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BAR TOWEL NEWS | Got a beer news tip? Send it to news editor Greg Clow at news@bartowel.com

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September 04, 2009

Cameron’s Celebrates the Power of 9

Long known for their unique 9 packs, Cameron’s Brewing is celebrating "The Power of 9" on Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 (09/09/09) with a special sale at their brewery store.

For one day only, from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, all merchandise in the store will be marked down to $9.99, including shirts that normally retail for $25. In addition, a special mixed 9 pack featuring bottles of the four Cameron’s brands – Cream Ale, Auburn Ale, Lager, and Dark 266 - will be available for the same price (plus taxes and deposit), and there will also be sampling and brewery tours.

Cameron’s Brewery is located at 1165 Invicta Drive, off of the North Service Road between 8th and 9th Lines in Oakville.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 09:39 AM

May 17, 2009

Black Creek Historic Brewery

In what may be a first for Canada, a functioning historic brewery styled after those in use in the 1860s has been built at Black Creek Pioneer Village, and will be opening to the public next month.

Run in partnership with Pioneer Brewery Ltd., a new company created by the owners of Trafalgar Ales and Meads, the Black Creek Historic Brewery is located in the Half Way House Restaurant at the Village. The brewery will focus exclusively on ales made using recipes of the 1860s period, including porter, dark ale and pale ale.

The beer will be served in an adjacent pub, as well as in the Half Way House where a new menu will be launched with suggested beer pairings including beers brewed on the premises as well as a selection of other Ontario craft beers. Growlers will also be available for take-home sales.

An official website for the brewery will be online soon, but in the meantime, updates are being posted regularily to a blog called The Black Creek Growler.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 04:41 PM

March 08, 2009

Robert Simpson Brewing Company becomes Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery

Interesting goings-on up in Barrie, where the city's only microbrewery, Robert Simpson Brewing Company, has changed its name to Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery.

Here's the announcement from the Ontario Craft Brewers website:

Once upon a time, we were The Robert Simpson Brewing Company, but we're morphing into The Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery. Why? Because being named for a dead white guy just isn't very exciting. Where's the fun in that? Beer is supposed to be way more fun than a history class. It'll be weird for a while, but the new name opens up so many more possibilities for us to express ourselves (and be flakey).

We’re still a Craft Brewery. Or a Microbrewery –whichever name is o.k. with us. Obviously, we're just a little schizoid about names. The point is we’re small. And small means we carry less baggage and we can move quickly. In addition to our Robert Simpson beers, Confederation Amber Ale and Antigravity Light Ale, we're coming out with Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale, the first brew under the auspices of Flying Monkeys. And from there . . . well, we'll just see where the ride takes us!

In addition to the name change, the brewery has also launched a new beer: Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale, described as follows:

Defying real focus (how unlike us!), we had to call Hoptical Illusion an Almost Pale Ale (5% Alc./Vol. / IBU 17.5 / Colour SRM 3.44). Hoptical Illusion approaches the characteristics of a pale ale, but takes a quick u-turn at the end. At 18 IBUs versus 25 and up for English Pale Ales, we’re hoppier than most commercial beers, but not too crazy. The star of the show is the dizzying aroma of the privately grown Amarillo hop. Beyond the provocative citrus and floral essences that resonate from the Amarillo’s small, tight cone is a subtle but unique maltiness blended from amber kiln and roasted specialty malts. Finishing with a final Amarillo reference, Hoptical Illusion is a beer that doesn’t beat you over the head, steal your wallet, and jack your car. But you still wouldn’t want meet it in a dark alley.
Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:54 PM

December 01, 2008

Great Lakes Launches Hops for Hunger

Great Lakes Brewing has partnered with the Daily Bread Food Bank to help those in need this holiday season. From December 1st through 22nd, Great Lakes will donate a portion of the weight of all beer purchases in food to the Daily Bread Food Bank (at their retail store only).

For example, buy a bottle of Winter Ale, they'll donate 1.5 lbs of food. The heavier the purchase, the more donated. Great Lakes has set a goal of 2,000 pounds of food donated. Great Lakes is located at 30 Queen Elizabeth Blvd. in Etobicoke.

Posted by Cass at 07:20 PM

October 13, 2008

Trafalgar Announces "Vote With Your Throat" Results

As a reminder to everyone that they should get out and vote tomorrow, here's an announcement sent out earlier today by Trafalgar Brewing announcing the results of their popular "Vote With Your Throat" campaign:



Oakville, ON - October 13, 2008

After weeks of energetic voting the final tallies are in at Oakville's Trafalgar Brewing Company. Voter turnout was the highest yet as politically minded beer afficionados turned out to voice their opinions in Canada's only beer poll. In fact you may have even spotted us on CBC tonight.

With a sampling range in the thousands of votes, we hope our poll will stand as a good indicator of where the beer drinking public stands. We must mention however that this is an Ontario-focused poll as we did not enter a beer from the Bloc this time around.

Ultimately it was a two-horse race with many lead changes between Lib Red and Old Tory Lager coming down to the wire. Spirited efforts by Worker's Brown and Debatable Ale could not vault them into contention where our beer drinking voters were concerned. In the end it was Lib Red Lager edging out Old Tory by a slim 2% margin.

So the face on the label may be different, but will the taste be the same? Is anyone surprised that there was no knock out punch in the face of a confused beer drinking public? Whose policy will have to ferment the longest before it becomes palatable? Only time will tell.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:21 PM

October 10, 2008

Ontario Beer News Round-Up

We've been a bit lax in getting news posted here in the last couple of weeks, and the press releases and announcements have been piling up. There are several that deserve full news posts on their own, so those will be coming soon, but in the meantime, here's a round-up of a few miscellaneous bulletins that have hit our inbox recently:

Government of Ontario Supports Craft Brewers

On September 26th, it was announced that the Government of Ontario is making an $8-million commitment to help ensure the prosperity of small brewers for many years to come. Ontario Small Brewers will receive $1.8-million a year for four years starting this year. The funds will be shared between all Ontario brewers that produce less than 300,000 hectolitres of beer each year. An additional $200,000 will be provided annually to the Ontario Craft Brewers Association.

For more details, you can read the full press release on the OCB website.

Steelback’s Summer Success Celebration

Following their relaunch in May, Steelback Brewery had a very successful summer, with milestones including increased sales in the brewery's home region of Bruce County, and increased exposure at bars and restaurants, including all Ontario locations of The Pickle Barrel. To celebrate, the price of cases of 24 bottles of all Steelback brands at The Beer Store has been reduced to $29.95 for a limited time.

