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


Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Here's to a Happy and Prosperous New Year! Whatever your plans may be tonight, drink good beer!

I'll be back in a couple of days to start updating the blog with new posts, getting back to the way it used to be in the past with a post a day, including new pub reviews.

I'll also be putting together a review of 2010 post on here shortly, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, here are some links from the past.

Sam Adams launch in Toronto - with shoddy video

Session: A Craft Beer Festival

8th Annual Canadian Brewing Award winners

Toronto Beer Week Thoughts

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Meet Reid Pickering: The Feather's Pub - Toronto, ON

Meet Reid Pickering, the owner of The Feather's Pub on Kingston Road. Pickering used to call The Rebel House on Yonge St. home as he was a longtime manager there before purchasing Feather's off of a retiring Ian Innes, who opened the popular pub almost 30 years ago.

Since the purchase, Pickering has altered a couple of taps at Feather's, bringing on more local craft beer and continues to serve cask conditioned ale to his loyal customers. Pickering also took part in the first ever Toronto Beer Week, running events with Wellington, Steam Whistle and Creemore.

How long have you operated your establishment
1 1/2 years

How did you get into the hospitality industry?
I started washing dishes at age 15.

What is the best part of operating a pub?
The people

What is the worst?
The people

How do you go about selecting the beer for your establishment?
I try to maintain list of good quality and seasonal beers from around the world.

Where did the name of your establishment come from?
The original owner Ian Innes named it after a pub in his native Scotland.

What has been the biggest change in the beer industry since you started your business?
I have seen a huge growth in cask or real ale as well as so many new micro breweries.

If you could change one thing about the industry (pub/bar/restaurant), what would it be?
I would like it if the LCBO would allow licensees the ability to split cases or privately order in higher end product. As it is right now it is very cost prohibitive to try to maintain a specialized cellar.

What do you get up to when your not at your establishment?
I sing and play guitar in local roots rock band Tin Roof Rusted

If you're not drinking at your own bar, where do you head to for a beer?
Kilgour's or Fanny Chadwick's

Name the last beer you consumed?

The Feathers Pub
962 Kingston Rd
Toronto Ontario

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Vancouver Island Brewery - Virtual Tour

Vancouver Island Brewery have posted a short video on YouTube that takes you inside the brewery for a virtual tour as their highly acclaimed Hermannator Ice Bock is being bottled.

Ontario's Roger Mittag and B.C's Chester Carey provide tasting notes for the 2010 Ice Bock in the current winter issue of TAPS The Beer Magazine, both providing glowing reviews.

Monday, December 20, 2010

barVolo - Holiday Heavy Hitters

The following is a message from Toronto's barVolo

Join barVolo for our last two events of the year featuring our favorite beers of 2010 and special beers from Quebec on draught.

Thank you for all your support this year!

HOLIDAY HEAVY HITTERS Monday, December 27th, 2010 (4pm-2am)

Mill St. Barley Wine 2010
Black Oak Ten Bitter Years Double IPA
Scotch Irish Jon By Imperial Stout 2010
Grand River Russian Gun Imperial Stout 2010
Duggan's TBA
Wellington Russian Imperial Stout 2010
Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Imperial Stout 2010
Taps Belgian IPA
Granite Gin Lane Barley Wine 2010
Great Lakes Stalin’s Choice Russian Imperial Stout
Grand River Jubilation Ale 2010
Nickelbrook Belgian Double
** All beers will be served in 300mL glassware.
** All beers are limited in quantity and subject to change

NEW YEARS EVE Friday, December 31st, 2010 (4pm-2am)

Le Trou Du Diable Sang-d'encre Dry Stout
Le Trou Du Diable La Saison Du Tracteurs
Taps Belgian IPA
Hopfenstark Saison Du Repos
Denison’s Weissbier
Flying Monkey Smash Bomb IPA
Black Oak Ten Bitter Years Double IPA
Great Lakes Ace Of Spades Single Hop Black IPA
Hopfenstark Kamarad Friedrich Russian Imperial Stout
Dieu Du Ciel! Peche Mortel Coffee Imperial Stout
Dieu Du Ciel! Rigor Mortis Abt
Mill St. Barley Wine 2010
Hopfenstark Framboise

Black Oak Nutcracker Porter (Cask)
Volo / Biergotter “V” Black IPA (Cask)
Volo / Biergotter / Dieu Du Ciel! Lendemain De Veille (Cask)
Volo Johnny Boy Ontario IPA (Cask)
Volo Hip-Hop Series #1: "RUN ESB" Black Extra Special Bitter (Cask)

** No Reservations, pre-fix menu, dress code or door admission
** Regular food menu will be served plus daily specials
** All beers are limited in quantity and subject to change

December 20th-23rd: 12PM - 2AM
December 24th: 12PM - 5PM
December 25th-26th: CLOSED
January 1st - 2nd: CLOSED

LCBO Sam Adams Utopias Update

Cass Enright of Bar Towel was the first person to break the news in October, and Josh Rubin of the Toronto Star built upon it days later, leaving Ontario beer enthusiasts thirsty for more news about the release of the famous Sam Adams Utopias.

Earlier today Rubin posted some news on his Tweeter feed about an update he received and an hour or so ago I received a message from Chris Layton, the LCBO's Media Relations Coordinator, who had this to share.

The LCBO has purchased 70 bottles (710 mL) of Utopias for customers. It will retail for $114.95 per 710 mL bottle. Due to the extremely limited availability of this product, and to ensure all customers have an equal opportunity to purchase it, the LCBO will be offering Utopias via online and telephone orders only – not in LCBO stores.

Orders received by the assigned deadline will be randomly selected. This is the same process that the LCBO uses to offer rare, limited-edition wines through its Vintages fine wine and premium spirits business unit. 
The LCBO will accept orders starting January 6, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. up until 6:00 p.m. on January 13, 2011. Given the very limited availability of this product, only one order per customer will be accepted and allocation will be limited to one bottle per customer. We regret that we cannot guarantee that all orders will be filled. Orders randomly selected will be confirmed by either telephone or email on or after January 17, 2011. Orders will be shipped to the LCBO store of the customer’s choice at no extra charge.

Order by Online Form
Submit your order before the deadline using Vintages new Direct Sales Online form. Sign up today for your Online Direct Sales account at

Order by Telephone
Submit your order before the deadline by calling Vintages Sales Centre at 416 365-5767, or toll free 1-800-266-4764, Monday to Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

As you know, Sam Adams Utopias is considered by some beer collectors to be the culmination of the art of brewing. The 2009 release, which the LCBO is offering, is a blend of batches, some aged as long as 16 years in bourbon, sherry and port casks. 
I've been lucky enough to share in a number of bottles in the past and at $114.95 people lucky enough to get their hands on a bottle will be rewarded for their patience.

