down the edges after it breaks. Fill a tall drinking glass with ten centimeters of water, stick the bottle top opening-down, fill the opening with dirt, and plant seeds.
How beer became hip Local food, craft brew and brands Isaac Thornley For decades beer has been crisp, refreshing, imported, “lite,” carbonated and bottled, but only now, in the twenty first century, have the hops become hip. Beer has emerged from the ranks of boring dad drink to the cutting edge of hipsterdom —but how? Just as there is no singular definition of hip, there is no one answer to the question, but a good place to begin is at the intersection of the local food movement and the growth of craft brewing. Doing it yourself, making and modifying your clothes, canning your own peaches, pickling your own peppers, pulling your own pork, brewing your own beer, and plenty of other time consuming, though arguably worth it, activities have become more and more popular as a younger generation begins to play with ideas that are foundational to the interrelated local food and craft brew movements Marketing and Promotions Manager at Garrison Brewing Company Tracy Phillippi commented on the demographic associated with both craft brew and local food. “Generally speaking, the local food movement and craft beer scene draw in the same kind of people – people who value quality over quantity, local over global, and ‘craft’ over mass production. Both groups also value the connection to history, culture and community.” The idea that we should encourage and engage in practices that ensure quality, resourcefulness, and sustainability over the current global 7. Shot glasses Cut off the top of a beer bottle with a screw off top at the neck. Screw back on the cap, turn upside down and use as a shot glass. 8. Drinking glasses Cut off the top half of a beer or other booze bottle, sand down the edges of the bot-
system oriented toward profit and mass production, the simple philosophy of think global, act local, are central to both craft brewing and the local food movement. People of this generation are more globally conscious; we are constantly warned about climate change and global warming, the finiteness of necessary resources like water and oil, and the fragility of our economic systems, yet we are also inheriting a certain youth-oriented cultural legacy from the baby boomers, one that values (or valued) change, political engagement, fun, frivolity, and also beer consumption. The growth and popularity among young people of small, local craft breweries each
perceived as cool or hip. New music, new art, new businesses, but also new spins on traditional practices e.g. wearing 1970’s corduroys ironically, are more likely to resonate with young people, who are relatively “new” themselves. Modern craft brewing is fairly young as well; the first modern craft brewery in Ontario, Brick Brewing Co., only opened in 1984. Craft beer is not the only hip beer; Pabst Blue Ribbon is an iconic example of how even mediocre beer can have a cultural influence. Canadian beer consumption as a
whole is also steadily decreasing both by volume and per capita as shown in a 2012 Statistics Canada Craft brew, as part of the local food movement, is offering young people something new, dynamic, and hip. Craft brew brands are edgy, colourful, sarcastic, pun-filled, and funny, not to mention the beer gets you drunk. It is a true match made in heaven for North America’s average urban hipster.
with their own distinctive brands and flavours could be read as our generation’s attempt to reconcile our concerns for the future with our love of intoxication and trendy practices. New, changing, dynamics are always more likely to be tom carefully, and clean out well. Then use as a serving glass for more booze, or any other drink you may desire. 9. Candle pot Cut the top off the bottle the same as for a drinking glass. Get a long cotton string to use as a wick. Melt down a block of wax and pour into the bot-
tle glass while holding the wick up straight. Light the wick and enjoy. 10. Chandelier For the truly daring (and boozy) crafter, beer bottles can be made into a chandelier. Arrange bottles of varying or identical color for different looks around a light source,
using chains and metal rings to keep the bottles in place. Alternatively, string hanging lights through bottles with the bottoms cut out, threading the wires through the opening of the bottle and letting the bulb shine through the cut off body of the bottle. - Sebastian Greenholtz
BEST SHOTS Memorable [boozy] moments in film Withnail and I Unable to find any booze, a crazed Withnail defies sobriety by chugging back lighter fluid. And people called you desperate when you stole your roommates’ beer. Trainspotting Having finished his drink, the violent and alcoholic Bagsby casually lobs his glass onto the unsuspecting scalp of a woman behind him. In comparison, the junkies don’t seem so bad. Blue Velvet Murderous criminal Frank Booth explains to the young and innocent Jeffrey the virtues of American beer. Fight Club After a ferocious brawl with...himself, our severely confused narrator shares a beer with... himself. “This one’s on me.” Django Unchained Django and Schultz defy their oppressors and share a pint, poured in a spectacular I like my amber ales AND my wellington darks Easy Rider Jack Nicholson follows two free spirits into the unknown, doing his best to stay intoxicated along the way. YA R R R R R R R RG H H H H H ! NEE NEE NEE FFT FFT FFT!!! - Ted Rawson
Toronto’s tasty Tokyo drift
A profile of eastern North America’s only sake brewery Yukon Damov An intense love for Japan and a savvy entrepreneurial philosophy have flung Ken Valvur into the centre of Toronto’s Canadian-Japanese junction. After founding Bento Nouveau in 1996 and turning it into Canada’s largest sushi company (think of those ubiquitous sushi boxes in the supermarkets), Valvur turned to sake in 2011, opening the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company in the Distillery District, eastern North America’s only sake brewery. His foray into Japan for a semester in the early 1990s as an MBA student, followed by his years in Tokyo as a Scotiabank employee, led him into the food industry, where he realized that the popularity of Japanese boxed lunches was a concept easily applied to the burgeoning Toronto sushi market. “There are only so many original ideas, but if you take one and apply it in an original fashion in a new place, that’s a solid business strategy,” Valvur told me. “I happen to be associated with Japan, but I think you can find things all over the world—in India, Russia, Turkey, wherever— that you can adapt a little bit and apply here.” On a fateful return to Japan for its Food Expo a few years ago, Valvur met the Miyasaka family, one of the most venerable sake dynasties in Japan. (Their sake brewing company celebrated its 350th birthday last year.) Valvur began as the Canadian agent for their imports, but then he tasted their unpasteurized sake. It left an imprint on him and his career. “It was a revelation,” is how he described that first tasting. “It led to this.” The Miyasakas are now consultants to Valvur. “We’re the child and they’re the parents,” he said. Their master brewer worked at OSWSC for its first
Ken Valvur, president of Ontario Spring Water Sake Company, Ken year. Becoming a master Valvur hopes sake will follow sushi’s lead. brewer, called a “toji” in able elsewhere on the entire Japanese, involves ten years of eastern seaboard. training (often also the same Valvur is bullish on the Onlength of training as for Japa- tario sake market, estimating nese sushi chefs) and there is that it has a twenty per cent only one non-Japanese toji in growth rate. It is not an esthe world. timate based on cumulative If sake in Toronto is not data, but something he has niche enough, OSWSC has be- gleaned from conversations at gun by carving out the high- the Sake Institute of Ontario, a end premium market for its trade organization of Ontario brand, Izumi. In Japan, sake sake importers, distributors continues to be the parents’ and a manufacturer, him. He drink, while youngsters tend says the rise of sake is often toward beer, wine, and cock- compared to the rise of tequila, tails, but Valvur’s business but while he admits it is too strategy is similar to the one early to call tequila a fad, he used by surviving breweries argues that sake has greater there, where the market has potential because of its cononly now stabilized after dec- nection to sushi. ades of declining consumpValvur calls it the “echo tion. boom.” The drink, he hopes, The mark of premium sake is will follow the food. that it’s cold, usually meaning Sake is to sushi for the Japait’s freshly-pressed, unpasteur- nese as wine is to cheese for ized, and unfiltered, a style of the French, but for the Japasake OSWSC claims is unavail-
nese, the sake-sushi combination is tighter and deeper (it’s not just the rice kernel). “Sake is the essence of Japanese food culture,” it says on the Miyasaka brewery website. “It, like our food, is the result of our uniquely blessed natural environment, and of the accumulated wisdom and experience of countless generations of our forebears.” Sake is ingrained into Japanese culture, taking up a central role in its religion, Shinto, by connecting humanity with the gods. With salt and water, shrine priests spread sake upon the ground in a purification ritual used before the construction of buildings. A holy sake is imbibed at shrines, some of which brew their own. Sake barrels decorate every shrine, sometimes piled six-high on top of each other. To celebrate auspicious occasions, the top of a sake barrel is broken open in a ritual called kagamibiraki (“unveiling” or “mirroring”). Marital vows are sealed by the couple sipping three shallow cups of sake. I noticed a small shrine in Valvur’s brewery, which held three small sake cups. He told me that the cups were filled with water until they brewed their first batch, when the cups were then filled with sake as an offering to the gods. Japanese manners dictate that when drinking sake in the company of others, one never pours their own cup. And with such small cups, I imagine that one is constantly pouring for others and vice versa. It’s a beautiful little gesture, a symbol of the strong Japanese social fabric. Should the rise of sake occur here, what other cultural traits will trail in its wake? As an ambassador of Japan, sake would seem to bring with it a healthy respect for the material essence of what we imbibe, and the hope of a humble gesture—not to mention an exquisite new taste.
cream of the hop A look at the costs and benefits to Ontario’s home-grown hops “Growing hops is more than putting the plant in the ground, stringing it up, and watching it grow,” says Nicholas Schaut , president of the Ontario Hop Growers Association.