Brick Launches Laker Ale

Waterloo's Brick Brewing has expanded their Laker line of discount beers with new Laker Ale. This mainstream golden ale is available at the Beer Store at the lowest legal price of $23.35 (plus deposit) per case of 24.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 05:40 PM

October 03, 2008

The Publican House Opens for Business

After several years of red tape, renovations and more, the Publican House Brewery (300 Charlotte Street, Peterborough) will officially open for business today at 1:00 PM.

For the initial weekend, they will only be selling take-away 1.9 L growlers and delivering draught kegs to other bars and restaurants. But as of Monday, October 6th, they will be licensed for by-the-glass sales, and will be opening their on-site taproom and outdoor Beer Garden (weather permitting).

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 12:30 PM

September 28, 2008

Vote With Your Throat at Trafalgar

With the federal election a couple of weeks away, Oakville's Trafalgar Brewing has brought back their popular "Vote With Your Throat" campaign, and have rebranded several of their beers to represent each of the major parties.

The four beers - Old Tory Lager, Lib Red Lager, Worker's Brown Ale and Debatable Ale - are available at the Trafalgar Brewery (1156 Speers Road, Oakville), and as with previous elections, sales of each beer are being tallied as "votes", with the results updated regularly on the billboard outside the brewery.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 09:05 AM

July 25, 2008

Church-Key Brewing to Enter the Pub Business

In an announcement last week on his website and Facebook group, John Graham of Church-Key Brewing announced that the brewery will be taking over the ownership of The Stinking Rose Pub in Campbellford from original owners Ron and Dianne.

The Stinking Rose was already a big supporter of Church-Key brews, and according to John, he plans on "making/keeping the pub the centre of conversation and libation that The Rose deserves." The official change-over of ownership is due to happen August 1st.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:55 PM

June 02, 2008

Matt O’Hara of Beau's Brewing in Car Accident

In a message sent to members of the The Beau's Army Facebook group this afternoon, Beau's Brewery co-founder Steve Beauchesne announced that their brewmaster Matt O'Hara was in a bad car accident last week, and is facing a 3-to-6 month recovery time.

Those wishing to send cards or other "Get Well Soon" messages to Matt can send them to the brewery to be passed along to him:

Beau's Brewery
PO Box 279
Vankleek Hill ON K0B 1R0

Cards and messages can also be dropped off in person if you happen to be out that way.

Everyone at The Bar Towel wishes Matt a speedy and safe recovery.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:43 PM

May 23, 2008

Steelback Is Back

Yesterday afternoon at Mirto Restaurant in downtown Toronto, the relaunch of Steelback Brewery was announced by CEO/owner Jonathon Sherman, president Ian MacDonald and brewmaster Jayne MacGillivray.

The new Steelback is being launched after several months of restructuring with a streamlined portfolio of five beers - Steelback Lager, Light, Draught, Tiverton Honey and Tiverton Dark - with new packaging that reflects the heritage of Bruce County where the brewery is located.

The new team does not have the same aspirations of former owner Frank D'Angelo to turn Steelback into a national brand, and are instead positioning themselves as a microbrewery that produces "craft beer at mainstream prices".

A story on the relaunch appears in today's Toronto Star, and the full press release is available on the CNW Group newswire website.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 12:49 PM

May 01, 2008

Nickelbrook Cuvée '07

Burlington's Nickelbrook Brewery have announced the details of their newest offering:

Beginning Saturday May 03, Nickelbrook Brewery is releasing a new special edition for sale at our retail outlet.

Nickelbrook Cuvée '07
Spiced Strong Ale

'People's Choice' Winner for Specialty Beer at the 2008 Ontario Brewing Awards!!

7.75% A.B.V.
17 I.B.U. 15 Lvb.

A rich auburn reserve ale, brewed with five European malts, Caribbean demerara and a special blend of herbs and spices.

Cellared in oak for six months, naturally carbonated, and packaged unfiltered for a complex flavor profile and stability over time. Clarity is achieved through a careful brewing process and extensive aging.

Enjoy it today, or lay it down and savor the changes in character as it continues to mature.

Supplies are limited and are NOT available at L.C.B.O or Brewer's Retail.

864 Drury Lane
Burlington, Ontario
(905) 681-2739

Mention this ad with your purchase and receive a free 12 oz. Nickelbrook glass.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 03:32 PM

April 20, 2008

Three Ontario Breweries Win Bronze at World Beer Cup

The winner of the 2008 World Beer Cup competition were announced yesterday at the Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego, and three Ontario breweries took bronze medals:

Category 37: American-Style Dark Lager, 18 entries
Gold: Black Diamond Lager, Bend Brewing Co., Bend, OR
Silver: Canterbury, Pacific Western Brewing, Prince George, Canada
Bronze: Waterloo Dark, Brick Brewing Co. Ltd., Waterloo, Canada

Category 41: Belgian-Style White (or Wit)/Belgian-Style Wheat, 35 entries
Gold: Hoegaarden, InBev Belgium N.V./S.A., Jupille-sur-Meuse, Belgium
Silver: Ommegang Witte, Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY
Bronze: Mill Street Belgian-Style Wit, Mill Street Brewery, Toronto, Canada

Category 78: Golden or Blonde Ale, 39 entries
Gold: Alaskan Summer Ale, Alaskan Brewing Co., Juneau, AK
Silver: Kiwanda Cream Ale, Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City, OR
Bronze: Red Cap, Brick Brewing Co. Ltd., Waterloo, Canada

The full list of winners is available on the World Beer Cup website.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 05:02 PM

April 19, 2008

News from the Ontario Craft Brewers

This past week, the Ontario Craft Brewers sent out the following media release to announce various developments at their member breweries:

Spring has sprung, the birds are chirping and the sun is shining. To help celebrate the arrival of patio weather, the OCB is beginning to gear up for the 2008 beer season in a number of different ways:

There's a new kid on the block - The Ontario Craft Brewers are proud to announce its newest member Grand River Brewing. Located in a historic industrial building in Cambridge, Ontario, Grand River Brewing is committed to producing fresh craft beers of outstanding quality with an alcohol content of less than 5 per cent. Grand River Brewing is currently producing four brands which will be available year round: Plowman's Ale, Mill Race Mild, Galt Knife Old Style Lager and Town Hall Lager. All of these beers can be purchased at the Grand River Brewing retail store or can be found at select restaurants throughout southern Ontario.