Paddock Wood Winter Ale

I received a couple bottles of Winter Ale from Saskatchewan's Paddock Wood Brewing Co. a couple of week's ago and decided to get into one this morning. The beer was released back in November in limited quantities alongside their Grande Reserve Winter Ale. Only 300 of the latter were released in 750ml champagne bottles where they have undergone secondary fermentation.

This Winter Ale, brewed in the Belgian Dubbel style, and inspired by a classic Belgian brewery. The Belgian brewery is unknown to me, but Steve Cavan, owner of Paddock Wood, mentioned that instead of replicating the original recipe they received from said brewery he would add his own elements to it, which included creating their own candi sugar to use in the beer.

"In one of those 'friend of a friend of a friend' relationships, we have recipes direct from the source. It gave us a basic parameter for brewing a Dubbel, but we decided not to replicate it for various reasons. One being we had to make the Candi ourselves. That was very cool, boiling the sugar to about 300F and adding water," said Cavan.

It pours a lovely deep copper with a streak of red hues shining through. The nose contains whiffs of Belgian yeast, warming alcohol notes, some roasted malt and grape skins.

Flavour is nicely balanced. Good carbonation level with some sweet caramel malt, complex sugars, steeped raisins, christmas cake, and a hint of spice in the finish. Lingering on the palate, the Winter Ale provides a nicely warming affect with it's 8% alcohol content while going down nice and easy. It's well rounded, full of flavour and begs for more.

From the label:
Winter Ale warms the cockles of your heart on a cold winter evening. A complex blend of malts makes a rich toasted caramel profile

Friday, December 17, 2010

Amsterdam Bottles Smoked Porter - Winning Entry From Toronto Beer Week Homebrew Competition

The first ever Toronto Beer Week (TBW - held back in September) held a Homebrew Competition that attracted homebrewers from across Canada.

Kyle Teichert, from Egmondville, ON, wowed the judges with his Smoked Porter recipe, going on to win the judging.

Toronto's Amsterdam Brewing Co. offered to brew the winning entry on a commercial scale, and yesterday, December 16, 2010, the Smoked Porter was bottled and will be available for purchase from the brewery very shortly. There are only a couple of kegs floating around - 1 is heading to Toronto's Burger Bar in Kensington and 1 to Chancey Smith's in London, ON

Teichert, who isn't big on words, had this to say about winning the first annual competition. "It was unexpected because I had just started homebrewing. It was great to see my beer brewed here at Amsterdam and I think it's great for homebrewers. Also, it's neat to know people will be drinking my Smoked Porter. Thanks to Amsterdam and the TBW organizers."

Amsterdam's Blake van Delft said, "It's been a fun experience doing this beer and I think people are really going to enjoy it (Smoked Porter)."

Here are some pictures that were taken yesterday during bottling.

Smoked Porter - Winning entry submitted by Kyle Teichert of Egmondville, ON

Jamie Mistry (Amsterdam Brewmaster) & Teichert - about to enjoy a taste
Bottles about to be filled with the Smoked Porter

The Smoked Porter gets capped

After capping the Smoked Porter receives a cold shower

Coming off the bottling line and into boxes

One of Amsterdam's barrel projects - Brown Royale. There is also a barrel of the Smoked Porter kicking around the brewery

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Niagara College Brewmaster Students 101 - Mark Murphy

I last reported on the new Niagara College Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program back in May 2010 (well, actually earlier today) and since then a lot has happened. A 1,600 square foot brewery has been built, brewing has commenced, their first beer has been launched and a semester has passed. The school received 186 applications, and 24 students were selected to be part of the inaugural class. Throughout the next year of the program I'd like to introduce you to a few of the students and allow them to provide updates on how the course is progressing.

First up is Mark Murphy, who I first met when he volunteered to help steward the 2010 Canadian Brewing Awards.

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you find yourself enrolling in the Brewmaster program?
Well, like a lot of people I've meet, beer was not my first career path, but became a passion that could not be ignored. I graduated with a Bachelors of Accounting degree from Brock University in 2005, and went on to get my Chartered Accountant (CA) designation in 2007. Since 2005 I've worked as an auditor performing financial statement audits, tax returns and operational audits. I can say that I loved the challenge of obtaining my CA designation, but once that was done, I quickly learned that I'm not the type of person who will enjoy sitting at a desk for the next 40 years, doing work that I'm not passionate about. In addition to a love of great beer, I've always had an entrepreneurial mindset and also really enjoy rolling up my sleeves and getting dirty. I actually first heard about the program on this very blog, and immediately could not shake the idea from my head. Since I'm still (relatively) young and don't have kids I figured there would be no better time to make the switch.

Describe the moment when you first saw the craft beer light?
Throughout university I guess you could say I was "price conscious", so I bought pretty much anything that was on sale. It's funny to look back now, but when I first discovered the existence of Keith's red I thought it was a 1,000 times more interesting than the more bland lagers of the day. At the same time I was always open to a Guinness, so there was definitely some potential there. After graduation (when I had a bit more money) I would routinely load up on LCBO single cans and bottles. The scales definitely tipped when I first tried Innis & Gunn (original oak aged) and Fullers annual vintage release (bottle conditioned). At those moments, my mind was blown in terms of the flavour possibilities with beer. Since then I haven't looked back.

What's your favorite beer style?
I love this question! Since I'm in the brewmaster program I usually get asked what my favourite beer is by friends and family... How could I possibly choose just one? These days I'd definitely side with the big American IPA's.

Stay tuned for the next post as Mark updates us on how the first semester has progressed. For more information on the program you can visit and be sure to watch here ( for the launch of the college's first beers.

First Draft - Niagara College Brewmaster Program Launches First Beer

Friday December 10th was an historic day for Niagara College as they launched their first student brewed beer for the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program at the Niagara-On-The-Lake campus.

The first bottle of First Draft

First Draft, as the college is calling it, is a fairly standard pale ale and was bottled in a standard 341ml non-twist bottle and will be available for purchase at the college's retail store shortly (on campus). Proceeds of sales support student learning. You can follow along at the students' website (currently being updated) at:

Jon Downing with some of the students

Coming up later today on the blog, Niagara Students 101 with Mark Murphy. Mark will be sharing information with us in the coming weeks on the progress of the course, introducing us to other students and will be taking us into the teaching brewery to share some tasting notes...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Kichesippi Beer Co. To Take Over Heritage Brewing

While I was out having a liquid lunch, I missed a tweet from the good people at Kichesippi Beer Co. about some important news. It turns out that they will be taking over Heritage Brewing Co. as of December 14th.

I spoke with Kichesippi owner Paul Meek back in April, for a short 'bar snacks' piece in TAPS, and even then he mentioned that he'd like to operate his own brewery in Ottawa one day, and, as of December 14th, after brewing Kichesippi at Heritage on a contract basis for seven months, that will become reality.

"I'm very excited about this news," said Meek this afternoon over the phone. "It's great for Kichesippi Beer as we'll be able to expand our production," he said.