Noah van der Laan From Prince Edward County to the shores of the St. Lawrence River, Eastern Canada was once a mosaic of flowering hopyards. During the first half of the twentieth century, hops thrived in agricultural communities across Ontario and Quebec, where commercial and cultural isolation meant brewers had to grow their own ingredients. Then something happened. Pestilence. Disease. Temperance. Calamities of biblical proportions struck hop farmers in the Northeast, contributing to a decline in production as the commercialization of the crop shifted westward. By the turn of the millenium, 98 per cent of market hops were being grown in or imported through Washington and Oregon, dominated by transnational beer companies Anheuser-Busch and InBev. Problem is: hops have a tendency to spontaneously combust when baled en masse. In 2006, a massive fire in a warehouse in Yakima, Washington wiped out 200 million pounds of the crop, 4 per cent of the entire hop yield that year. As prices skyrocketed, small brewers were left scrambling. At the same time hop production in the Czech Republic
and Britain were affected by blights and major storms that spelled further doom. These events provided a new generation of agricultural producers with the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with a nearly forgotten crop. But local farmers have had to contend with a unique set of challenges presented by Ontario terroir. Nicholas Schaut, president of the Ontario Hop Growers Association (OHGA), remarked, “You can grow hops wherever you want. High quality, too. But can you get there?” “Many of us started with half an acre of plants,” Schaut told the newspaper. “We decided that we could build our own materials, we could hand work these hops and run it as a small business. Turns out we would’ve been better off burying our money in a hole.” Realizing there was next to no information or equipment suited to small scale hop acreage in Ontario’s climate, the hop growers of Ontario began to unite. They formed a loose union, which eventually became the OHGA, recognized by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The mandate of the OHGA is to advance the resurgence of hops in Ontario; to educate hop growers; to liaise with craft brewers; to advance qual-
ity assurance; and to innovate technology and techniques in regional production. Last year, 23 hop farmers across Ontario produced 5000 lbs of dried hops (15 000 wet) across 30 acres of combined land. The passion exhibited by local hop producers is aweinspiring. The crop involves intense personal commitment, research and education, communication with growers throughout North America, and massive capital and labour investments. “Growing hops is more than putting the plant in the ground, stringing it up, and watching it grow,” Schaut pointed out. “It requires trellis systems, fertilizers, drip irrigation, harvesters... A full plant takes an hour and a half to harvest. 1000 plants is 15 000 hours of work. There aren’t enough free beers and burgers out there for that kind of a volunteer force.” Schaut is a dynamic and industrious hop farming veteran. He owns Big Head Hops in Meaford, Ontario. His crops for the 2013 harvest are already sold out. “It’s great to be part of the localization of economy. Know your consumer, know your brewer, know your farmer. It’s multi-directional, full and total engagement,” he explained.
For the time being, the OHGA will focus on building a relationship with the Ontario Craft Brewers. As the craft beer community evolves, interchange will increase and promote more traditional styles of brewing that utilize local ingredients. “Brewing in the province is uniquely based. We have an ethnic and cultural package here that fosters a great deal of openness. New breweries are exploring traditions and techniques and aren’t always brewing on recipe. There is an abundance of creativity, gut, and instinct.“ Charles Maclean of Maclean Ales brews hop teas to understand the aromatic qualities and bitterness of local whole leaf hops. Brewpub The 3 Brewers creates an annual harvest ale using farm fresh crops. The OHGA collaborates with Muskoka Brewery often. Last month, the OHGA hosted an event at Cool Brewing in Etobicoke that featured an advanced full-day discussion between 50 brewers, experts, and producers. “We invited breweries to visit our farms and grab hops right off the vine. It’s a unique experience and defines what people are looking for. Intimacy with products. It’s a big part of the craft beer renaissance
and brewers love it. That’s why we do it.”
Hop On Board John and Laurie Craig bought a farm. With no prior experience in the field, they decided to grow crops. And so the Craigs planted 18 varieties of hops over 13 acres of land on the banks of the Pretty River in Nottawa, Ontario. “I’d never seen hops grown commercially in Ontario. But he [John] told me there was a real push needed for local craft brewers. As a market analyst I was shocked by the research data. There was a clear inverse relationship between the number of craft breweries and the availability of hops,” Craig told the newspaper. The Craigs chose to alter the course of their lives by liquidating their respective companies and property to establish Clear Valley Hops Plantation, Ontario’s newest (and perhaps largest) hopyard. Just entering its second year of operation, Clear Valley will require 80 hours of work per week in order to maximize yields. Hops are a demanding crop. John Craig wakes up at 4am every day to clean the yard, check the trellis systems,
continued p 8
from ‘home-grown hops’
fertilize, irrigate, turn soil, strip vines, and scout for pestilence and disease — and then he does the same thing in each one of the farm’s six quadrants. “But fresh, locally-grown hops are worth it,” says Laurie. “The best things are in your backyard.” Clear Valley has an online retail store that recently began accepting orders for the 2013 hop harvest. The website is geared towards homebrewers and nanobreweries, who can experiment with the more intense profile of fresh, full leaf hops, and “test those recipes,” said Laurie. She also anticipates the patronage of craft brewers looking for wet hops that can go from vine to brewing vessel in a matter of hours. In early June, Clear Valley plans to host an open house, where visitors can hike the 50 acre farm, tour the hopyard and processing facilities, and learn about the beer-brewing ingredient. It’s big business for tourists in England and Europe. The Craigs are passionate people pursuing their dream. They are equally hard working and business-minded. For Clear Valley, support needs to come in stages. It was a staggering investment and hops
take a while to reach maturity. Canada doesn’t offer agricultural subsidies for hop growers like those available in the States. But The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAFRA) helps the industry in an organizational fashion. Back in January, OMAFRA put together the Great OntarioHopped Craft Beer Competition that paired craft brewers with local hops producers. At the 2012 Niagara veg festival Rawstock, craft beer was included on the menu for the first time. With some financing from Farm Credits Canada, the Craigs aspire to create a sustainable farm for provincial agriculture. Clear Valley is family-owned and operated, and will transition from one generation to the next. The Craig’s son Tyler Speirs is a big part of daily operations. Speirs’ sons contribute wherever they can. The youngest sports a John Deere T-shirt and can name all of the trucks on the farm. His four-year-old brother helps tends to the crops as best he can (he can’t). The Craig matriarch is elated about Clear Valley: “Farms bring family members back together in business, and consumers feel as good as we do about connecting the two.”
Will there ever be an Ontario hop? Time to play hop geography: Saaz is Czech. Hallertau is German. Golding is British. Nelson Sauvin is from New Zealand. Hop varieties are defined by the geographic regions where they originated and remain heavily cultivated. With the rise of local cultivation, will Ontario ever lay claim to its own hop variety? Laurie Craig of Clear Valley Hops Plantation believes that if there is an indigenous Ontario hop, it will be found in the wild -- somewhere near Kitchener-Waterloo. “That area has one of the largest German communities in North America. Early immigrants would’ve brought their hops with them. If you’re going to find an indigenous hop, you’ll find it there.” As president of the Ontario Hop Growers Association, Nicholas Schaut gets a lot of emails from people who have found wild hops growing alongside rivers, in forests, and on farms. “I’m always interested in such
discoveries,” he said, “in analyzing chemical profiles to determine if there is in fact an Ontario hop out there.” But he remains a tad skeptical about these finds. “You can only claim to have a specific, original strain of hops if there is genetic proof.” Schaut was given a wild hop by one of his neighbours, who found the flower in a forested area. He sent it out for chemical analysis. It checked out. The plant was female (male plants are not used in brewing) and had the necessary alpha and beta acids for bittering and aroma. He intends to send the hops to a lab for genetic testing, but has yet to do so. It’s an expensive process. Over at Clear Valley Hops Plantation, Craig and her husband John discovered a wild hop growing on their farm and decided to call it Wild Turkey. Those native Ontarian birds went extinct a century ago until they were successfully reintroduced by the province in the 1980s. The name pays
homage to the history of local hop cultivation, which followed a similar trajectory. While the Wild Turkey Hop was discovered growing indigenously, it has yet to undergo genetic testing, so the folks at Clear Valley can’t lay claim to a new hop variety with distinct chemical and biological compositions. Hops are hermaphroditic and can develop male sex organs, which produce pollen. Genetic transference and natural selection could theoretically occur with years of wild growth and pollination. There may very well be a wild hop growing somewhere in Ontario that’s entirely original. Even if there is, however, it takes 10 years of breeding programs to develop the consistency and quality assurance necessary for a new hop variety. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see...