Breaking new boundaries - King Brewery is pleased to introduce the new Pilsbock to the Ontario Craft Brewers portfolio. It's the first of its kind in the world, a unique hybrid creation that brings together a Pilsner and a Bock. Created by the award winning Brewmaster Phil DiFonzo this high-alcohol (6.5%), seasonal beer is available for a limited time, while supplies last, beginning in May at the King Brewery retail store and on tap at select establishments throughout Ontario.

A new regular has arrived - Hockley Valley Brewing Co. is proud to present one of the Ontario Craft Brewers' favourites, the Hockley Traditional Irish Stout. This brewer's take on a classic Irish stout contains roasted malts, a slight acidity and hints of bitter chocolate that are just some of the essences hiding in the inky darkness topped by a thick tan head. Deceptively light, this former seasonal beer has now become a regular part of the lineup due to its high demand. Traditional Irish Stout is available at LCBO stores throughout Ontario in a convenient 473 ml can.

A new love? - Trafalgar Brewing Company has released its new Oak Aged Rye to the Ontario Craft Brewers portfolio. Hitting the LCBO shelves this month as part of their Spring Premium Beer Release. According to brewmaster Dave Jamieson, "This is the first time in at least 200 years a beer such as this has been crafted and we're really expecting beer drinkers to stand up and take notice." Crafted in the German Roggenbier style the Oak Aged Rye uses 25 per cent rye malt before it is brewed and then aged with oak cut from actual whiskey barrels. With its Oak Aged Rye, Trafalgar has created a truly unique beer that will stand out for years to come.

Expanding to new horizons - Creators of the popular Black Oak Pale Ale and Black Oak Nut Brown Ale, the Black Oak Brewing Company is packing up and moving out. But not to worry the Ontario Craft Brewers have learned that the brewery will find new digs in May. Their new home at 75 Horner Ave. in Etobicoke will help the brewery keep up with the ever growing demand for an Ontario Craft Beer favourite. The new facility will be much larger which will mean more tanks and upgrading a lot of the current equipment. The new facility also has event space which will allow a little more room for tours, tastings and generally merry times. Look for details of the brewery's grand opening in July.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 05:01 PM

April 12, 2008

Railway City Brewing Set To Open

Ontario's newest craft brewery, Railway City Brewing, is on track (no pun intended) to open this coming week in St. Thomas (south of London).

Their initial offerings will be Ironspike Amber and Ironspike Ale, with their distinctive railway spike tap handles due to appear at over a dozen licensees in St. Thomas, London and surrounding area. They're also planning a number of seasonal beers, including an oatmeal stout and an American-style pale ale.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 04:34 PM

February 20, 2008

Neustadt Lager Now In Cans

Val Stimpson of Neustadt Springs Brewery has let us know that the canned version of their Lager has finally received LCBO approval, and the 473 ml cans have started appearing at select LCBO (#76166) and Beer Store outlets.

Also available from Neustadt in cans are their 10W30 Brown Ale (LCBO #64642) and Scottish Pale Ale (LCBO #64634).

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:13 PM

February 06, 2008

Perry Mason Leaves Heritage/Scotch-Irish

Perry Mason, the founder of Scotch-Irish Brewing, has left Heritage Brewing, the brewery that purchased the Scotch-Irish name and brands in 2006.

In a post to the Bar Towel Forum announcing his departure, Mason says that he is 'now free to persue "other projects"', and that he is 'not done in this business yet'.

At the time of his departure, Mason was not involved in the day to day brewing of the Scotch Irish beers, which were being overseen by Heritage brewmaster Ancil Hartman. Presumably, Heritage and Hartman will be continuing to brew the core Scotch-Irish brands and seasonals, including Sgt. Major IPA, Black Irish Plain Porter, Stuart's Organic Session Ale, Corporal Punishment Brown Ale and John By Imperial Stout.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:13 PM

January 14, 2008

Grand River Brewing Receives Business Development Loan


Michelin Development approves loan for Grand River Brewing

KITCHENER, ON, Jan. 14 /CNW/ - Grand River Brewing is the latest recipient of a Michelin Development in the Greater Waterloo Region loan. This loan, for $50,000.00, will create 19 new jobs and help Grand River Brewing complete a corporate hospitality room that will be available to the public for events.

"Grand River Brewing has a great plan for business and community growth that fits well with our goal of creating jobs in the region," said John Tully, director, Michelin Development (Canada) Inc. in the Greater Waterloo Region. "We look forward to helping this entrepreneurial company achieve their goals while enhancing their local community."

Grand River Brewing of Cambridge is one of the region's premier manufacturers of fresh crafted ales and lagers of distinctive quality, character and flavour.

"Michelin Development in the Greater Waterloo Region is a great partner to work with because they understand our goals and what we want to achieve," said Bob Hanenberg, owner, Grand River Brewing. "In addition to providing us with a loan, they are also helping us enhance this community."

Michelin Development focuses on new job creation by offering low-interest loans to qualified start-up, small- and medium-sized businesses. In addition to this financial support, Michelin Development supports the development of new and existing businesses by providing access to Michelin's considerable in-house business expertise.

Information and applications for interested entrepreneurs are available at www.michelindevelopment.ca.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:21 PM

December 14, 2007

Walkerville Files for Bankruptcy

Yesterday's edition of the Windsor Star reports that Walkerville Brewery has declared bankruptcy, although they intend to continue brewing while they restructure and look for financing.

According to bankruptcy trustee Stephen Funtig, "There's been lots of interest and, while we're not in a position to sell right now because of some legal requirements that have to be fulfilled, we're looking to see it continue in business for many years to come."

Since being founded by Karen Behune Plunkett in 1998, Walkerville has won a number of awards for their three lagers, including a gold for their Premium Blonde at this year's Canadian Brewing Awards, a bronze for their Walkerville Lager at last year's World Beer Cup, and a Canadian Brewery of the Year award in 2002.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 10:49 AM

October 13, 2007

Wellington Cans

Wellington Brewery have announced that their Trailhead Lager and County Ale are now available in convenient 473 mL cans at LCBOs across the province, as well as at the brewery store in Guelph. They're priced at $2.35 for Trailhead and $2.50 for County Ale including deposit.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 06:12 PM

October 08, 2007

Local Beer News Round-Up

Here's a quick round-up of some recent news from several local breweries and brewpubs:

  • Trafalgar Ales & Meads are running their traditional "Vote With Your Throat" promotion in advance of the upcoming Provincial election. Four of their beers have been rebranded as Lib Light, Tory Lager, N.D.Pilsner and Green Gold for brewery sales, and sales numbers are being tracked as a very non-scientific poll. According to the latest sales results, the underdog Greens are in the lead.
  • Mill Street Brewery is the first brewery to be featured on Le Gourmet TV, a new video-on-demand website focussing on food and drink. The site is still several weeks away from the official launch, but once it's fully launched, more brewery profiles and tastings will be added as part of their Beer stream.
  • Granite Brewery will be holding their annual Oktoberfest Brewers Banquet this coming Saturday, October 13, featuring live German Oom-Pa-Pa music and a full dinner with beer pairings. Call 416-322-0723 to reserve.
  • Cameron's Brewing are marking their 10th anniversary with some expansion efforts. Over the summer, they added a new Canadian-made 80 HL fermenter to their production line, and on the staffing side, they've recently welcomed brewmaster Jason Britton (ex-Walkerville Brewing) and promotions manager Mike Laba.
Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 12:08 PM

August 26, 2007

New Breweries Around Ontario

There's been a flurry of activity in Ontario's brewing scene in the last couple of months, with several new breweries opening recently or soon, including:

Grand River Brewing - Based in the old Galt Knife Company building in Cambridge, Grand River is owned by Bob Hanenberg with beers developed and brewed by Rob Creighton, a veteran of many Ontario breweries including a recent stint with F&M. They've already got four beers under their belts - Galt Knife Old Style Lager, Mill Race Mild, Plowmans Ale & Town Hall Lager - with plans for seasonals and other one-offs in the future. Grand River brews are available on tap and various bars and restaurants throughout southern Ontario, including Volo and the Victory in Toronto, and in growlers at the brewery.

Great White North Craft Brewery - The first brewery to operate in Thunder Bay since Northern Breweries shut down their plant there in 1995, Great White North is essentially a one-man project run by Geoff Schmidt. After dealing with several months of government red tape, the brewery finally opened its doors a couple of weeks ago, and quickly sold out of the first batch if Port Arthur Pale Ale. In an interview with the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal, Schmidt said that he hopes to be brewing a traditional Irish Red Ale soon, and perhaps a stout and a wheat beer next year.

The Publican House - Opening soon in Peterborough, the Publican House will be a bar and brewery that will have their House Ale available year-round on-site and in area LCBOs and Beer Stores. They'll also offer seasonal beers from time to time.

Gordon Slater Brewing - A relatively large scale (150,000 hectolitre) brewery that will be opening soon in Morrisburg, west of Cornwall. Gordon Slater has previously brewed at Robert Simpson, Taylor & Bate and other breweries. This new venture will be going after the "buck-a-beer" market.

Iron Horse Brewing - Not much is known about this upcoming brewery yet, aside from the fact that it will be in St. Thomas (near London), and the name comes from the fact that the area has historically been an important railway junction.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:51 PM

July 07, 2007

Great Lakes Project X

John from Great Lakes Brewery recently popped by the Bar Towel Forum to announce that they've got a special mystery beer due to be tapped soon:

Just a quick note to let you know we've got something new on the way... it's a one-off batch of 1000 litres, so about a dozen or so kegs that we're hoping to send to some of the usual suspects downtown. Hopefully it'll do it's thing over the weekend and we'll have it ready to go by late next week. We're tossing around the idea of keeping it in its natural state (i.e. no filtration) but we'll see how she goes. We threw a boatload of hops into the secondary so we're hoping it comes out nice and hoppy... mmm. Tentative name is Project X... I'll post more info when we're closer to getting it out.
Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 08:18 AM

June 30, 2007

Trafalgar Summer Newsletter

Oakville's Trafalgar Ales & Meads recently sent out their seasonal bulletin with news about new mead flavours, buck-a-beer specials, and new beers at their brewery & tied house. The full newsletter follows behind the cut...

1. Catch the Buzz: New Mead From Trafalgar
Our busy brewers have been at it again, and two new meads have arrived on the scene. Fruit Blush Mead (flavoured with berry juice) and straight-up unflavoured Mead (because you asked for it) are available only at the brewery for now. These Meads were brewed in very small batches with a lot of attention to detail, and our Mead aficionados should be very pleased.

2. Trafalgar’s Summer Special: ‘Make ‘er a Trafalgar…’
We’ve instituted a new price special on cases of 341 ml Harbour Gold, Portside Amber, Celtic Ale, and Paddy’s Irish Red. At our Retail Store and Beer Stores across Ontario you can pick up 24 craft-brewed Trafalgar beers for only $24 plus deposit. Why just get the good stuff when you can get the premium stuff?

3. Father’s Day at Trafalgar
Thanks to everyone who turned out for our Father’s Day Open House. Appreciative fathers sampled many great craft beers at our Speers Road brewery in Oakville, and a good time was had by all. Join us next year for the 5th Anniversary of this fun community event.

4. New Cask-Conditioned Beer and Liquid Lunch at The Tied House
Notice to Real Ale lovers—two new cask-conditioned beers are being hand-pumped at The Tied House: Dry-Hopped Portside Amber, and staff favourite Peppermint Porter. Also, stop by any day of the week for the Liquid Lunch special: a pint of beer, bowl of soup and beer bread for only $6.95.

OH CANADA! Trafalgar's retail store is open all holiday weekend including Monday! Stop by for the best, freshest selection of our beer! New beers include Red Hill Mild and Oatmeal Stout. Cheers!

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 06:00 PM

June 18, 2007

Beer News Round-Up

  • Grand River Brewing, a new brewery in Cambridge featuring beers developed and brewed by industry veteran Rob Creighton, have tapped the first kegs of their Galt Knife Old Style Lager at the Kiwi in Cambridge, the Castle in Kitchener, the Arms in Guelph and the Shepherds Pub in Elora. Growlers and 500 mL bottles will follow soon, as will their second flagship beer, Plowman's Ale.
  • Rumours are flying that Prime Pubs, the owners of Esplanade Bier Markt and an assortment of Irish-themed pubs, are eyeing the King Street West location that formerly housed the Amsterdam Brewery for a new bar and restaurant similar to Bier Markt. No other details are available other than they hope to be open before the end of the year.
  • Buffalo beer bar & restaurant Cole's will be holding their 3rd annual IPA Festival on Saturday, July 14th. The $20 admission price includes unlimited beer samples and a sausage snack.
  • Import agents Roland + Russell have added Belgium's Het Anker (brewers of Gouden Carolus) and Palestine's Taybeh to their rapidly expanding brewery portfolio.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:43 AM

May 18, 2007

Brick Up For Sale?

In a not completely unexpected move, Waterloo's Brick Brewing issued a press release earlier this week indicating that it has "commenced a review of strategic alternatives available to the Company to enhance shareholder value" - basically the same message that came from Sleeman a few months before their sale to Sapporo last year.