"When we started Kichesippi seven months ago we knew that the contract brewing aspect would only be temporary, that we'd be looking to operate our own brewery one day, in Ottawa. This opportunity arose and it's perfect for us. We look forward to taking the things Heritage has accomplished, and what we've been able to accomplish, and put them together for our future goals," said an excited Meek who will be solely focusing on the Ottawa region for the time being.

In a post from an Ottawa based blog, Apt613, the site that broke the story, the author indicates that current Heritage owners, Ron Moir and Donna Warner are second time grandparents and are ready to move onto something else, something Meek confirmed.

He also stated that Kichesippi will be keeping the Heritage staff who will work together with the Kichesippi staff to take the brewery forward. Kichesippi will continue to brew the two Heritage beers -  Premium Lager and Traditional Dark Lager, but unlike what another site previously mentioned, the Scotch Irish brands were not part of the deal, and there is no word on their future at the moment.

The husband and wife team (Ron and Donna) have been two very passionate people in the Ontario brewing industry and will be missed with their departure from the scene.

Kichesippi Natural Blonde is currently available in 33 locations across the Ottawa region and 6-pack long-neck bottles are currently in the works for LCBO approval. Meek also noted that with the purchase of Heritage, the company will be able to expand production and will take a look into a seasonal program, which will start with the brewing of their Anniversary beer to mark their 1st year in business.

Buskwakker Mead - 2010 Release

Every year the Bushwakker Brewpub in Regina, Saskatchewan releases a Mead in time for the holiday season (this year a Blackberry Mead). And being the first brewery to ever produce a mead in Saskatchewan, Bushwakker receives tremendous response each year from their customers, with this year's edition the largest to date.

Selling out in less than 90 minutes, individuals lucky enough to get their limit (2 six-packs per person) for $60 (a six-pack) were thrilled as some people left empty handed due to a significant increase in interest this year.

Here is a video of this year's release, which took place on December 4th.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Garrison Brewing Up A Spruce Beer

Daniel Girard, the Brewmaster at the Garrison Brewing Co. dropped me a line yesterday informing me that he and another Garrison brewer (Qian) would be heading out to one of their hopyards, Meander River Farms, to pick over a dozen bags of spruce tips for a new beer he was brewing today - a strong Spruce Beer.

If you head over to Garrison's Facebook page you can view images of Girard and Qian at the farm cutting the spruce tips and then back at the brewery while they make the beer.

This is Girard's second spruce beer, but first since brewing with Garrison.  The beer uses the outer 4-6 inches of spruce and fir branches for aroma and flavours plus molasses and dates for sugars.

President Brian Titus had this to say about the new beer, " running naked through an Acadian forest - pretty intense!"

The brewery plans to have some bottled by next weekend and it's intended to come in at 7.5%. "Definitely a traditional ale essentially using what was available at the time. Dark with some residual sweetness, should make for a rich and intensely flavourful mid-winter brew," said Titus.

From the label:
At Halifax, spruce beer was the big commodity and thought to be a very good beverage for the men... Will be Brewed for the Health and conveniency of the Troops, which will be ferved at prime coft... it is made of the tops and branches of the spruces-tree, boiled for three hours, then strained into casks... 5 Quarts of Mollaffes will be put into every Barrel of Spruce Beer... as soon as cold, it is fit for use... while encamped at Halifax the soldiers drank great quantities of spruce beer, "the allowance was two quarts per day to each man, or three gallons and an half week, for which he paid seven pence... the Seamen always continue healthy and active when drinking spruce Beer."

Creemore Springs Brewery Looking For Ontario Sales Leader

Creemore Springs Brewery in Creemore, ON, is currently looking for an Ontario Sales Leader to join their team.

Have a read of their job description and click on the link provided to be directed to the website where you can apply if interested.

Creemore Springs Ontario Sales Leader

Job Description
The ideal candidate has a passion for the craft beer business, is results focused and personally accountable for their actions, thrives on innovation and has the desire to be part of a winning organization.

We are looking for a Sales Leader who is excited about the opportunity to add value to our company, to our customers and to the craft beer segment; and can execute the following with precision and enthusiasm:

• Develop and implement a sales plan that delivers on combined measures as well as sales standards.
• Lead, coach and develop a team of Sales Representatives including championing a solution based selling orientation.
• Be an active participant in the business with a minimum of three days a week in the field accompanying the Sales Representatives.
• Develop and maintain strong key targeted market partnerships (customer and industry) including leading relationships for key accounts. Work closely with Marketing Director of LCBO account.
• Partner with Brand Marketing in the development of trade initiatives and programs to ensure the sales team has appropriate tools to succeed.
• Monitor, measure and communicate monthly business performance indicators against regional plans/targets including competitive review.

Education and Experience requirements:
• Post secondary education with a minimum of 10 years progressive sales experience. Prior experience in leading and managing a team is required.
• Experience in a specialty alcohol beverage market and/or in the craft beer market is preferred.
• Solid understanding of brewing and styles with a keen interest in beer reverence and food pairings.
• Intimate knowledge of Creemore Springs Brand and other specialty brands in the portfolio.
• Strong relationship builder with the ability to influence others.
• Exceptional interpersonal, presentation and communication skills.
Company Description

Creemore Springs, a dynamic and growing business within the craft beer segment, is currently seeking a highly motivated and inspiring Ontario Sales Leader to join their Sales and Marketing team in their Toronto office.

Creemore Springs Brewery opened for business in 1987 and has become a leader in the craft brewing industry in Ontario. This role will provide leadership to the sales team to drive the achievement of Ontario sales volume and quality execution targets.
Additional Information

Type: Full-time
Experience: Mid-Senior level
Functions: Sales

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Help Name Church Key's New Beer

John Graham, the owner/brewer/keg washer of the Church Key Brewing Co., needs your help with naming his new beer.

Through History Television's, Graham is featured in a short video asking individuals to provide names for a new Biere de Garde he has created under his Heavyweight Series. There is some criteria you have to follow though - the suggestions need to be fun, memorable, and it has to fit on the label.

There have already been some names submitted: Whammo, Cup of Gold, Knucklestein Stock, and more.

Click here for more information and to watch the video

A MolsonCoors Procession

I just came across this interesting article on the Hamilton Spectator website - Now That's a Beer Run

MolsonCoors are getting some new tank, which are currently sitting at the Hamilton Port. After traveling 15 days on a cargo ship from Germany, six 45 tonne vats have to make it to MolsonCoors' huge Toronto plant. It will require four nights of travel at walking speed, paid-duty police from five different jurisdictions, a 40 vehicle convoy, road closures, and the removal of hydro wires and traffic lights!

Click on the link to read the article...and the comments.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Great Lakes Brewery - Hops For Hunger Back Again

Great Lakes Brewery have launched their annual Hops of Hunger initiative at their Etobicoke brewery. The annual program is in support of the Daily Bread Food Bank and will be running until December 24th (it started on December 1st).