Some feel, however, that contract brewing is what enables young brewers to get their craft-made beer to a larger audience, disseminating traditional recipes and unique brewing methods to a widened demographic. Left Field Brewery (LFB) for instance, Toronto’s newest and only baseball-themed beer makers, utilize the equipment at nearby Grand River Brewery in Cambridge, Ontario to produce larger quantities of their product. In response to the newspaper’s inquiries, LFB’s co-founder Mandie Murphy stated “we believe that it is possible to be a craft brewery and also a large manufacturer at the same time.” When asked whether she saw LFB operating out of its brewery in the near future, Murphy stated that “it’s absolutely part of our long term plan to build a brewery
in Toronto.” Murphy went on to discuss how, in being craft brewers, her and her husbandco-founder’s vision was to remain true to the traditional roots of hands-on brewing. Through the traditionalistic lens that seems to pre-occupy some visions of craft brewing,
contractual arrangements like LFB’s may seem problematic. However, the love and passion that small brewers, by either contract or other arrangement, have for their product is hard to argue with. Is that not what craft brewing is all about?
- Noah van der Laan
craft + contract beer Can the two go hand in hand? Emerson Vandenberg The advent of craft-brewing raises the question of how these small manufacturers can succeed in a market dominated by the big players. The response is an incarnation of the old adage: “if you can’t beat em’, join em’.” These small players are hitching their burgeoning niche industry to the vats of their exponentially larger siblings, literally. Contract brewing, as it’s called, allows local brewers to bring their own ingredients and personnel to large established breweries, and use their equipment to make beer. Within the craft beer industry, there is a debate as to whether contract brewing should qualify as truly craftmade. According to the Brewers Association, a group that supports and unites craft brewers across North America, craft
brewing is defined as small (six million barrels of beer or less per annum), traditional, and independent. The final tenet of the craft identity defined by the Brewers Association goes on to say that “less than 25 per cent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer.” These principles, while not specifically precluding contract brewing, do not lend themselves as easily to the large, industry scale operations of larger manufacturers. Alan McLeod, a beer connoisseur, posted in his beer review blog that contract brewers are often labelled “gypsy brewers,” with various stakes in the final product. “The contract may or may not include marketing, shipping and the rest. [It] depends on the terms of the contract.”
Get Well Bar’s Brad Clifford, home-brew master Tips, tricks and keeping it simple Noah van der Laan Homebrewing is the latest frontier in the local craft beer renaissance. From you-brew shops, to homebrewers clubs, to nanobreweries, small batch beer is making big strides across the province. the newspaper sat down with Brad Clifford of Get Well Nanobrewery to find out more: the newspaper: When did you start homebrewing? Brad Clifford: It was around early 2009. I was visiting my folks in London, Ontario and went to a you-brew place. I’d been drinking beer for a long time, but wasn’t a super craft beer geek. I liked beer with flavour. The first beer I brewed was from a kit, and it ended up a pretty bad pilsner. That year I kept doing it, learning from youtube videos and reading
up on the internet. After four or five batches things were getting a lot better. tn: What was your first major success? Clifford: When I started making beer, I was hanging out a lot at Michael Duggan’s brew pub on Victoria Street (now The Beer Academy). I decided to volunteer there, initially cleaning out mashtuns until I progressed to brewing with Duggan and then making some brews myself. At Duggan’s I learned a lot that applied to homebrewing. To see the simplicity of recipes, the importance of controlling factors like yeast pitching and temperature. That’s when my beers really started taking off. tn: Where do you get your ingredients? Clifford: Early on there weren’t many homebrewing
stores around. I used to buy from Canadian Homebrew Supplies in Brampton. That was before they opened a storefront, and I used to visit the owner in his garage. A year and a half ago they opened a retail outlet to much fanfare. They’ve recently expanded their warehouse and nowadays there are so many people frequenting the shop, it’s crazy in there. That attests to the amount of homebrewers around and the demand for equipment and ingredients. tn: How did you get involved with Get Well Bar and end up brewmaster at their nanobrewery? Clifford: [Proprietor] Jeff Barber and I met through the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program). He was talking about opening a bar or brew pub. We found a location with
I wasn’t a super craft beer geek. I liked beer with flavour. - Brad Clifford
a big kitchen and I said, hey, lets make beer back there. I ordered all the equipment and had it installed, but it took awhile for Get Well to obtain a license to ferment on premise. The bar opened last June and we had the nano up and running by October. Going into Get Well feels like I’m homebrewing. The only difference is that I get to sell the batches. The compliments I receive from people buying and enjoying my beer feels great. tn: How do you see the future of homebrewing in this province? Clifford: I think there’s just gonna be more and more homebrewers, and the market will saturate much like the scene down south. When I got into making beer the Canadian Amateur Brewers Association (CABA) was the only resource out there. They held events where homebrewers would get together and share their creations. There are now several new homebrew clubs: The Durham Homebrewers Club; Toronto Brewers Club; Southern Ontario Brewers; Brewnosers; Brauhaus. They’ve fractured off into all these little brewing subgroups all doing their own thing. We are beginning to see an increase in the number of really passionate homebrewers out there who are crazy enough to make a go at it. They are pursuing their dream of getting their beers out to people.
TOP 10 BOOZE VESSELS There is no denying that public drinking is important sometimes. There is no need to be arrested about it. #10 - Coffee Mug from Home One mug will last you for the walk to the party. See “Student Cocktails” for a nice earl grey suggestion. #9- Vial Necklace. For emergencies only. Vials around the neck are trendy right now. There is no sense in ignoring their ability to tote an anxiety-quenching shot. #8 - Cigarette Packs Dump ‘em out, Lung Cancer! Those packages can carry two miniatures! You’re ALLOWED to poison your body with booze! #7 - Mouthwash Bottles Rinse it, rinse it, rinse it. Or mix it, but really rinse it. This is best for sneaky concert swigs. Opening acts were meant to drink to. #6 - Ice Cream and Bailey’s Delicious creamy booze often comes in mini’s. McFlurry’s are excellent but we all know what would make them that much better. Plus, there is zero shame in mixing a beverage in the McDonald’s bathroom. You’ll be back later for fries anyway. #5 - Pepto Bottle It’s a plastic, easy to wash bottle just begging to be filled with vodka. People may wonder what sort of stomach ailment you have. You, on the other hand, are getting tipsy. Great work. #4- Iced Drink from Starbucks ...or Second Cup, Tim Horton’s, etc. Get something juicy and refreshing at a cafe very close to you. Sip it along the way to make room for all the wonderful hooch you will pour in and inconspicuously enjoy on transit. #3 - Beer Can in a Pop Can Hack off the top of a pop can. They are typically a bit rounder than a beer vessel. Slip your beer into the Franken-can. It will just look like you’re enjoying a nice public Pepsi. #2 - Banana Flask Urban Outfitters sells these. They legitimately look like the fruit. In reality, they house delicious gin. #1 - The Travel Mug It’s imple, sneaky, but not suspicious. Everyone is an earth-friendly tea-totaler. Except you. You have wine for the subway ride, you have wine at the dinner table where you can’t otherwise afford wine. You are royalty. - Meghan Hubley
Plowman’s Ale “Smells like walking into a shop in Kensington that sells grains.” - Bianca O “Maybe Charles Bukowski
India Pale Ale was developed in England in the 1790s by increasing ales’ alcohol and hop content in order to solve the problem of beer going flat or sour during long ocean voyages. Malts are used to balance the hops, sometimes
Iron Duke “Nice and strong, like one of those men in one of those men’s health magazines.” - Alan J “If a philosophy professor was a beer.” - Sydney G Wellington Brewery - Guelph, ON
Although Pilsner is relatively young – it was developed in Pilsnen in the present day Czech Republic in the mid1800s – it is one of the most popular styles of beer today. Made with hard or neutral water and partially malted barley, Pilsner usually has a hoppy aroma, a dense white head, a light taste and refreshing finish. Serve cold.
Tank “Sm house A o “Like oth rid le e Mill a spars down t e h Stre et B but eas e gullet rewe y fo ” rest - Mark ry w Toro W nto, alk.” - K Am e O vin H N “Im sterd a a g “Th ine m 4 En 16 e i A g ms type f Pres “T lish ter “V his i Ba da of be ident s y a m n Cr ill ho Pa Bre er to ’s Cho ee a fl w le we dri ice mo av bu Al ry n e b o - To k ou ginge re Sp ur m bleg ron t of r al rin ak um to, a 2 e su gs es s ON L st dde h LT th ou ein n D is b ld in P ly tu -C e t rag rne lea er aste ue. d in rvi pop . D ”ew .” e No to a b , O - Te licio ah e V er.” N d R us. ”
Pale Ale was first used as a term in the early 18th century. It has a pale-golden to amber colour, is usually clear, and often has a bready, toasty, biscuity flavour. ABV 4.5-6%. Serve cool (8-12 degrees celsius).