Some analysts are suggesting that Molson would be the most likely suitor in a potential sale, primarily to pick up the Laker portfolio of discount beers, a market that Labatt grabbed a large portion of with their recent purchase of Lakeport. Although others say that Laker and other Brick brands aren't established enough for a larger brewery to take interest, and a private equity fund would be a more likely buyer.

In the meantime, it's still business as usual for Brick. To mark the 24th anniversary of the classic beer-swilling film Strange Brew, all cases of Red Cap sold from now through the end of the summer will include one of six clear stubby bottles featuring a Bob & Doug McKenzie label. And on the contract brewing front, PC Blanche was recently launched, and a deal has just been signed with Banks Brewing of Barbados to brew the non-alcoholic Tiger Malt for the Canadian market.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 10:50 AM

March 14, 2007

Mill Street Announces Major Growth in 2006

Congratulations to Mill Street Brewery who announced this week that they saw a sales increase of 115% in 2006, including a massive 178% growth in sales of their Stock Ale. Read on for the full press release...

Mill Street Brewery taps Ontario beer drinkers for increased sales
Year-end Sales Figures for Toronto-based Microbrewery Exceed Expectations; Numbers Demonstrate Consumer Appreciation for Premium Brews

TORONTO, March 13 /CNW/ - Mill St. Brewery, a leading Toronto-based microbrewery, today announced a year over year overall sales increase of 115% for the year ending December 2006. Mill St. has seen annual sales increases of 100% or better since the company’s founding in 2002, and it anticipates even greater levels of success in 2007, with the increased capacity of its new production facility in Scarborough.

“Once again we find ourselves in a growth position with only production capacity limiting sales opportunity,” says Michael Duggan, President, Mill St. Brewery. “As has been the case since we opened, every ounce of fresh, batch-crafted, flavour-forward beer that we brew, bottle and distribute has been swallowed by Ontario consumers. With the opening in late 2006 of our new brew facility and the enhanced production capacity it will allow for, we expect to see another dramatic increase in year over year sales”

The new brewing facility will allow Mill St. to grow annual production capacity to 5,000,000 litres (50,000 HL), further establishing the brand as the fastest growing batch-crafted beer in the LCBO system.

Mill St.’s popularity with beer drinkers is due in large part to the consumer’s appetite for the company’s meticulous batch-craft brew process and their range of refreshing, award-winning products.

Year over year comparisons across Mill St.’s four individual brands shows impressive growth. Comparisons between 2005 and 2006 sales figures demonstrate a 117% increase in the sales of Tankhouse Ale; 111% increase in Organic Lager sales; and an 83% growth in sales of the company’s Coffee Porter. The most significant improvement was shown in the sales of Mill Street’s Stock Ale, which showed a year over year growth of 178%.

Michael Duggan believes that these figures demonstrate that beers which appeal to beer drinkers “do not have to be mass marketed, mass produced products created by faceless global conglomerates. Instead, as our growth pattern demonstrates, honest premium beer made for beer lovers- by beer lovers- will find success in the market”

About Mill St. Brewery

Mill St. Brewery (www.millstreetbrewery.com) is East Toronto’s first commercial brewery to open in more than 100 years, producing handcrafted beers and ales in the historic Corktown area of the city.

Officially opened in December 2002, the brewery is housed in an original tankhouse within the historic Gooderham & Worts Distillery complex, now known as the Historic Distillery District. In the Fall of 2006 a $900,000 renovation of the original Mill St. Brewery was completed featuring a signature Brew Pub that serves 11 exclusive premium beers brewed on-site with 220 seats indoor and another 150 on two patios. The Mill St. Brewery has also recently completed building its Scarborough factory, which will increase overall brewing capacity 10 times, from 5,000 hectoliters to 50,000.

Mill St. Brewery produces a variety of award-winning beers, including small batches of seasonal brews. Mill Street currently offers Original Organic Lager (with 100% certified organic ingredients), Tankhouse Ale, Stock Ale and Coffee Porter (featuring roasted beans from Balzac’s Coffee, a Distillery District neighbour).

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 10:16 PM

March 04, 2007

Beer Bulletins

Here's a quick summary of a few bits of beer news that have been reported recently:

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 02:45 PM

December 26, 2006

Trafalgar Gift Packs & Mead Sale

This info from Trafalgar Ales & Meads was sent to us just a couple of days before Christmas and got lost in the holiday rush. Our apologies to Trafalgar and our readers for not getting it posted in time for the big day...

We've put together some nice gift packs for beer lovers out there, available at the Brewery Retail Store in Oakville. The pack contains a selection of 4 big 650 ml beers (including Celebration Ale - a holiday favourite), and an etched Trafalgar pint glass in a festively decorated package, all for $20. A great present for those who appreciate some good Craft Beer and handy for bringing along to parties. The retail store will be closed December 25th and 26th but open all other days.

For the holidays and beyond, Trafalgar has reduced the price on 12-packs of all 6 flavours of Mead at the Beer Store by 70%! That's $41.65 for 12 650 ml bottles of 9.5% alc./vol. Mead!! The sale is a way for us to move some inventory and this is a heads-up for all you Mead-lovers out there: THIS SALE WILL NOT BE REPEATED. Mead improves with age so you can stock up for years to come. Available at all Beer Stores in Ontario.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 05:51 PM

December 15, 2006

Cameron's Web Site Relaunch

Cameron's Brewing of Oakville have recently relaunched their website, and it's now jam-packed with information about their beers and brewery, as well as news & event listings, and a shop to pick up t-shirts, glasses and other Cameron's paraphernalia. You can also keep in touch via their new newsletter, or be like the cool kids and "friend" them on MySpace.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 10:35 AM

December 01, 2006

Steam Whistle Supports Our Troops - With Beer!

The staff and owners at Steam Whistle Brewing are sending a very special care package to Canada's troops in Afghanistan this Christmas: All members of staff have contributed their weekly beer allotment to be sent overseas, and owners Cam Heaps and Greg Taylor have thrown in an equal amount to the effort. The beer will be arriving just in time for the holiday celebrations, one of only three times in the year that the troops are allowed to drink alcohol.

Regardless of what you may think of the war (or for that matter, what you may think of Steam Whistle), I'm sure that everyone reading this would agree that it must really suck to be stationed in a country where alcohol is officially outlawed - not to mention that whole thing where people are shooting at you and trying to blow you up and stuff. So kudos to the folks at Steam Whistle for helping to spread a little cheer amongst those brave Canadians who will be away from their families this Christmas, and who are putting their lives on the line every day.