Here's how it works - Anytime a customer purchases beer from the brewery's retail store, Great Lakes will donate the corresponding poundage of food to the food bank. Last year Great Lakes surpassed their goal of 2000lbs and are aiming for 3000lbs this year.

The brewery is open Monday to Saturday from 10am - 6pm and is located at 30 Queen Elizabeth Blvd in Etobicoke.

Beau's + CABA = BOOM

Press release from Beau's All Natural Brewing Co.

Vankleek Hill, ON - Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. is proud to present the 2010 edition of its CABA CABA HEY series of beers “Boomerweiss Weissbier” a collaborative effort from BEAU’S and ‘Home Brewer Of The Year’ John Baine from Dundas, Ont.

Thanks to this unique partnership between the Canadian Amateur Brewers Association (CABA) & Ontario Craft Brewers, the Home Brewer Of The Year not only gets an award and bragging rights, but also gets to help design & brew a beer with the folks at BEAU’S.

John’s award winning entry is called “Boomerweiss Weissbier”. A beer that features an intense banana flavour that goes all the way to 11 and is complimented by clove-like spiciness and a bubblegum aroma. Lively carbonation helps to accentuate this classic hefeweizen’s drinkability.

"It’s great to work with a passionate home brewer like John,” says Steve Beauchesne of Beau's All Natural Brewing Company, ”And help take his dream of beer to the next level"

CABA CABA HEY! 2010’s “Boomerweiss Weissbier” is available now for a limited time at Beau's Brewery, 10 Terry Fox Road in Vankleek Hill, Ont

Meet Troy Kirkby: The Spitfire Arms Alehouse - Windsor, NS

front of the Spitfire Arms Alehouse
Meet Troy Kirkby (without a picture), the publican of The Spitfire Arms in Windsor, NS. While I have never personally met Kirkby, we've been emailing each other for a number of years, dating back to the first time I visited his pub, and based on those emails, Kirkby sounds like a passionate publican. A guy you'd like to have a beer with.

The Spitfire Arms is a great little pub in the small community of Windsor, NS and boasts a credible beer menu that satisfies both the beer enthusiasts' and macro drinkers alike (Garrison, Propeller, Granite, etc). It's also home to Kirkby extensive WW2 aviation museum, free to view.

How long have you operated your establishment
I purchased this circa 1898 commercial building in June of 2002. It was derelict, full of rats, mice, bats and junk...lots of junk. A rough estimate puts the demolition debris total weight at approximately 20,000 pounds! The second floor apartments were brought up to living standards first so I had a place to live. November 2002 saw the first phase of construction on the main floor, it was here that my dream of building a pub became a sudden reality. Since there had never been a restaurant on these premises, everything was new from the floors joists up. After months of hard labour, blood, sweat, tears and thousands of dollars invested into the "swear jar", we finally opened for business on April 19, 2003.

How did you get into the hospitality industry?
In 1999, while on vacation in England I visited dozens of pubs including my Great-Grandparents "local" and the Packington Arms, Islington, London which my Great-Uncle ran during WW2. It was then that I decided by the time I turned 30, I would open my first pub somewhere in Canada. As it turned out, I celebrated my 31st birthday, eight days before The Spitfire Arms opened.

What is the best part of operating a pub?
There have been countless moments over the past eight years that have been significant to me personally. But in reality, it's the simple fact that any great pub finds its way into peoples everyday lives and becomes an extension of their own space. We have celebrated births, deaths, anniversaries, marriages, birthdays, Friday's, holidays right beside our friends and customers. If you aren't a part of the local community, you don't last very long in this business.

What is the worst?
To be honest, it can be challenging to separate personal lives and emotions with everyone who walks through the doors. Finding a balance between personal and public life is something I believe most hands-on owners face at some point in their tenure as a "Publican".

How do you go about selecting the beer for your establishment?.
"Market Research!!!" I love using that phrase. I'm a beer guy, through and through. If there's something new or unique available to the trade, I want to find out as much as possible about the brand, its history and its representation prior to putting it on draught or in the fridge. To the best of my recollection, we have offered something in the region of approximately 230 different brands from across the globe since 2003.

Where did the name of your establishment come from?
My life-long passion for Commonwealth aviation history was the main inspiration for choosing the "Spitfire" as the name for the pub. My Grand-mother served in the Royal Air Force as a WAAF, she grew up in Islington and I've listened to her telling stories about growing up during the Blitz and seeing and hearing the Spitfire's and Hurricane's roaring through the skies over London. It's an Iconic aircraft and in my opinion still one of the most beautifully designed airframes of all time. I also wanted to exhibit my personal collection of RCAF and Commonwealth aviation artifacts, so there is a display case built into the pub that allows customers of all ages to see the genuine article. The pub has been referred to as "the fourth aviation museum in Nova Scotia". I use the phrase "The Spitfire Arms Alehouse, not just a pub, it's a place of Remembrance" to express my thanks to an entire generation of common people who did remarkable things during uncertain times. It is to them that I owe my freedom.

What has been the biggest change in the beer industry since you started your business?
It was an emerging trend in the Maritimes that I was able to capitalize on when we first opened - SELECTION. People thought I was crazy to open a pub outside of Halifax with eight draught lines in 2003. We now offer sixteen choices and a guest beer. A shift in people's tastes to import, specialty and microbrewery beers, coupled with tailoring a great food menu to compliment the entire experience. I believe we were at the right place, at the right time with the right idea.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
One word...Government.

What do you get up to when your not at your establishment?
I've been involved with the preservation and restoration of an Avro Lancaster bomber in Edmundston, New Brunswick since 2001. It is my other passion in life. Aside from that I collect Francis-Barnett motorcycles (one of which belonged to my Great-grandfather), I travel as much as possible to experience new cultures, especially their food and drink! And, as I mentioned before - MARKET RESEARCH!

If you're not drinking at your own bar, where do you head to for a beer?
I have a few favourite spots in Halifax. In no specific order; Durty Nelly's, Finbar's, The Henry House...but there's one in Ontario close to my Mum's place in Paris - The Cobblestone Public House. Great people, great food and great beer!

Name the last beer you consumed?
Funny enough, it was Lancaster Bomber by Thwaites Brewery, Lancashire, UK. It was given to me by someone at an aviation conference in Ottawa a few weeks ago...nice and hoppy!

The Spitfire Arms Alehouse
29 Water Street, Exit #6, Hwy 101
Windsor, Nova Scotia B0N 2T0

Friday, December 3, 2010

Reminder - CASK! Social Tomorrow

Just a friendly reminder that the Victory Cafe will be hosting the December CASK! Social between 4 and 7pm.

Here are the details (from CASK!)
Saturday December 4th 2010
Time: 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Location: The Victory Cafe
581 Markham Street, Toronto

It's that time again.... time to meet up over a few pints of delicious cask-conditioned ale!