Steam Whistle Pilsner King Pilsner “Like a cornfield, broad, vast, “Smells like North End Halifax brewery air.” - Meghan H ubiquitous.” - Yukon D “Tastes like a 24 from dial-a-bottle.” - Sydney G “Minimalist decadence.” King Brewery - Nobleton, ON - David S Steam Whistle Brewery Toronto, ON
American Pale Ale
Hannenberg Pilsner “Tastes like elves innocently dancing in a forest.” - Amanda J “Like fresh baked buttered bread.” - Noah V Grand River Brewing Co Cambridge, ON
Amsterdam Big Wheel “Just the right amount of bitterness. Like a girl who plays hard to get.” Dylan H “I just got my mouth washed out with soap.” - Bianca O Amsterdam Brewery - Toronto, ON
Ambers are made with a hop-malt balance that usually leans toward the malts, creating a sweet, sometimes caramel flavour. Crystal malt gives it its darker copper or amber colour. ABV 4.5-6%. Serve cool (8-12 degrees celsius).
Cobblestone Stout “Straight up fucking delicious.” - Chelsea H “Almost like drinking really strong iced coffee on a cold winter’s day.” - Bodi B Mill Street Brewery - Toronto, ON
Originating from 18th century Britain and Ireland, a stout is chiefly considered to be a dark, bitter, and distinctly Irish brew, typically with a creamy, impenetrable head.
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SCORED FROM 1 to 5 5 - Get off your ass and go get this. I said NOW! 4 - Next time you see this, drop everything and drink. 3 - Order this to impress your beer snob of a date. 2 - Drinkable 1 - We’ll drink it anyway
Spring Thaw Maple Ale “Great faux fancy beer.” - Kevin H “Tastes like it was brewed in the hollow of a maple trunk.” - David S Mill Street Brewery Toronto, ON
County Dark Ale “It’s trying so hard to be stoic and strong but really it’s sensitive and needs a shoulder to cry on.” Alan J “Grown-up candy.” - Sydney G Wellington Brewery - Guelph, ON
Stella Artois “Smells like dank, tastes like men.” - Odessa K “Bubbles kind of mask any flavour, but as a beer nonconnoisseur, who cares?” - Marsha M Labatt Brewing Co - London, ON Vienna King Lager “Tastes like sticky toffee I stole from my parents.” - Bianca O “Full flavour start with a smooth flush. Just like a prom date.” - Max R King Brewery - Nobleton, ON Spring Imp “Reminds me of all the vegetables I avoided eating as a kid.” - Manaal I “A bit too sure of itself, like too much body spray.” - Lauren P❋ Mill Street Brewery - Toronto, ON
Budweiser “Makes me feel happy and sunny.” - Isaac T “Fruity with hints of nut-of-some-kind.” - Yukon D Labatt Brewing Co - London, ON
Lager originated in Central Europe in the early 15th century. After initial fermentation, the beer is stored at low temperatures (a process known as “lagering”) to allow for the production of bottom-fermenting yeast. This yeast is more aggressive than ale yeast, and produces a clean, crisp beer with a smooth finish. Lagers are typically served cold.
Creemore Kellerbier “Karate chops the back of my tongue.” - Manaal I “For British rainy afternoons, like marmalade and Wellington boots.” - Lauren P. Creemore Springs LTD - Clearview, ON
King Dark Lager “Like caramel’s sweet alcoholic brother.” - Dylan H “Tastes like a hug.” - Isaac T King Brewery - Nobleton, ON Organic Lager “Tastes like it should be served by McDonald’s, the McBeer.” - Lenny P “Not feeling the frat aftertaste.” - Marsha M Mill Street Brewery - Toronto, ON
Hawaiian Style Pale Ale “Bitterness balances out sweet citrus; a perfect (tropical) storm.” - Cara S “Hint of honey in a sea of bitterness, like a bee pollinating a field of barbed wire flowers.” - Sebastian G Spearhead Brewing Co - Etobicoke, ON
Black Oak Nut Brown “If you’re into burnt toast this beer is for you.” - Jane K “Tastes like what my grandpa smells like, smoke and old pennies, almost antique.” - Rhiannon W Black Oak Brewing Co - Etobicoke, ON
Boneshaker IPA “When the burp is as good as the beer, you’ve got a real winner.” - Noah V “It’s like sleeping with the wrong, sexy person.” - Meghan H Amsterdam Brewing Co - Toronto, ON
Alexander Keith’s Cascade “Sort of tastes like asthma inhaler.” - Isaac T “Like a Florida orange.” - Marsha M Labatt Brewing Co - London, ON
creating a mildly sweet flavour. ABV 5-7.6%. Serve cellar (12-14 degrees Celsius).
Originating in late 17th century London, brown ale has taken on a significantly different connotation than its original meaning. While 18th-century brown ales were brewed from 100% brown malt and lightly hopped, today’s brown ales are of medium strength and are usually low alcohol. They range from brown to deep amber in colouration, and are most often sweet and/or nutty. Chocolate and caramel flavours are also noticeable. Best served mildly chilled for optimum haziness.
tense blind tastings for your enjoyment. Judges were either affiliated with the making of the boozepaper or kidnapped from the streets of Toronto and forced to drink numerous types of beer so you wouldn’t have to (but we recommend you do). Thanks to all the participating brewers. Enjoy.
We endured a series of in-
would like it.” - Amanda J Grand River Brewing Co Cambridge, ON
A toast to Frye New Victoria College wines give a nod to U of T’s literary icon Kevin Hempstead
Syrah + popcorn The rich, fruity quality of this red features a hint of... spice. These flavours interact well with the unassuming palatability of popcorn. Vanilla notes add to the light texture of popped kernels, producing a kettlecorn-like quality. The added fibre will prevent you from feeling guilty about popping that corn and cork for a mid morning snack. Pinot Grigio + Nachos Crunchy chips, chopped vegetables, melted cheese, and jalapenos; add some Pinot Grigio to the mix and you will have your own rave in your mouth. Glowstick not included. Cabernet + M&Ms This dark and sensuous wine pairs well with the sinfully delightful candy-coated chocolate. This poor man’s caviar is complementary to a few (or five) glasses of this fulsome red — it will leave you wanting more. Pinot Grigio + ice cream sundae This mixed wine combined with cold, creamy ice cream topped with chocolate sauce creates a cornucopia of mouthfeels? And because nothing says summer like white wine and ice cream, this combo is a great way to keep you satisfied on those hot days (at least temperature wise). White Zinfedel + carrots + dip The slight bubbly fizz of this fruity summer wine “prepares the mouth” for “the crunchy carrots” and creamy dip. Our sources tell us the carrots are “delicious”.
- Carissa Ainslie
This school year Victoria College released its very own brand featuring four different wines. While it may not yet be well-known outside of the Vic community, the new alcohol represents a watermark for the once-religious college. Before 1971, alcohol was never permitted within Victoria College. Since the land was owned by the Wesleyan Methodist Church, the history of Vic is a rather conservative one. Dancing of any kind was not even allowed until 1926. The back of the new Vic wine selection tells the story of how Vic acquired its liquor license. In 1971 the governing Chairman of the College swore to resign if Vic began providing alcohol. A defiant Northrop Frye, however, raised his hand in favour of the li-
cense; others were encouraged afterward to do the same and the vote passed. In disgust the Chairman kept his promise and resigned, but Victoria got its alcohol rights. A group of Victoria University staff and alumni held a wine tasting in 2011 to choose the selection. The wines come from Cave Springs, a winery within the Niagara Region. The bottles feature front labels designed by David Blostein, a retired English professor who once taught at U of T. One of the labels portrays Northrop Frye raising his hand -- a representation of the now-memorialized alcohol vote. The other is a drawing of the Frye Gold Medal, which is annually awarded to Vic’s top graduating student. The wine is symbolic of the culture that surrounds the alumni of the college. Twice
a year Victoria College hosts wine and cheese symposiums with Paul Gooch, the President of Victoria University. Gooch himself is an avid fan of the wine, and contributed to the description of the history of Vic’s alcohol policy. When asked if other colleges have their own wine, his reply was a confident: “Well, none as good as ours.” While other U of T colleges have occasionally provided special labels for an anniversary year, Vic is the only college that plans on continually selling the wine. There are four to choose from – two reds and two whites – with one set for special occasions and another set of table wines. The former is now widely available at formal events at Victoria College, like the recent 10th Anniversary of the Vic One program held on April 10.