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 05:00 PM

November 20, 2006

Great Lakes Winter Ale

Great Lakes Brewery have just announced details of their next seasonal beer:

In light of the great response to our Devil's Pale Ale, we've brewed a brand new beer that will be ready just in time for the holidays. Appropriately named Great Lakes Winter Ale, it will be our seasonal offering for the next few months. Inspired by the long, cold, and seemingly endless Canadian winter, our Winter Ale is a true winter warmer, weighing in at over 6% alcohol and with a rich amber colour. Handcrafted with a variety of specialty hops and malts, combined with generous amounts of cinnamon, ginger and orange peel, this unique beer is brimming with flavour! A limited edition stencilled bottle (750ml with a cork stopper) will be available only at our retail store by the second week of December. As with our Devil's Pale Ale, we hope to have it on tap at some of the city's finest beer destinations before Christmas.
Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 03:19 PM

November 01, 2006

Trafalgar's "Vote With Your Throat" Returns

With municipal elections on the horizon throughout Ontario, Oakville's Trafalgar Brewing has brought back their popular "Vote With Your Throat" campaign, and have rebranded several of their beers to represent the mayoral candidates in three cities.

For Toronto, they're offering Miller Blonde (aka Harbour Gold), Pitfield's Special Reserve (aka Paddy's Irish Red) and Ledrew's Dark Horse Ale (aka Elora Irish Ale) at selected LCBO outlets in the downtown area.

In London, larger LCBO's are carrying Decicco's Best (aka Harbour Gold), Fontana Red (aka Paddy's Irish Red) and Ivan's Ale (aka Elora Irish Ale).

And you can find The Wright Stuff (aka Harbour Gold), Mulv-Ale (aka Paddy's Irish Red), Stoate's Grand Lager (aka Elora Grand Lager) and True Burton Ale (aka Elora Irish Ale) at all Oakville LCBO's.

In addition, the beers from all three races can be purchased at the Trafalgar retail outlet (1156 Speers Road in Oakville). All of the beers will be available until Election Day, November 13th, after which the results of the "voting" will be announced.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 08:48 PM

October 20, 2006

Steam Whistle Holiday Twelve Pack

As the holiday season rapidly approaches, Steam Whistle Brewing is the first local brewery to get on the gift-giving bandwagon with their Holiday Twelve Pack. While the beer inside is the regular Steam Whistle Pilsner, the package has been given a Christmas make-over, including a built-in tag to allow the gift-giver to easily address it to the gift-receiver. Read on for the full press release...

“An end to re-gifting with Steam Whistle’s Holiday Twelve Pack!”

New this festive season from Toronto’s independent brewer is a unique gift offering full of Holiday Cheer: it’s a limited edition Steam Whistle Pilsner suitcase 12 pack wrapped in festive colours and topped with a gift tag. The carton itself with its retractable handle has recently been nominated for Canada’s Greatest Invention and now this festive box décor is another noteworthy innovation from Steam Whistle Brewing. The built-in tag allows those presenting the gift to personalize it by including the name of the recipient. Retailing for $22.45, the Steam Whistle Holiday 12pack will be available mid-November at most Beer Stores across Ontario.

“The market is ready for a premium gift of beer that also takes the worry out of wrapping and purchasing a card,” said Cam Heaps, President of Steam Whistle. “There won’t be many people re-gifting this present. Chances are most people will pick one up for the host of their festive gathering and perhaps another to bring back home,” he added.

About Steam Whistle

Steam Whistle, an independent brewery housed in Toronto’s historic John St. Roundhouse just south of the CN Tower, has a singular focus: we make just one beer of exceptional quality that Canadians can be proud of. We brew our refreshing Pilsner with traditional brewing methods and only four, natural ingredients including spring water, malted barley, hops and yeast - all GMO-free. There is a fifth ingredient in every refreshing bottle, and that is the passion of our dedicated Brewmaster and staff.

Founded in 1998 and opened in 2000, the brewery was named Steam Whistle, drawing from the inspirational sounds of steam rushing from factory whistles, signaling the end of a fulfilling workday and a time for personal reward. The brewery is housed in The Roundhouse, once home to the steam locomotives that helped pioneer our nation. An architectural gem designated a National Historic Site in 1993, The Roundhouse was thoughtfully renovated prior to opening its doors in May of 2000, restoring 30 ft. ceilings, grand multi-paned windows and hand-hewn Douglas Fir beams. Steam Whistle welcomes more than 40,000 visitors each year who come to the Roundhouse for a brewery tour or to attend one of the many on site events and art shows.

Steam Whistle Pilsner is shipped fresh to hundreds of Ontario Beer Stores, LCBO outlets and licensed bars and restaurants, and we are growing, now shipping beer to Alberta as part of our focus on being Canada’s Premium Pilsner. Critics have honoured us with many awards over the years, and proudly, our independently-owned brew is now one of the top ten selling premium brands in Ontario Beer Stores.

To learn more about what they do really, really well visit www.steamwhistle.ca

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 01:08 PM

September 17, 2006

Labatt Misses The Belgians

According to an article in this past Friday's Globe & Mail, things have not been going smoothly at Labatt since the 2004 merger of Belgian parent company Interbrew and Brazil's AmBev, forming new parent company InBev. The change in ownership structure has seen many Brazilian imports taking over upper management jobs in Canada, and other changes have been made as well, all leading to low morale throughout the company:

One of (AmBev's) first moves was to close the company's Toronto brewery and to sack 20 per cent of Labatt's white-collar workers. Those things might have happened anyway, given the profit pressure from the discount brewers. But local autonomy was also weakened. “There's a much stronger drive to central decision making, central authority,” said the ex-InBev insider.

A few back-office roles have been moved outright to Brazil. Labatt's innovation group — an experimental brewery in London, Ont., where the company tinkered with formulas and packaging and which was responsible for new products like ice beer — has been downsized, with its functions now performed in Belgium. But most of the senior executive jobs that Labatt offered in 1995 still exist in Toronto. “It isn't, strictly speaking, that they've taken away the chairs, as much as it is who's in the chairs and where the decisions are being made,” said the InBev insider. “Every time one of those key roles changes, they're filling it with a Brazilian.”