Join us for the December Cask! social on December 4th at the Victory Café. This month's social will feature the beers of F&M brewery (StoneHammer beers.) The Victory will be serving a Harvest Pale Ale, an IPA as well as the Oatmeal Coffee Stout...Please note that this month, the social is from 4pm to 7pm...all are welcome!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

McGill Economist Throws Beer Drinkers Under The Bus

I was listening to the radio on my way into work today when the host of the program brought up a topic about tax cuts. Normally I would switch the station and listen to something else, but before I could the host brought up a quote uttered by Thomas Velk, McGill University's Economist.

The discussion, and I won't bore you with it, was around statements made by Ed Clark, the Chief Executive of TD Bank, who had made a speech in Montreal last week about urging tax cuts for poor Canadians.

Velk meanwhile, doesn't agree with Clark's approach and had this to say to the Financial Post on November 26th - "I would really dispute Mr. Clark's notion that we need to give money to the beer drinkers." He continued, "We can't afford it. We've got to build future productivity and we have to do that in the private sector. And the only way to do that is to give funding to the productive citizens who privately invest."

Now, I don't want to delve into this any further than needed, but what is he saying here about beer drinkers? He's making a pretty general statement that beer drinkers are poor and that they are not productive citizens. So, are all wine drinkers rich? Are all scotch drinkers productive citizens? What an absurd comment to make.

Years ago a Liberal MP made comments similar to this and it caught the attention of Rick Mercer who launched the "Beers Not Kids" petition in response. He didn't know why everyone was beating up on beer!

Yet once again, beer drinkers get thrown under the bus. But being low class, unproductive citizens and all, we might welcome it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Meet Tashi Sundup: Bryden's - Toronto, ON

Tashi Sundip - Bryden's (and fan of the Habs)
Meet Tashi Sundup, owner of Bryden's on Bloor Street (at Jane). Better known as Tash, Sundup has transformed his establishment over the last couple of years into a place where beer enthusiasts feel welcome. Gone are the Alexander Keith's and Coors Light taps, in are the craft beers like King Pilsner, Denison Weissbier, Great Lakes Devil's Pale ale and more, and most recently, cask conditioned ale.

I first paid a visit to Bryden's back in June of 2009 shortly after Tash decided it was time for a change and I've been back numerous times since. You'll find that Bryden's has great pub food to go along with your pint, and you can spend hours sitting on the large couches near the entrance with a book while supping your beer. During Toronto Beer Week Tash stepped up and hosted the Tower of Power events that featured Ontario Double IPA's, proving to be one of the most attended events in the city.

How long have you operated your establishment
Since the turn of the century!! Managed it for "Bryden" till about 2005 then gave him his walking papers and became The Grand Phooba myself.

How did you get into the hospitality industry?
Grew up around it. My father was a chef by trade and we had a restaurant in the family as I grew up. I always worked in the industry while I was a student, but it really wasn't a dream of mine to have my own pub; it just kind of happened. I was actually trying not to be in this field, I wanted to be the captain of the Montreal know them Troy...they knocked out your Pens in the playoff last year

What is the best part of operating a pub?
Easiest question of the day - the people. You come across so many interesting and really cool people. I've met so many great people within the beer industry. Great staff, they're like family, the best of the best & also any other cliches I missed. I really mean it though, they're awesome, and we easily have some of the best customers you could ask for. Bryden's is really about the people, it's the person across the bar from you and the person next to the bar from you.

What is the worst?
Probably the business side of it. Taking care of people and having fun is awesome but sometimes you have to focus on the not so fun part of it. Not so much fun spending a night in front of the computer doing paper work.

How do you go about selecting the beer for your establishment?
We generally stick to Ontario craft beer options. Pretty much try anything in that world. It is easy for us as we continually rotate many of our taps. Other than that we try to keep a good mix as we try to have examples from many different styles & seasons.

Where did the name of your establishment come from?
There was actually an original owner with the name Bryden. Maybe not the most creative name for him to come up with but I liked it and we kept it; perhaps we were too lazy to change it too.

What has been the biggest change in the beer industry since you started your business?
Definitely the growth and movement to better/craft beer options. Outside of major chains I rarely see new bars that open without a strong craft influence.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
I'm sure this will be echoed by everyone throughout the industry, but I can't think of a something else I would rather see changed than all the handcuffing that is done by the government in our industry. So many regulations and policies are just not well thought-out and are simply put, silly.

What do you get up to when your not at your establishment?
I play hockey. We actually have our own league through the bar. It's a good way to work off all the beer drinking. Unfortunately I'm terrible though. Oh yeah and I also like dogs!

If you're not drinking at your own bar, where do you head to for a beer?
I love checking out other pubs, bars & restaurants. There are so many great beer destinations throughout Toronto, all worth visiting. I really like when new spots open, so if you open a place email me and I'll come by soon.

Name the last beer you consumed?
I like Hefeweizens (Denison's & Muskoka) & really hoppy IPAs, but this time of the year I really get into drinking cask. Currently we have Lackey's Caskey on the hand pump & that is what I'm having right now.

2455 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON

Friday, November 26, 2010

Meet Milos Kral: Chancey Smith's - London, ON

Milos Kral - Chancey Smith's
Meet Milos Kral, the General Manager of the popular Chancey Smith's in London, ON. I had the pleasure of meeting Kral for the first time this summer, when he was in town to pick up with Editor's Circle award during the Golden Tap Awards, and he is a great person to talk beer with.

Known in the beer circles as an extremely passionate craft beer supporter, Kral spends his days off traveling to breweries and other pubs, soaking in as much beer information as possible. He also takes advantage of Twitter where he posts frequent messages about what's new at Chancey's, which is great for fans of the establishment as they know what to expect when they walk in the front door.

How long have you operated your establishment?
Just over two years

How did you get into the hospitality industry?
At age of 15 entered three-year waiter apprenticeship program in Prague at the airport just to be closer to my love: flying machines and everything connected to it. Soon airplanes and hospitality had to share big part of my mind and heart.

What is the best part of operating a pub?
Where do I begin? The social aspect. Every day you get to meet new people, see your friends; celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, new jobs and everything else. I love coming to work. Each day is different and unique, just like all the people that come in. Having conversations with regulars and strangers alike is an incredible experience. I feel privileged to be part of so many lives. This is the greatest job I could ask for!

What is the worst?
Meeting creatures that forgot that they are human beings just like everybody else. Fortunately, there are not too many of them.

How do you go about selecting the beer for your establishment?
I am very lucky to be surrounded by a group of great individuals who are just as passionate about beer as I am. Our aim is to find every good beer in Ontario (and rest of the world) and bring it to London. Some of them make it only once, some of them become a part (regular of occasional) of our beer list. If needed we are willing to drive to pick up beer directly from the source, if brewery does not deliver to London. The boys in Bracebridge sure looked surprised when we pulled up in old Buick and told them we traveled 388km to buy their beer!