Save a tree. Have a cider. Meghan Hubley Nick Sutcliffe has always liked, and always drank, cider. Now, he is the president of the Ontario Craft Cider Association and two years ago he launched Southern Cliffs Brands. Together with his wife Lindsay and brewer Piers Roberts, the brand now produces Pommies Dry Cider in Caledon. Cider is the fastest growing product in the LCBO, and Sutcliffe claimed it’s “saving the [province’s] apple industry. Ontario is one of the world’s best places to grow apples, yet we’re bull-dozing orchards to build subdivisions.” He further noted that “apple-tree graveyards” are constantly popping up. His argument that the cider industry is carbon positive seems plausible -- “apple trees are good for the environment” -- and in Southern Cliffs’ case, good for Ontario farmers. Sutcliffe’s family lives on a farm, and the apples used in Pommies are handpicked from, and pressed at, a co-op near Collingwood not far from their cidery. “There are four generations of people growing trees. We prefer to buy from, and help out, the apple farmers. They know what they’re doing.” Adding value to apple farmers in a province quickly turning into suburbia is just one of Southern Cliffs’ many ecofriendly facets. They support local work that is natural to the Ontario environment, and Pommies is one of the cleanest alcoholic beverages around. Roberts affirmed: “Juice, yeast, bubbles. That’s it.” Sutcliffe and Roberts are old pals. When Roberts received a call in Panama asking him to come aboard Sutcliffe’s cider ship, he jumped at the opportunity. Roberts has a background in fermenting wine, and was eventually mentored by Grant Howes of County Cider Company. Sutcliffe drove to meet Howes in Prince Edward county to inquire about making cider. “I knew I could sell it, what kind to have, how to market it,” Sutcliffe gushed, “I just didn’t know how to MAKE it.” Howes helped create the Pommies recipe as well as getting the product sold in the LCBO. After a short time on the retail docket, Southern
Cliffs did the unheard of: they requested the LCBO pull their brand from the shelves; they needed more time to experiment with the brewing process. Sutcliffe said they “just wanted to make sure to do everything right.” The Pommies team is a meticulous duo. They make a point of choosing which of the apples picked at Collingwood go into their cider, as well as being very particular about its mix of apple types. Five varieties of apples are pressed at the co-op and brought to the Bolton facility to be fermented all together. The varieties come from three apple assortments -- high sugar apples for alcohol content, dessert apples for the cider’s candy-apple smell and taste, and apples with a high acid content. Sutcliffe explained, “Their different characteristics impart on the end product.” Roberts’ philosophy of blending the varieties is “to give more complexity, a richer flavour. Single variety’s can be bland for the pallet.” When asked about achieving a consistent product while still being able to mix up which kind of apple in the three categories are used, the two explained that the percentage of sugar, dessert, and acidic apples remains the same making a dependable outcome possible. Like wine, there will always be variance in flavour. The juice ferments in giant tanks taller than anyone present at the newspaper’s trip to Bolton, and ferments for three weeks. According to Sutcliffe, cider “naturally does it’s thing,” and is more similar to wine than beer. According to the team, Roberts’ job is 90 per cent cleaning, 10 per cent cider-making. They go through an intense filtration process after removing the yeast; this ensures no issues stem from cutting corners. This process is “like a war,” Roberts laughed. All about cleanliness in regards to visuals as well as physical results, Pommies is 100 per cent juice and a visually clear cider; unlike bigger brands like Strongbow, it is not from concentrate. “There are no residual flavours and you’re left with a clean finish,” Sutcliffe posited. While it seems dubious to claim that a major industry could have a carbon-positive
Inside Ontario’s artisinal cider brewing and how it might just save the apple industry
“I knew I could sell it...I just didn’t know how to MAKE it” - Nick Sutcliffe, president of the Ontario Craft Cider Association effect on the environment, it is hard to argue that planting more trees is a harmful undertaking. According to the National Association of Cider Makers’ website, “Nearly half
of all of the apples grown in the UK are used by the industry ... more than 8000 acres of new orchards have been planted … [they’re] a beneficial use of agricultural land.” Cider presents
itself as the most eco-friendly booze — and as Ontarians selecting cider as one’s beverage of choice is an easy way to support a local, earth-conscience business.
Cider house rules: experimentally brewing cider on a budget Experimenting with small, one-gallon batches of cider is an incredibly easy way to introduce yourself to homebrewing and a good start to pursue the future endeavours of wine or beer brewing. Startup Equipment 1 Glass Gallon Jug - $5 1 Airlock - $2 1 Rubber Stopper - $1 1 Auto Siphon - $13 1 Bottle Capper - $19 1 Bag of 100 Bottle Caps - $5 1 Bottle of Bleach - $3 11 Non-Twist Off, Empty Beer Bottles - Free Total Startup Cost: $48 Cider Ingredients 1 Gallon Apple Juice* - $6 1/5 Packet of Brewing Yeast $1 1 oz (0.125 cups) Corn Sugar - $1 Experimental Ingredients $3-10 Cost per 1 Gallon Batch: $8-18 Number of Bottles per Gallon: 11 Minimum Cost per Bottle: 73¢ *Ensure apple juice doesn’t contain sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate, which will kill the yeast and halt the essential fermentation process. Mott’s Apple Juice recommended.
The first, and most important, step is to sanitize everything. Infectious bacteria can spoil the entire process. Use bleach to thoroughly clean equipment.
Ensure enough time for bleach to evaporate, avoiding bleachy-tasting cider. Pour room temperature apple juice into glass jug. Add 1/5th of a brewing yeast packet meant for 5 gallons. Slightly swish the yeast into the apple juice for a few minutes then seal your glass jug with a rubber stopper and an airlock with a tiny bit of bleach diluted with water in the airlock. Let cider sit in a dark room at a constant temperature under 22°C for two weeks. Remove the sediment resting at the bottom of your glass jug. Siphon out the cider into a sanitized bucket, wash out the sediment with boiled tap water from glass jug, then siphon cider into glass jug. Let it sit for one to two more weeks sealed with an airlock and rubber stopper to keep out the oxygen. Priming: Boil in 1oz (0.125 cups) of corn sugar with 3/4 cups of water. Using different types of sugar will affect the priming time and taste. Add the solution to cider. Ensure no splash, which causes unwanted oxidation. Stir solution.
Bottling: Siphon out cider into beer bottles. Cap bottles and let sit for at least three more weeks. Cider usually takes longer to carbonate than beer. To an extent, the longer it sits the better it will taste. Experimentation: Add brown sugar, white sugar, honey, unfermentable sugars for sweetness, or another ingredient at different times in the brewing process (I recommend you only add these ingredients within the first week). You can also vary how much apple juice you add to the glass jug over the first week. Remember that a high alcohol content is not always your goal. You can easily get high alcohol content undrinkable cider. Visit thenewspaper.ca for a thorough step-by-step process. the newspaper is responsible neither for poor tasting, undrinkable cider nor for any associated hangovers. Please brew responsibility.
- David Sherret
reviewed each cider in a a series of blind tastings scoring from 1 to 5. A special thank you to the participating cideries.
Spirit Tree Pub Cider “Takes me back to New Years and Thanksgiving, family around the table singing late into the night and drinking sparkling cider.” - Sebastian G “A refreshing semi-sweet bunch of Canadian apples.” - Noah V Spirit Tree Cidery - Caledon, ON
Spirit Tree Apelager wildflowers and stuffed and grass of handful a took I “Like in them my mouth.” - Sebastian G “Undertones of golden delicious and tree bark.” - Odessa K Spirit Tree Cidery - Caledon, ON
Hammer Bent Red “Thirst quenching, perfect for Sunday brunch” - Odessa K “Tickles my taste buds, conducive to big gulps” - Yukon D Twin Pines Orchards and Cider House Thedford, ON
Perry “Flavourful and fruity” - Odessa K “Subtle hints of citrus, I’d take this over OJ any morning” - Cara S Spirit Tree Cidery - Caledon, ON
Thornbury Cider County Cider “Smokey? Oaky? Hokey pokey?” - Isaac T “‘Holy shit! How “Great way to stay hydrated and replendid this apple ish electrolytes before, during and after get in me?’ - said Water.” - RhianCarrick a few laps around the Hart House gym.” - Cara S non W Whipper Carrick Old King Brewery Nobleton, ON “I want to Snapper Boys Cider breathe this cider, “Tart lemonade “Smells like bye oxygen.” apple juice flavour.” Alexander Keith’s Original Cider Meghan H gone wrong, in - Nick R “I had Japanese hard candies that The County a good way.” “Satisfytasted exactly the same.” Cider Co Isaac T ingly sweet and Sebastian G Picton, ON “Bit of jolly tangy like a slice “This cider seems to have collided into rancher.” of sour cherry a truck carrying a celebrity perfume.” - David S pie.” - Cara S - David S Carrick Wines Carrick Wines Labatt Brewing Co London, ON and Ciders and Ciders Mildmay, Mildmay, ON ON Carrick Gravel Run Cider Pommies Dry “A skip through the apple orchard.” - Sebastian G Cider “You could trick someone who doesn’t drink booze to drink this (but “Sweet and clingy, like an alien don’t do that).” - Meghan H species.” David S Carrick Wines and Ciders - Mildmay, ON “Sweet and innocent; sip on a nice day at a white wedding.” - Cara S Southern Cliff Brands Caledon, ON
Items from vintage beer label collection fron Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. Article adjacent.