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 08:52 AM

September 02, 2006

Trafalgar Launches Brewer vs. Brewer Series

In their latest newsletter, Oakville's Trafalgar Ales & Meads announce that they're about to launch a new series of one-off beers under the "Brewer vs. Brewer" moniker:

Brewer vs. Brewer Round One: Fruit Beer
Head Brewer Dave Jamieson and Apprentice Vince Maarsman are squaring off for the first in a series of brewoffs, and have created two great new ales subtly flavoured with real fruit. Visit our retail store after Labour Day to buy a bottle and cast an official vote for either Dave’s ‘Strawberry Anti-Social’ or Vince’s ‘Debau-Cherry’.
Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 02:43 PM

August 19, 2006

New Trafalgar Beer Brewed For Charity

Oakville's Trafalgar Brewing has just released White Oak Weissbeer, a new beer that will raise money to help save the Great White Oak, an historic oak tree in Halton that is in danger of being cut down. The beer is available at the brewery and Oakville area LCBO outlets. The full press release appears below.


OAKVILLE, ONTARIO: A historic local oak tree threatened by road construction in Halton is starting to receive a lot of attention. A fund raising effort is underway which could save the Great White Oak, and local craft brewer Trafalgar Brewing Company has created a special edition White Oak Weissbeer to help the cause. The Oak, which stands next to Bronte Road at the crest of the ravine bordering Bronte Creek, has been estimated at between 250 and 300 years old, making it older than the town itself.

Population increases in the area have resulted in increased traffic flow, and a decision was made in 2002 to widen Bronte Road. A side effect of this process will be the destruction of the landmark tree. The impending peril of the Oak did not escape the attention of Town and Regional Councillor Alan Elgar and Town Councillor Renee Sandelowsky who, along with others, have formed an organization called the Woodlands Oak Tree Preservation Committee, dedicated to saving the Oak. Upon investigation it has been determined that the road widening can be accomplished without threatening the Great White Oak, but at an added cost of $343,000.

Conversations between the local brewer, Trafalgar, and the Woodlands group began in June, and the result is White Oak Weissbeer. The Weissbeer is a special edition beer craft brewed and affixed with special labels, which prominently feature the tree itself. For every bottle sold, Trafalgar will donate 50 cents (almost 20% of the sticker price) directly to the Woodlands Oak Tree Preservation Committee. The White Oak Weissbeer will be available not only from the brewery itself, located at 1156 Speers Road in Oakville, but also at all five Oakville LCBO stores.

The program will hopefully draw public attention to the cause to save the landmark tree, as well as raising a significant amount of funds with the beer itself. Trafalgar Brewing, a small craft brewer currently operating with a full complement of six staff members, has been working hard to get the beer ready for the public.

“There’s been some extra expense,” according to Trafalgar Brewing owner and operator Mike Arnold, “getting the new labels and packaging together, altering our production schedule, and some added logistics getting all the local stores involved, but it should all be worth it in the end. Trafalgar has been around in Oakville for fourteen years now. We like to think of ourselves not just as a local business but as part of the community. We also appreciate the assistance of the LCBO which has agreed to allow Trafalgar to donate the cost of the in store space to the fund.”

For more information on the campaign to save the tree, please visit www.halton.ca/savethetree, and for more information about Trafalgar Brewing Company, visit www.alesandmeads.com.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 08:55 AM

August 13, 2006

Sapporo To Buy Sleeman

According to numerous news reports this weekend, Japan's Sapporo Breweries have tendered a bid for Sleeman Breweries.

Details from the Globe & Mail:

Sleeman Breweries Ltd., Canada's third-largest beer maker, has accepted a $300-million takeover offer from Japan's Sapporo Breweries Ltd.

Sapporo's cash bid values the Guelph, Ont., company at $17.50 a share, an 18-per-cent premium on yesterday's closing price of $14.83.

Sleeman's board of directors is recommending shareholders tender to the offer and the company has agreed not to solicit competing bids or it will pay an $8.5-million break fee.


A Sapporo takeover is likely to be preferred by Sleeman's 700 employees rather than a deal with Molson or Labatt. Had they won control of Sleeman, both were widely expected to close some or all of Sleeman's four breweries and make its products at their own domestic operations.

This last paragraph is quite telling, especially to fans of Unibroue. While there have been some complaints about certain business decisions that Sleeman have made since buying Unibroue, they have made a point of not altering the recipes and brewing process of the existing Unibroue beers, so here's hoping Sapporo will take the same approach.

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 08:56 AM

August 12, 2006

News Bites From TFOB

Toronto's Festival of Beer is underway for another year, and your friendly neighbourhood news editor was there first thing on Friday to scope the scene for new beers and news from the brewers. Here's what I dug up...

As announced a couple of days ago, Great Lakes Brewing used the festival as a launch pad for their newest offering, Devil's Pale Ale. Weighing in at 6.6% abv with a fairly robust aroma and flavour profile, this beer is quite a departure from a brewery that is known for their mainstream lagers. They hope to soon have it available on tap at a few bars around town, and depending on the response to this first batch, it may turn up in bottles at some point as well.

The other new Pale Ale at the festival comes from Doug Pengelly of Ste. Andre who tapped his Great Eastern India Pale Ale for the first time this weekend. This is the first in a planned series of seasonal releases from Ste. Andre which Doug hopes to make available in bomber bottles via selected LCBO outlets, similar to the series of seasonals being offered in that format by Ottawa's Heritage Brewing. In fact, it was during a chat about this idea that Heritage offered Doug the use of their facilities for the brewing of this beer, which is produced using Tettnanger, Cascade and Goldings hops, and Maris Otter and Weyermann malts sourced from Gilbertson & Page in Fergus, Ontario. The result is a flavourful and well-balanced take in the IPA style which will be available soon at Volo and other locations.

Over at the Church-Key booth, owner John Graham had his hair dyed blue and cut into a mohawk for a recent Red Cross fundraiser, and was serving up samples of his new Purple Loosestrife Mead. As the name suggests, this mead is made with purple loosestrife honey sourced from a honey farm just one concession over from the brewery, plus a bit of hops "just for fun". Graham isn't sure where the mead will be available and in what format, but at the very least, it should show up at some point in bottles sold at the brewery.

Also from out East, the folks from Glenora Springs Brewery were on hand with a large display and stacks of promotional material announcing their impending name change. With a new brewer, new equipment, better quality control and an upcoming move to a new brewing facility, new owners Christopher and Norah Rogers are understandably eager to move away from the stigma attached to the Glenora Springs name due to the infection issues suffered under the brewery's previous ownership. So this fall, the brewery will be relaunched as Barley Days Brewery, named for the era in the late 1800's when Prince Edward County was renowned for the quality of the barley and hops grown in the area. All of the beers will be rebranded as well, with the new names being Harvest Gold (formerly Red Coat) Pale Ale , Wind & Sail (formerly Triple Chin Irish) Dark Ale, Loyalist (formerly White Cap) Lager, and Yuletide (formerly Black Scarf) Cherry Porter, and they will now be available in 341 ml bottles with new labels featuring vintage artwork by Prince Edward County artist Manly MacDonald (1889-1971).