Where did the name of your establishment come from?
Mike Smith named the place after an ancestor who was food vendor in Covent Garden Market in late 1800’s.

What has been the biggest change in the beer industry since you started your business?
The Most Negative: The manic drive of big brewers over past few decades to become even bigger, constant mergers and “responsibility to shareholders” resulted in endless array of bland indistinguishable beers with different names and labels pushed by million dollar marketing budgets. Nobody remembers last year’s biggest hit because there is new one coming this season. Pride in product was replaced by bragging about how many gazillions of liters was sold. Just like Big Mac. When you ask them, the answer sound just like those from The Big Three in Michigan: We make it this way because that’s what people want. REALLY?

The Most Positive: People got fed up with “Big Mac Beers”. The number of small breweries is rising and beer drinkers are supporting small local brewers.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
Scrap government monopoly on selling alcohol, re-write the liquor act, and support small business.

What do you get up to when you’re not at your establishment?
Quite often traveling around, visiting breweries and other establishments, buying beer, getting to know people making it.

If you're not drinking at your own bar, where do you head to for a beer?
Until recently, it was not an easy task because there really was not much of a beer scene in London since Alex P. Keaton closed few years back. Now there are few places: The Morrissey House and Black Shire are the two most notable.

Name the last beer you consumed?
The most memorable is hands down Adil’s Chaos Theory Imperial Wheat Stout that our own Adil Ahmed crafted together with Peter Chiodo and his staff at Flying Monkeys in Barrie.

Chancey Smith’s
130 King Street
Covent Garden Market
London, ON N6A 1C5
Phone 519 672 0384

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Amsterdam Brewery - Black Friday

Black Friday by Amsterdam Brewery
I stopped by Toronto's Amsterdam Brewery earlier this afternoon for business reasons and was delighted when presented with a glass of their newest limited release beer.

Called Black Friday, in reference to the busiest shopping day in the U.S. (tomorrow), the Black Friday is a Cascadian Dark Ale that will be released tomorrow at only three Toronto establishments - C'est WhatBurger Bar and barVolo. Each place will only receive a couple of kegs and once it's gone, it's gone.

The beer is a blend of three Amsterdam products: Nut Brown Ale, 2 Fisted Stout, and their Boneshaker IPA. It was then dry hopped, giving it a hoppy nose to go along with some mild coffee and chocolate notes from the 2 Fisted. Fresh hops on the palate meshed nicely with the roasted notes of the other two blends. It ended in a nice dry finish. Amsterdam decided that it would be better served unfiltered, making sure that all the flavours they intended to get out of it will come through.

Remember, it will only be available tomorrow at the three locations mentioned above.


In other Amsterdam news, their Boneshaker IPA is close to making another appearance in both 500ml bottles and keg format. After the success or the first batch that was released back in July, Amsterdam decided to release it once again. It was tasting great this afternoon! Loads of hops on both the nose and tongue as it was continuously hopped throughout the brewing process.

And last but not least, it looks as though Amsterdam's award winning Doppelbock will be made available in LCBO stores in the future. No exact date to report on, but look for it late next year.

December CASK! Social Announced

From CASK! Toronto

The next CASK! Social will take place on:
Saturday December 4th 2010
Time: 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Location: The Victory Cafe
581 Markham Street, Toronto

It's that time again.... time to meet up over a few pints of delicious cask-conditioned ale!

Join us for the December Cask! social on December 4th at the Victory Café. This month's social will feature the beers of F&M brewery (StoneHammer beers.) The Victory will be serving a Harvest Pale Ale, an IPA as well as the Oatmeal Coffee Stout...Please note that this month, the social is from 4pm to 7pm...all are welcome!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

barVolo - A Night With Fred

From barVolo & HMH Negotiants

HMH Negotiants and barVolo Presents... 
A Night With Fred - Microbrasserie Hopfenstark

Join barVolo on Saturday, December 11th, 2010 at 8:00pm and discover the beers of Microbrasserie Hopfenstark from L'Assomption, Québec. Brew master and founder Frederick Cormier will be present while his beers are being served on draught in limited availability. To commence the occasion, we will only be serving beers from Microbrasserie Hopfenstark in 300mL glasses until supplies last.

The following beers will be available:

Hopfenstark Ostalgia Blonde
Hopfenstark Postcolonial IPA
Hopfenstark Saison Du Repos
Hopfenstark Saison Station 7
Hopfenstark Saison Station 55
Hopfenstark Greg American “Harvest” Stout
Hopfenstark Framboise
Hopfenstark Kamarad Friedrich Russian Imperial Stout 2010

For more information please visit or

Meet Jed Corbeil: The Griffin Gastropub - Bracebridge, ON

L to R: Jed Corbeil (Griffin) & Jason Ellesmere (Cameron's Brewery)
Meet Jed Corbeil, the other co-owner/operator of the Griffin Gastropub in the lovely town of Bracebridge, ON.

A great 'local' pub that focuses on beers from small Ontario breweries, Corbeil, along Curt Dunlop (profiled yesterday) opened the Griffin in 2008 and took the macro beers immediately off the lines. The duo then introduced Bracebridge residents and cottagers alike to monthly brewery features, brought Muskoka their first beer festival and hosted the first Session Festival during the Ontario Craft Beer Week in June - a lot in 2 1/2 years!

How long have you operated your establishment?
Aug 5, 2008 - present

How did you get into the hospitality industry?
Saw a local pub/building for sale, wanted to settle down in my hometown. I had been a business owner before and liked owing my own business. I knew that for a good business to work, I wanted to partner with my long time friend, Curt, who is an extremely good business person. We both had a love for beer, music, entertaining. We work well together and felt that we could bring some good times to our little town.

What is the best part of operating a pub?
I love meeting new people with like interests. The music is always top notch, and the craft beer industry has proven to be full of great people. I have made so many amazing friends through beer... who knew? It is about being happy when you go into work and feeling like what you are doing makes people happy including yourself.

What is the worst?
It is hard to sometimes to please everyone... Running a pub means sometimes having to make hard decisions about staffing, and we have been so lucky to have such amazing people working for us. In a seasonal town, sometimes you have to make hard decisions that effect employment.... that is when the industry hurts.

How do you go about selecting the beer for your establishment?
First of all, I should say that we serve only ontario craft beer. We occasionally bring in a one-off - for special events, but the regulars are local. We try not to double up on style, but we like to give every hard working brewery a shot on our taps. It is our goal to have every craft brewery in ontario on tap at our pub at some point. Usually, we go out and try new beers, talk to people in the industry, talk to brewers and put beer on that we like. Otherwise, we try and rotate our taps monthly.

Where did the name of your establishment come from?
It was the Griffin when we bought it - we added Gastropub to let people know we were uping the anti with good food and local craft beer

What has been the biggest change in the beer industry since you started your business?
Seasonals, casks, bigger beers - love it! keep up the good work fellas.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
I think that I would like to see more bars supporting their local breweries. It is sad when you go into a nice place and see 2 taps and they are both shite. I was in a bar a few nights ago - great food, great tunes, shit beer. WTF? Whats the point? I wish that people would wake up and realize that good beer and make or break a night out.