Death, beer, and family: A bedtime story Tracing the dark history of Canada’s beer dynasties Lauren Peat
FIND IT IN YOUR LOCAL LCBO NOW
THEN DRINK THIS TOM CAT MARTINI 2 oz Still Waters Single Malt Vodka Spritz (burn) of Drambuie 1 Maraschino cherry Shake vodka and Drambuie long on ice, strain into a chilled martini glass and drop in 1 maraschino cherry.
Though they are now multinational corporate titans, Canada’s largest breweries— Labatt, Molson, and Sleeman, respectively—were cultivated amidst small town settings, and each has its own colourful family history that often became embroiled in their craft. Labatt Brewing Company, the largest of the three, was founded by John Kinder Labatt of Laoighis, Ireland, after he immigrated to Westminster County, south of London, Ontario. Labatt purchased a brewery at the “South branch of [Ontario’s] Thames river” in 1853. By 1934, the brewery had made a reputable name for itself. Under the management of John S. Labatt—the original Labatt’s grandson—it was gradually becoming one of Canada’s largest breweries. That summer, as Labatt was driving from his summer home near Sarnia, “three men jumped out [of a pursuing car] and ordered [Labatt] out.” According to a story in the Toronto Star, Labatt was held at gunpoint and made to pen a ransom note to his brother demanding $150 000, a sum that would garner roughly $2.5 million today. He signed the note on behalf of the thugs’ leader, “Three-fingered Abe.” The kidnappers later “blindfolded Labatt and chained him to a bed.” The ordeal so frightened Labatt that he became a recluse until his death
in 1952. Also of note was that his grandmother died in 1966, mysteriously “poisoned by accident.” Labatt’s largest modern competitor, Molson-Coors, shares Labatt’s humble beginnings. In Merrill Denison’s The Barley and The Stream, John Molson, a twenty-two year old Englishman from Lincolnshire, arrived in Montreal in 1782, and later established a brewery “close by the broad, green flood of the St. Lawrence.” Their family, however, was also touched by tragedy: “Harry Markland Molson, greatgrandson of [the original] John Molson, perished when the Titanic sank. Legend says he was last seen removing his shoes to swim toward a boat he saw in the distance.” Sleeman Brewery is perhaps the younger sibling to the might of the Labatt and Molson legacies—the company is smaller but possesses an even more colourful and bawdier story. Throughout the seventeenth century, the Slymans, as they were then known, were pirates, and engaged in “illegal business ventures out of England,” according to the Canadian Business Journal. It wouldn’t be until the mid-18th century that they began to make their business legitimate. The family changed their name to Sleeman and opened a brewery and a series of pubs. But old habits die hard, and the Sleeman family was again coloured by scandal in 1933
after all of the Sleemans save one, who was away in Ottawa on a legitimate business deal, were arrested and charged with smuggling beer to Chicago mobster Al Capone. The Sleemans lost their brewing license, and were banned from brewing or selling beer for the next 50 years. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that the Sleeman brewing heritage was rekindled. The Sleeman Brewery’s reincarnation is only one of many to meet a trade utterly different from its beginnings; in 1995, the Labatt Brewing Company was bought by the Belgian brewery Interbrew, and now has international divisions. In 2005, Molson merged with America’s Coors Brewing Company and in 2006, Sleeman was purchased by Sapporo Brewery, a Japanese company. The lineage and legacy of Canadian beer has inevitably taken on an international flavour. Traditionally, Canadian businesses fostered deep connections to their land and people, and ownership trickled down through generations of family successors. The stories and legacies of these families remain, but the family members themselves are often disconnected from the operations of the business. Canadians now imbibe decidedly globalized alcohol, each sip the product of boundary-crossing trades that were once unimaginably far from home.
Rare Books Library loaded with beer . . . labels Exploring the vintage beer label collection at Thomas Fisher Jane Alice Keachie People collect all kinds of things. Collections serve as connections to the past; a way to hold on to tangible pieces of history. Throughout the world, as well as right here on campus, vintage beer labels have become sought after by collectors and archivists alike. In 2011, the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library received a generous donation of over 3000 rare beer labels and other Canadian Breweriana. According to The Globe and Mail, Larry Sherk, the donor, had
accumulated the second largest collection of vintage beer labels in North America. The Globe cites the label collection’s current worth at approximately $125 000 – it makes one think twice about throwing away empties. The collection spans over a century, with the oldest labels dating back to the late 1880s. The library describes the collection as documenting “changes in tastes, design sensibilities, and cultures during this time.” In order to date the labels, the Fisher Library is able to
consult a directory of Canadian breweries. This includes tracking name changes and new products as ways to tie each label to a particular date. Changes in technology serve as key clues. Many of the older labels are chromolithograph, a method of producing colour prints that dates back to the 19th century. The library has uploaded over 600 of the labels onto Flickr, divided into three photo sets. The oldest series dates back to the 1860s, which is a highly impressive date in terms of label preservation.
As archival material, beer labels are of historical interest for a number of reasons. According to Anne Dondertman, acting director of Fisher Library, the labels showcase both stylistic and technological changes within the fields of graphic design and marketing. Earlier labels represent many different breweries but as the years passed there was a shift -- almost all of the smaller companies consolidated into five or six corporations. Dondertman commented that the more recent labels show an “explosion of lots
and lots of breweries and microbreweries.” This growth in popularity of microbreweries over the last few decades has contributed to a greater variety and artistic intrigue within the labels. The label on a beer bottle is a unique point of access for a brewery to communicate with their drinkers. Collections of Vintage beer labels, like Fisher Library’s, contribute to perceptions of the past and give insight into cultural trends, societal values, and — most importantly — what people drank.
