The beer business is booming right now, and the best evidence of that is the number of breweries popping up on what seems like a daily basis. It’s not easy keeping up with all of them, (not to mention the new beers being brewed constantly), but it’s a job I do dutifully to bring you the latest info, dear reader.
Here are some new Canadian breweries that are showing some serious potential.
The Well Brewing
This Calgary-based brewer is going in a different direction with its business model. Founded by two Mount Royal University business students, the brewery is taking a community-driven approach, letting members make decisions about the beer they brew by paying an annual fee for membership. Beer is also included in the membership fee.
Co-founder Quinn Wilton says his love for beer was first sparked during a trip to Steam Whistle Brewing in Toronto when he was 19.
They expect to have beer in members’ hands by the fall.
Gray Stone Brewing
Gray Stone opened their doors at 221 King St. in Fredericton, N.B. on Canada Day. It currently brews three beers: a dark IPA called Devil’s Peak, the Patagonia (a pale ale) and its new India session ale which they’ve dubbed Base Camp.
Wes Ward has been in the bar business since 1998, and said that a foray into brewing felt like the logical next step. He’s a big fan of dark beers, and is currently putting his beer into kegs, growlers, and crowlers.
The story of Brauerei Fahr begins in Germany and continues today in Calgary. Head brewmaster Jochen Fahr, PhD, grew up there and studied in various scientific fields both in Germany and then in Canada before deciding to finally start a brewery. After a few years of winning awards for his homebrewed beers, he decided to take the plunge and start a brewery.
His focus is on the traditional German-style beers brewed according to the German beer purity law of 1516, and he says one of his mission statements is “to never brew an orange blossom, cherry-infused chocolate porter, ever.”
Fahr is currently brewing a hefeweizen called Fahr Away and expects to have an altbier out by August. So far, it is only packaging in kegs, but expect to eventually package in 500mL bottles.
Half Hitch Brewing
Started by the Heier/Kozloski family in Cochrane, AB, Half Hitch Brewing is launching with a three-beer lineup consisting of a citrusy pale ale, a red ale, and a brown ale. It has spent a long time tinkering with these recipes and really feel as though they’ve nailed them down.
A strong sense of family and community are apparent in the spirit of this brewery, and it’s likely that it will be on display in its large restaurant and taproom once it’s open.
The brewery plans to package in kegs as well as in cans and its beers are available on tap in Cochrane and Calgary right now.
The folks at Cowbell have concluded that the world doesn’t need another brewery or beer, so they’re attempting to do something a little different: a destination brewery. Once open, this 59-acre facility in Blyth, ON, will include a restaurant and bar, a retail store, a working farm and event space. It has also used 29 acres to reforest with 12,000 trees, which will offset the carbon produced by brewery operations with the goal of being the world’s first carbon-neutral brewery.
The brewery launched with a kölsch-style beer, fermented at warmer-than-usual temperatures, called Absent Landlord that was so named due to the fact that the town of Blyth is named after a wealthy landowner from England who never actually made the journey to Canada.
There are plans to add a Northwest style red ale in the fall, as well as lots of other ideas of new beers and packaging.
Kettle River Brewing
Located in the heart of the Okanagan, this Kelowna-based brewery is attempting to tap into the heart and soul of the Pacific Northwest craft brewing craze. And being situated in wine country has a major benefit: easy access to wine barrels. Kettle River is developing a barrel-aging program, an initiative yet to be seen in the Okanagan.
It held its grand opening on July 16th, and celebrated by serving beer tapped from 16 different kegs. They’re currently filling growlers at the taphouse and hand-bottling 650mL bombers.
This Toronto-based brewer opened its doors May 16th and its eatery and rooftop patio are sure to draw some big crowds this summer into downtown Toronto. Will will be hosting roof parties weekly with no cover charge all summer long.
Mascot is currently brewing a pilsner and a hefeweizen; perfect summer beers that’ll pair well with what it calls an “approachable menu of comfort classics”. It’s also planning more adventurous beer offerings though, and hopes to add barrel-aged beer and other small batch beer styles once operations really get rolling.