What do you get up to when your not at your establishment?
Spend time with my family. Try to sleep..... but try and spend as much time with my wife/daughter as possible.

If you're not drinking at your own bar, where do you head to for a beer?
I like to go to brewpubs, craft bars. Had a great time with some fellas at the rhino last night. I like to go out and try new beer, listen to music if I can, and definatley eat some good food.

Name the last beer you consumed?
Flossmoor station IPA - a brewpub brew from ill. really nice and full... JonGraham... You never let me down.

Think globally, eat locally, drink at The Griffin Gastropub.

The Griffin Gastropub
9 Chancery Lane
Bracebridge, ON P1L 2E3

Muskoka Beer Festival
(Bracebridge, last Saturday in August - August 27 2011)

SESSION - A Craft Beer Festival
(Toronto, Saturday after Father's day - June 25 2011)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Meet Curt Dunlop: The Griffin Gastropub - Bracebridge, ON

Meet Curt Dunlop, co-owner/operator of the Griffin Gastropub in the lovely town of Bracebridge, ON.

A great 'local' pub that focuses on beers from small Ontario breweries, Dunlop, along Jed Corbeil (business partner) opened the Griffin in 2008 and took the macro beers immediately off the lines. The duo then introduced Bracebridge residents and cottagers alike to monthly brewery features, brought Muskoka their first beer festival and hosted the first Session Festival during the Ontario Craft Beer Week in June - a lot in 2 1/2 years!

How long have you operated your establishment?
August 5th 2008

How did you get into the hospitality industry?
Local pub came up for sale, and I bought it with my childhood (lifelong) friend Jed Corbeil.
It was a cute pub with a large (18 taps) selection, and a guitar hanging on the wall. I would often go in and play some tunes in exchange for beers, which made for a fun and inexpensive night.

What is the best part of operating a pub?
The people. It's a social job that includes tasting beer, listening and playing music, pairing local food with beer, and enjoying the company of regulars and new patrons. Truly a shame that my guidance counselor didn't steer me in this direction earlier!

What is the worst?
That 1 in 100 person who can't be pleased. They send everything back, never like the wine selection, don't drink beer, etc. If you're like this, think about changing your ways, or consider not going out to eat.

How do you go about selecting the beer for your establishment?
My partner, Jed, usually makes the selections. We do our best to ensure that we have a proper cross-section of the styles on draught (10 taps) and in bottles. 98% of our beers are Ontario Craft, with a few coming from out of province.

Where did the name of your establishment come from?
There have been 3 sets of owners (us included), and the name came from the first owners and has been carried forward. We changed the 'Pub' to 'Gastropub' to signify that we were making a change to more local, more high-end food & beer offering.

What has been the biggest change in the beer industry since you started your business?
I love all the seasonals and one-offs that we're seeing. Ontario Craft brewers are getting bold and the results are great. It's also good to see the collaborative attitude within the industry.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
I would shut down all places that don't have a schtick. Having a liquor license and a deep fryer doesn't mean you should open a restaurant. Dining out is not just about food or beer, but about atmosphere and entertainment. Too many restauranteurs have forgotten this. Places with no passion/soul should close their doors and make way for fresh ideas and passionate people.

What do you get up to when your not at your establishment?
I play lots of hockey and baseball seasonally, and try to play squash whenever there's a chance. We are very busy with planning festivals, special events, and playing weddings in spring and fall, so there isn't a lot of downtime right now.

If you're not drinking at your own bar, where do you head to for a beer?
Some of my favourite places to have a beer are:
Peter's Cellar Pub at The Mono Cliffs Inn at Mono Centre (near Hockley Valley) - Wayne is arguably the best bartender I've come across, and their place is quaint like ours.
Bryden's Pub - Bloor West, Toronto - When I'm in the city I often stay with my university roomate, who lives a 9-iron from Bryden's. They have a good selection of local draughts, and usually a cask...which we don't have much access to in Muskoka.
Beerbistro - King East @ Yonge, Toronto - pairing a deep beer list with great cuisine...a foodie and beer snob's heaven!
The Local Gastropub - Barrie - Proprietor's Scott & Hollis will hake you feel right at home, and their craft beer selection is good, and their pub food has a Scottish flare (Scott's heritage)...

Name the last beer you consumed?
(Answered 10 days ago) I'm standing at the Royal Brewhouse at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair with Jed and Steve Beauchesne from Beau's All Natural Brewing. We just had a small sample of their seasonal, Night Marzen (Oktoberfest Lager). Not normally a style I would go after, but it is well balanced and chased down my Pulled Pork Parfait wonderfully.

Think globally, eat locally, drink at The Griffin Gastropub.

9 Chancery Lane
Bracebridge, ON P1L 2E3

(Bracebridge, last Saturday in August - August 27 2011)

(Toronto, Saturday after Father's day - June 25 2011)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Burger Bar Pulls Out Randall The Enamel Animal

Need something to do tonight? Like hops?

The Burger Bar (in Kensington) is pulling out their Randall The Enamel Animal tonight. The Harvest Ale from Muskoka Cottage Brewery will be the participant, running through the Cascade & Columbus hop cones in Randall.

Starts at 7pm. Oh, and it's also Burger Bar's 4.75 Pint Night!

Meet Scott Connor: The Local Gastropub - Barrie, ON

Scott Connor - The Local Gastropub
Meet Scott Connor, the Owner and Chef of The Local Gastropub in Barrie, ON, steps away from the beautiful Kempenfelt Bay and Barrie's waterfront boardwalk.

The Local opened in 2009 and has become the spot in Barrie to go to for a craft beer. Traditionally a very MolsonCoors city, Barrie pubs and restaurants are slowing starting to bring in more flavourful products and the Local Gastropub is out in front. Connor, a talented chef from Scotland, has put together a terrific food menu to complement his beer selection, one that focuses on local ingredients that get prepared fresh each day.

How long have you operated your establishment?
Established in May 2009

How did you get into the hospitality industry?
I had always aspired to be a chef and my first position landed me in the Highlands of Scotland in a Michelin Star restaurant. My Chef explained that he could not afford to have me on his team and asked me if I would be willing to work for $50 ($70) a week and I agreed in order to show I was willing to do anything for a chance to become a successful cook.

What is the best part of operating a pub?
After 20 years in fine dining you deal with high expectations. Is your foie gras cooked to perfection? Is your wine of the highest caliber? People's expectations are not as high when they walk into a pub, so when we provide home cooked pub food with great ingredients, local beers and friendly service, guests feel at home and are really surprised at the welcome that is extended to them. So when you see the smile on their face, you know it’s genuine. That makes it all worth it!

What is the worst?
When the beer runs out!