booze: brought to you by sex Without the sex lives of yeast, there simply wouldn’t be any drinking alcohol. Yeast cells can’t move around so they release mating pheromones to find each other. If a yeast cell detects a partner nearby, it forms a cellular projection (called a “shmoo”) in that direction. Ideally the partner yeast cell is also projecting a shmoo. These stubby, tentacle-like shmoos will find each other and in the dramatic highpoint of yeast sex their tips will fuse to make a tunnel through which genes can meet. The more shmooing, the more yeast, and eventually the more boozing. - David Stokes
Why few of us go to the bar hoping to end the night alone David Stokes A study from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand found that most people rate sex as the top activity that brings them happiness; drinking alcohol or “partying” came in second. A casual stroll around town—stopping at, say, the Brunny on a Friday night—shows that we tend to combine these passions. The Brunswick House basement also seems like the ideal place to confirm the results of a different study that found that almost 50% of unplanned sexual encounters are under the influence of alcohol and 80% of first sexual experiences occur under the influence of alcohol. While the association of alcohol with human sexaulity seems as if it has always existed, it’s actually like they just met. Humans as a species are almost two million years old. Archeological evidence suggests that brewing was discovered only ten thousand years ago. So for most of human existence, sex was an entirely sober affair. But once alcohol was discovered it almost immediately became associated with sex — witness the sex motifs on ancient drinking vases. And with contemporary industry allowing for the low-cost production and wide-scale distribution of high quality, high
strength hooch, it means that alcohol and sex are now found together more intensely than ever before. Drunk sex is trending this century. Since alcohol works by impairing regions of the brain controlling behaviour, emotion, memory, attention, and coordination, this means that alcohol directly diminishes the exact parts of the brain that make sex possible, pleasurable, and even meaningful. But when we use alcohol to “loosen up,” especially in those contexts where we are expected to overtly display our sexaulity, it’s typically this very set of impairments that we are seeking. For some of us who are selfconscious or trapped too much in our heads, using alcohol to zonk out our cerebral cortex (the brain’s center for abstract thinking) is the only way we’ll step foot on the dancefloor. And alcohol’s role in getting us to touch each other isn’t solely through obstructing abstract thinking; its effects on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems can lead us to perceive an increase in sexual arousal, so that after a drink or two we often feel that we’d like nothing more than ass grinding with a sexy stranger. The process that triggers this feeling begins as alcohol causes the blood vessels to relax, allowing more blood to flow through them. This in turn
drops blood pressure, and in order to maintain blood flow to the organs, the heart rate increases, our pulse quickens, and our breathing speeds up. The rapid onset of these effects can cause people to conflate alcohol consumption with a boost in arousal because these changes feel so similar to the breathless heart-stutters we feel when we’re around someone we desire. Alcohol consumption also causes the body to display signals that seem similar to the human body post-orgasm, such as a flushing of the cheeks and a darkening around the eyes. Hence, drinking, subconsciously at least, suggests back to orgasm and causes us to send a certain measure of sexual signifiers. In addition to these atmospherics, perhaps another reason we surround the prospect of romance with alcohol is because the loss of rational control and independence experienced while drinking feels like a starter dose of the reeling whirlwind that we feel when falling in love. Alcohol and amour also reinforce similar sensual enjoyments. To enjoy the complexities of wine takes an intense concentration and attentiveness to the sensations of one’s tongue, a similar attentiveness found in kissing. To find the many scents present in the bouquet of wine uses the same
nasal apparatus that detects the microscopic clouds of sex pheromones we enjoy around a lover. For all alcohol’s physiological effects, experiments suggest that alcohol’s association with sexual arousal is as culturally mediated as pharmacological. A 1976 study found that men who think they have been drinking alcohol, but were actually given a placebo, reported feeling more sexually aroused and were more responsive to erotic stimuli. In our culture, alcohol is a part of the social unveiling of sexuality, a substance whose presence signals that sexuality is overtly in play. Alcohol’s cultural codification goes so far that an individual’s alcohol preferences can reliably predict which aspects of sexuality they will find socially and personally acceptable. Perhaps you are wondering if a new interest would be down for sex on the first date. Statistics show that both men and women who report enjoying the taste of beer are 60 per cent more likely to sleep with someone early in a relationship. This applies to both gay and straight people. While sex and alcohol are a ubiquitous and beneficial pairing if taken together in the right doses, with too much drinking the relationship quickly turns sour, as most of
alcohol’s physiological effects are unremittingly bad for sexuality. Heavy drinking causes a drop in testosterone levels, and causes testicular shrinkage and impotence. In a study of healthy men who received alcohol for four weeks, testosterone levels declined after only five days and kept falling. Prolonged testosterone deficiency may contribute to a “femininization” of male sexual characteristics (ex: breast enlargement). Alcohol also interferes with normal sperm structure and movement. For women, large quantities of alcohol disrupt menstrual cycles and fertility is affected. A 1998 study in Denmark found that women who have up to five drinks a week are twice as likely to conceive as those who have ten or more. Of women and alcohol, ancient Roman men liked to say, “Sine Cerere et Baccho friget Venus,” from the poet Terence: “Without Ceres and Bacchus”—that is, without food and wine—”Venus would grow cold.” Alcohol actually lowers the human body temperature; physiologically it leaves both men and women the opposite of warm hearted. One ancient ballad writer praised Bacchus for opening “every woman’s door.” He may have intuited more than he realized as scientists have since discovered that
women are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol than men, partly because they have less of an enzyme in the lining of the stomach needed to metabolize alcohol efficiently. There is also a strong link between wine consumption and female sexual satisfaction. According to a survey conducted at the University of Florence, researchers—using the Female Sexual Function Index, a 36-point scale
that scores women’s sexual satisfaction based on self-reporting of orgasm, pain, and arousal—found that women who drank zero glasses of wine scored an average of 24.4. One glass a day drinkers came in at 25.9. And the two glasses per day group blew the competition away, amassing a score of 27.3 on average. Speaking of wine, women, and orgasm, the chemical acidity of the vagina in health is just about the same
acidity as that of a glass of red wine, which is why sex expert Ian Kerner suggests that going down on a woman is something well accompanied by a glass of wine. However, excess alcohol drastically decreases both the female and the male ability to orgasm. It inhibits nervous systems including respiration, circulation, the sensitivity of nerve endings, and, most orgasm-thwartingly, dehydrates
the body. Sexual arousal needs a certain volume of blood to bring oxygen to the genitals, a process associated with erection and lubrication. So, with a decreased volume of liquid circulating in the body and with a depressed nervous system, the body struggles with sexual performance. Drunk sex is thus filled with aching muscles, headache, and chaffing. If you want to get off, you gotta lay off.
In mild quantities, alcohol’s depressant quality is counterbalanced by the hormones released when a sexual encounter is a success. But if you drink and don’t make it into anyone’s bed or good books at the least, you’re pretty much guaranteed to go home feeling even worse, and have a hangover to boot. Alcohol has also been shown to raise the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Stressed out, foot-tappingly angsty, and existentially sad, we start drunk dialing and texting—and then, typically, we just drink more. It’s little consolation but humans are not alone in resorting to alcohol when alone or rebuffed: in lab tests, when male fruit flies had their advances rejected by female fruit flies, these males began excessive alcohol consumption, drinking far more than comparable, sexually satisfied male flies. On a related note of the easy co-incidence of sex, booze, and desperation, a UTM prof found that male Australian jewel beetles are irresistibly attracted to beer bottles—fatally so. The bottles resemble a “super female” and the male beetles are so captivated that they ceaselessly try to mate with a bottle until they either fry to death in the hot Australian sun or are easily picked off and eaten by ants. Drinking also affects human judgement in profoundly negative ways. A study found that the more you drink, the stronger grows your intention to have unprotected sex. A drunk person cannot give legal consent and sex with that person could constitute sexual assault, of which alcohol is frequently a catalyst, while not a cause. Alcohol consumption may lead individuals to ignore or miss cues that suggest an assault is likely and decrease an individual’s ability to resist an assault. But enough of the bad stuff, let’s get back to the good news. Even Jesus got involved with wine as reportedly his first miracle was making wine at a wedding. And for centuries since, a cup of wine has been hoisted to seal the bond of matrimony, a symbol of the blending of lives into something greater and richer. Wine horticulture had its own shotgun wedding in the 19th century when a tiny insect called Phylloxera vastatrix started destroying European vines. The only way to save the precious European grape vines was to graft native and totally wild and unknown American vine varieties onto
Hard sell Dylan Hornby The beer industry has long been known as a goldmine for creative, popular advertising. From the beer-sponsored TV game shows in the early fifties to Budweiser’s infamous “Whassup” Superbowl commercial, beer companies have poured billions into clever, funny and substantive advertising that is often a cut above their non-alcoholic counterparts. Up until the 1940s, while plenty of Americans enjoyed drinking, the exclusive advertising of alcohol was still considered a faux-pas considering its own illegal past, with the recent end of prohibition. The connection between beer and watching sports goes back to the very origin of beer advertisements. The dawn of modern beer advertising came along with modern technology. As television began to appear in North American homes, baseball games were the feature of many of the first telecasts. Television’s early days opened the door for small breweries to sponsor the
games at a highly affordable rate. The Boston Red Sox even gave the local Narragansett Brewery free advertising rights in 1945, due to the scepticism associated with early television. Yet just like how Bud Lite today has a sponsorship deal with the NFL worth over $1.2 billion, beer advertisements soon became a high cost, high profit business. In the early fifties, beer companies began paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to sponsor popular radio and television shows. Tactics varied, but sex appeal stuck. Carling’s Black Label, a beer from a small Canadian brewery, began advertising on TV with a gorgeous blonde waitress named Mabel who would appear when any gentleman called: “Black Label, Mabel!” These ads quickly entrenched themselves into American pop culture, and led to Black Label becoming one of the most popular brews of the fifties. By the mid-fifties and sixties, beer advertising had morphed into a million-dollar Madison Avenue business, worthy of the likes of Don Draper or Rog-
The changing tactics of beer advertising
er Sterling. The diet craze of the sixties created a new market for light beer, which still largely dominates the sports viewers’ world. Advertisers realized that light beer has both less calories and a lower alcohol content, meaning that TV ads would bring people to buy light beer and buy more of it, in order to get their desired effect of inebriation. Today, beer giants such as Molson-- although half owned by Americans-- continuously associate themselves with Canadian culture and heritage through advertisements. The widely popular “I am Canadian” ads are a perfect example, often focusing on trivial but visible differences between Canadian and American beer drinkers.
While the concepts of advertisements have changed, some old selling staples have remained. Sports and sex have always been featured heavily in beer ads. Despite constant critics denouncing the sexism of these ads, contests promising a trip in a private jet with Bud Girls or a ride on the Coor’s Light Silver Bullet train through the Rockies (also with girls), have almost always led to skyrocketing beer sales. Beer commercials have created a popular niche in the ad industry for being clever, controversial, provocative and catchy. The appeal of counterculture advertising has come through particularly with the reversal and mockery of beer’s illegal past. Sleeman Breweries has recently launched several
ad campaigns that openly celebrate their past run-ins with the law, either as smugglers during Prohibition or as beerbrewing pirates. With recent rising popularity of smaller craft breweries and sexism in beer advertisements seemingly in decline, one has to wonder what will come next in the world of beer commercials. With Budweiser’s latest ad campaign-a flashing red goal light that goes off in your home whenever your favourite hockey team scores-- it appears that even the longtime giants of the beer industry aren’t going to stop their unique and creative tactics anytime soon.
Brewing in the ancient world Men may have been the breadwinners, but women turned it into beer Manaal Ismacil The art of brewing beer is one as old as human civilization, with evidence of beer production emerging out of Sumeria and Mesopotamia (modern day Iran) as early as 1800 BCE. In early civilizations brewing beer was a practice that was not exclusively occupied by women; it was, however, dominated by women both in the physical and spiritual realm. The Sumerian Hymn to Ninkasi calls upon the goddess whom Sumerians believed invented the drink. The ancient tablet also includes an ancient beer recipe written in cuneiform that calls for the use of fermented grains of barley and various “aromatics.” For Sumerians and many other early civilizations, beer was not only a source of nutrition but also a beverage associated
with the feminine and the divine; it made those who drank Ninkasi’s gift feel “exhilarated, wonderful, and blissful.” With the fall of the Sumerian empire we see the rise of the Babylonian empire and a continuation of the female beer brewing tradition with priestesses becoming more involved in the sacred practice. The Babylonians were among the first to codify laws that specifically addressed beer and its brewing with the introduction of the Code of Hammurabi (1500-2000 BCE). The code that is famous for demanding “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” also demanded that brewers be “thrown in the river” if they were seen cheating customers. The code also includes a section that rations out the amount of beer that citizens are able to brew depending on their social
standing — priestesses held the highest. Through trade ancient Egyptians also developed a taste for the fermented drink. Soon after initial trades with the Babylonian empire, Egyptians began brewing their own beer. Egyptian women developed their own variations of the drink by adding dates and uncooked dough to add sweetness to the often bitter taste. Rapidly beer evolved from an exotic foreign import to a staple entrenched in the ancient Egyptian diet — and by extension, culture. This was followed by the invention of a hieroglyphic representation of beer and beer making by Egyptians scribes. Tenenet, the ancient goddess of childbirth, also became the goddess of beer as the drink became popularized throughout ancient Egypt. Tenenet was initially identified solely
as the protector of the female uterus and was often depicted with a cow uterus on her head. As women were the primary bread makers and beer-makers, the two became closely associated with childbirth. The primary domestic duty of breadmaking offered many ancient women some monetary autonomy from selling beer and providing them with the opportunity to make a profit. Despite the contemporary depictions of women in often hypermasculinized beer commercials, women have had an important and colourful role in beer-making — and many historians argue it is they who can be credited with its origin.
Wooden figurine of a female brewer, ca. 2465-2323 B.C.E., located in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
Homemade kombucha: the moonshine of tea
Mood-altering beverage surprisingly easy to make After downing the first glass of our lovingly-brewed kombucha tea, my roommate and I began to happily decant some of the brownish liquid into old peanut butter jars for all our friends, feeling like a pair of regular yoginis. As I steadied the jars, my roommate—pouring from the wide-mouthed jug—hesitated: “Dude, do you feel like your tongue kind of hurts?” Slightly put off, we decided against sharing the health and vibrancy of this particular brew with our friends and downed vast quantities of the apple cider-reminiscent beverage ourselves. When brewed properly, kombucha tastes like a light cider, but without any of the fruitiness. However, many kombucha brewers flavour their brews often using combinations of herbs, fruits, and roots. Kombucha is fermented, living tea with an effervescent quality that is created using a bacteria and yeast culture known as a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast). Nearly two thousand years old, kombucha originated in China in the Tsin Dynasty, and
was aptly referred to as “teafungus.” Zoey Shamai, a Toronto native and founder of Tonica Kombucha, explained that the enzymes and bacteria that are created during fermentation function as a digestive aid and, in particular, gluconic acid works to detoxify the liver. Shamai reassured me that the buzz I felt from my first homebrew was not from alcohol content, but from enzymes that carry oxygen into the blood which brings the feeling of a slight “lift.” Adding fruit juice to a fullyfermented kombucha brew, and letting it brew a while longer will produce an alcohol level of about three percent. The low sugar content and low calorie nature of the drink make for an ideal mixer in cocktails (see sidebar). In addition to the energetic lift from kombucha’s highlyalkaline acidic properties, the drink has long been used around the world as a substantive health aid. Several studies have highlighted its effectiveness relieving headaches and joint pain; it helps eliminate toxins from the bloodstream; and particularly as a digestive regulator.
A word to the wise: do not guzzle down kombucha thinking therein lies the secret to a miracle cleanse; rather, start at about a cup per day and supplement that with massive amounts of water in order to flush uprooted toxins out of the body. Kombucha can be made easily at home as long as attention is paid to cleanliness and brewing times. Brewing kombucha requires only three ingredients: strongly brewed black or green tea, sugar, and a SCOBY. Once the brewing ingredients are added to a jug, a breathable covering must be elastic-banded around the top, and after about two weeks, and some serious trepidation later, you’ll have a jar of ready-to-beflavoured kombucha. Shamai suggests cutting the brew time down to one or two weeks and to regularly test the brew over that period: “Once it’s got a nice tang and you’ve formed a nice, big, thick culture the brew is ready.” Home-brewing no-nos include: chain-smoking while examining your percolating brew, as well as leaving your brew in a dank cupboard smushed against another shelf where it is unable to expel
1 shot Vodka Intense (50 per cent) 1 shot of fresh raspberry puree Spoonful of liquid honey 2 leaves of fresh sage 2 shots of kombucha Several fresh raspberries
FIRST put the vodka, raspberry puree, honey, and sage into a cocktail mixer and shake for 30 seconds. THEN pour into whatever sort of beverage holder happens to be on hand (let’s not get too picky here), add kombucha, and several whole raspberries. MARSHA MCLEOD
The Third Eye: Raspberry Sage Martini
carbon dioxide. Also, if angry black spots appear on your SCOBY or in your brew, throw out the whole thing and start again. As for acquiring your very own SCOBY? For about ten dollars per culture, our dear friends on Craigslist can’t wait to share. So give yourself an excuse to clean your lessthan-spotless kitchen and start brewing!
A Guaranteed Hippy Hangover: Mint Mojitos
1 teaspoon of sugar/honey Several lime wedges 10 fresh mint leaves 1 shot of light rum About a half cup of kombucha
FIRST, in a tall glass, add the lime wedges, mint, and sugar. THEN, rush the lime and mint using whatever instrument you have in your kitchen -- the bottom of an ice cream scoop works quite nicely. ADD the rum and stir vigorously. THEN add kombucha to the top of your glass. ENJOY! - Marsha McLeod
ONTARIO BEER FESTIVALS 2013 JUNE August 9,- August 17, 2013 national capital craft beer week 2013
OTTAWA May 09, 2013 north american craft beer experience
June 22, 2013 session toronto TORONTO May 31 - June 01, 2013 brews ‘n’ bands craft beer festival June 22, 2013 cider fest
July 04 - July 07, 2013 barrie craft beer & bbq festival
July 26 - July 28, 2013 toronto’s festival of beer
July 19 - July 21, 2013 kitcher ribfest & craft beer show HAMILTON
August 1, 2013 craft beer festival & bbq August 10 - August 11, 2013 the roundhouse craft beer festival
June 21 -22, 2013 london beer & bbq festival LONDON August 03, 2013 forest city beer fest
SARNIA August 31, 2013 festival of good things
NOAH VAN DER LAAN
On March 23, Callum Hay and Andre Lowy of Halo Brewery invited me to their Kensington Market brew space to witness the creation of a rose water saison. The two home-brewers began brewing to satiate their love of atypical beers, and have since crafted over 30 original recipes including Phineas Gage Golden Ale, Noxious Void Stout and The Final Straw Strawberry Wit. Halo recently upgraded to a five gallon brewing vessel and temperature controlled fermentation. The plan is to continue refining their home-brews and eventually go big. - Noah van der Laan
Halo Brewery’s Callum Hay (left) and Andre Lowy (II) weigh Munich malt extract, (III) pour crystal malt powder into the brewing vessel, (IV) taste, and transfer their latest original recipe to their fermentation tank in their Kensington brew space.
the installation by Long Goa at the newspaper headquarters.