How do you go about selecting the beer for your establishment?
There is a show on cable that showcases utilizing products within a one hundred mile radius of their location. We attempt to do the same, so when you come to the local 11 of our 12 beers are all from within one hundred miles and 5 are all Ontario craft brews.

Where did the name of your establishment come from?
In Scotland we call our pubs locals. It’s a place where you meet up with your friends in your favorite watering hole for a few pints or jars as we commonly call them.

What has been the biggest change in the beer industry since you started your business?
Beer was always huge when I was younger and there was a vast selection even back then, but I believe the biggest difference from then till now is beer has really broadened its horizons. The larger companies have just became the norm and young beer drinking entrepreneurs are pushing the envelope with flavors and food pairings, making beer a definite competitor to wine when enjoying a meal or just sipping back on a citrus beer cooler in the summer.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?
Do away with processed food and mass produced beer, to one day be an advocate to help promote this in the world. We are so inclined to eat and drink what is easy, versus taking a chance on some of the amazing food and drink experiences that are out there.

What do you get up to when you’re not at your establishment?
We close on Mondays for family day (My wonderful wife and I have a 4 year old girl named Bowie), which we feel is important not only for our lifestyle, but also for those who we employ. Normally it revolves around day outings to the beach in the summer and winter sports in the snowy season. Family is important as it keeps us grounded so when we do have free time, it’s spent together.

If you're not drinking at your own bar, where do you head to for a beer?
Usually a cold beer at home after a long day work does the trick, but we are always on the lookout for new up and coming spots. We like to head out now and then and hunt down a relaxing spot in the surrounding area and support local small pubs like ours.

Name the last beer you consumed?
Coors light!!! Just kidding…lol. The last beer I consumed was an IPA from Flying Monkeys Brewery here in Barrie. Very pungent citrus nose with a mellow bitter end with everything in between.

The Local Gastropub
37 Dunlop West @ Maple
Barrie, Ontario L4N 1A1
705 252 9220

Friday, November 19, 2010

Meet Jamieson Kerr: The Queen & Beaver Public House - Toronto, ON

Jamieson Kerr on left - Queen & Beaver Public House
Meet Jamieson Kerr, the publican of the Queen and Beaver Public House in Toronto, ON. Kerr opened the Queen and Beaver in June of 2009 and I happened to visit the British pub the day it opened with a group of friends and wrote about it here.

Kerr was the founder and former owner of Crush Wine Bar, a well known restaurant that is now owned and operated by Vintage Hotels, but his true passion led to the creation of the downtown pub. Kerr always has cask conditioned ale available, along with a good selection of other craft beers and great locally prepared food. It wouldn't surprise me if Kerr were to expand his vision and create more like-minded pubs within the city of Toronto in the near future.

How long have you operated your establishment?
We opened on June 15th, 2009

How did you get into the hospitality industry?
I started as a bellhop in a hotel in London, England in 1981. I moved to Canada in 1984 and graduated from Ryerson's Hospitality and Tourism Management Degree programme in 1989. I then moved to Paris and worked at the famous Willi's Wine Bar for a year, before moving back to London to gain knowledge in the wine industry. After 5 years working for Layton's Wine Merchants, I returned to Canada in 1995 and was the sommelier at Prego Della Piazza. I then worked for Steve Campbell at Lifford Wine Agency, before setting up a wine consulting business where I oversaw the opening wine programme at the Harbour 60 Steakhouse. I was the sommelier there for 4 years. In 2002 I opened Crush Wine Bar and owned in for 8 years, selling it to Vintage Hotels in January 2010.

What is the best part of operating a pub?
For me I love the traditions of a pub. The expectations are far lower than fine dining, and people are in a much more convivial mood. I am also a massive soccer fan, and it allows me to watch all of the games with like minded people. All in all I love being here.

What is the worst?
Fortunately we are very busy, and I seem to be working more hours than I did in my last restaurant, which is hard on the family. We recently had our Beaver mascot stolen (although it is coming back). That was upsetting.

How do you go about selecting the beer for your establishment?
I am a detail oriented person and I love craftmanship, whether it is in shoes or in wine. For me, selecting the finest beer the province has to offer is paramount. It is also important to know the passionate producers.

Where did the name of your establishment come from?
Wy wife came up with the name. It is a marriage of Britain and Canada. The 5 cent coin. There is also a photograph at the Centenary of Winnipeg where the Queen is given 2 black Beavers in a cage (we have yet to get a copy). It is also a bit naughty!

What has been the biggest change in the beer industry since you started your business?
Cask Ale has become incredibly popular. Wish we had room for another.

If you could change one thing about the industry (pub/bar/restaurant), what would it be?
I wish customers understood that we need to turn tables to make money. No shows should be charged. Restaurant owners and employees should be more respected by our Government. We are a massively valuable industry to this economy and we always seem to get the rough end of the stick (G20 anyone!?).

If you're not drinking at your own bar, where do you head to for a beer?
C'est What (for the cask ale).
Harbourd House (John Oakes is a good friend and he has an excellent beer selection).
My local - House on Parliament (although only for the Guinness).

Name the last beer you consumed?
Duggan's Stout (not that impressed)

The Queen and Beaver Public House
35 Elm Street
Toronto, ON

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Muskoka Cottage Brewery Looking For Additional Brewer

Muskoka's Canning Line
Muskoka Cottage Brewery in Bracebridge, ON is currently looking for another brewer to join their team.

Have a read of their job description and forward your a cover letter and resume to if interested.

Position: Brewer
Muskoka Cottage Brewery is a 100% Canadian owned company which is nestled in the heart of Cottage Country specifically in Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada. We have just completed an expansion and we are in the process of planning a new site for the brewery in the next few years. We are looking for a candidate to join our brewing department.

Minimum Qualifications
Must love beer and have a strong sense of taste. Must be a good team player, strong work ethic, and have good mechanical aptitudes. Formal brewing education would be an asset. Ideally the candidate would also possess at least a few years of hands on brewing experience though this is not mandatory.

Job Summary
Our Brewers are responsible for maintaining our standard of making the highest quality beers. Duties include but are not limited to the following: Raw material handling, Brewhouse operations, CIP processes, recordkeeping, yeast management and cleaning.

Working Conditions
Brewer needs to be able to work on eight to twelve hours per shift, be flexible to work in day/night/weekend shifts, ability to lift up to 55lbs, work in extreme temperatures (cold and hot) for periods of time, ability to work in loud production environments, work from heights (be able to climb to top of vessels, about 18 feet).

Essential Functions in Supporting Our Mission
Brewer needs to be self-motivated and always seeking for opportunity to continue studying and take new responsibilities, be able to assist on brewery expansion and a quick volume growth in next 2 years. Strong team player.

Skills and Abilities
Ability to communicate and follow direction is necessary. Comfortable working under pressure and multi-tasking. Must have a ‘can-do’ attitude!
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