It was hard to miss Trafalgar's tent, as they had hoisted a banner pronouncing them as the home of "Canada's Strongest Beers!". Their set-up was minimal and effective, with their previously available Critical Mass and brand new Korruptor - both of them potent Belgian-influenced brews at 15% abv - being served from kegs housed in hazardous waste drums by guys wearing face masks. As with Critical Mass, Korruptor should be available soon in 200 ml bottles at the brewery and selected licensed establishments.

On the other end of the scale is Niagara's Best Beer, who were serving their new Lager alongside their flagship Blonde Ale. With its 24-for-$24 price point, the Lager is aimed at the discount suds crowd, a move that co-owner Kent Kraemer chalks up to the nature of the market in the Niagara region. Thankfully, they haven't used the low price as an excuse to crank out an adjunct-laden macro-style lager. It may be a little simple for serious craft beer drinkers, but it's very pleasant pale lager that is certainly tastier and more appealing than the usual "buck-a-beer" options.

If you come across any other news or new beer releases at the Festival, please let us know!

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 09:27 AM

July 31, 2006

Sleeman Bids Expected Today

The Globe & Mail reports that four breweries are expected to place bids to purchase Sleeman Breweries before a Sleeman-imposed deadline of the end of today. Bids are expected to be placed by domestic players Labatt and Molson Coors, as well as overseas brewers Grolsch and Sapporo, both of which currently have distribution deals with Sleeman. Sources say that Sleeman hopes to name the successful buyer by October.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 03:43 PM

July 27, 2006

Heritage/Scotch Irish Line-Up For TFOB

The line-up of beers that Ottawa's Heritage/Scotch Irish will be serving at the upcoming Toronto Festival of Beer (Aug 11-13 at Fort York) has been announced.

From the Heritage side of the brewery, they'll be offering the Premium Lager, Dark Lager & Passion Brew, while the Scotch Irish line-up will include Session Ale, Black Irish Plain Porter, Corporal Punishment, Sgt. Major's IPA, Tsarina Katarina Imperial Stout 2005, Ginger's Ale, Major Misconduct, Captain Cascade and Vanilla Bean Porter. The latter four are one-off cask ales to be tapped over the course of the weekend - the Vanilla Bean and Major Misconduct on Friday, Captain Cascade on Saturday, and Ginger's on Sunday.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 02:05 PM

July 05, 2006

Steam Whistle Begs For Bottles

The fine folks at Steam Whistle Brewing have sent out the following plea to their mailing list:

Due to some amazing weather and extraordinary beer sales, we are running short on empty glass bottles this month. We know that there are lots of empties kicking around. In order to keep the beer flowing, we need people to return any empties they have over the next few days and weeks. Please help us keep the Whistle Blowing!

So check your stash of empties for those distinctive green bottles, and get 'em back to the Beer Store!

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:45 AM

June 24, 2006

Brick Launches New Website & Plans New Beers

The promotion continues for Brick's new Founders Series of craft-brewed beers with the launch of welistenwebrew.ca. The site features information about the three beers that are available in the series so far - Pilsner, Amber and Honey Red - and lists upcoming tasting events, most of which are taking place in Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa. In addition, the site features a poll for visitors to vote on which styles they would like to see brewed next for the series - the current choices are India Pale Ale, Winter Ale, Blonde Wheat Ale and ESB.

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 08:45 AM

June 21, 2006

Church-Key Departs Ontario Craft Brewers

According to Jon Filson's brewery tour's article mentioned in our previous news entry, Campbellford's Church-Key Brewing have departed the Ontario Craft Brewers. Their leaving follows a growth spurt earlier this year that saw that organization add several new members, and is only the second departure from the group (the first being Steam Whistle, who left the OCB last year).

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:13 AM

June 19, 2006

Canada Day Launch for Beau's All Natural Brewing

Ontario's newest microbrewery, Beau's All Natural Brewing, will be officially launched on Saturday, July 1st, 2006 - aka Canada Day. Although the availability of their Kölsch-style Lug Tread Lagered Ale will initially be limited to bars and restaurants in the Ottawa area, there's a chance that a keg or two may appear at some of Toronto's better beer bars later this summer.

For the full press release about the launch, read on...

Eastern Ontario microbrewery set to launch on Canada Day
Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. brings fresh, local beer with an “All Natural” appeal to Ottawa and area, starting July 1

Vankleek Hill — (June 16, 2006) Finally, Eastern Ontarians are about to come into their own. Their own beer, that is.

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. will officially open its doors on Canada Day, serving up distinctive, locally made premium beer from the heart of Eastern Ontario. Based in Vankleek Hill, part of the Lower Ottawa Valley, the upstart Beau’s has created a quality craft-brewed beer locals will be proud to call their own.

“Eastern Ontario needs a beer to call its own,” says Tim Beauchesne. “We wanted to offer something that is high-quality, distinctive, and all natural. And of course being local means being fresh.”

Beau’s distinctive, premium beer stands out in the market because it is all natural, a first for regional suds. “It's quite simple: All Natural tastes better,” explains his son and partner Steve Beauchesne. “At Beau’s, we use local spring water and certified organic malts, and we don’t use adjuncts, fillers, or chemicals. We don’t pasteurize the beer since that affects flavour, and we take the extra time needed to brew in small batches.”

The brewing company is the brainchild of Tim Beauchesne, a lifelong entrepreneur based in Vankleek Hill and Hawkesbury, and his son Steve, a former business-planning manager with the Ontario Government. Recognizing that Eastern Ontario has been historically under-represented in the craft-brewing market, the father-son team wanted to create beers that celebrate the unique geography, diversity of language and culture, and the hardworking, friendly people who live here. Beau’s brewmaster, Matt O’Hara, worked with such beer-makers as Montreal’s McAuslan Brewing, Upper Canada Brewing company and Dennison’s Brewpub in Toronto, before signing on with Beau’s to develop their signature beer.

Beau's flagship offering is Lug Tread Lagered Ale, named after the tire treads of a small tractor, a true symbol of Eastern Ontario. Golden-hued, crisp and finely balanced, Lug Tread is a tribute to “Kölsch” the classic beer of Cologne, Germany. Lug Tread is top fermented (like an ale) and then cold aged, or “lagered”, for a lengthy period. This gives it some light ale notes, complemented by a lager-like crispness.

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. is located in Vankleek Hill, about an hour’s drive from Ottawa. Their first all natural beer will be available at select bars and restaurants in the Ottawa region starting July 1, 2006 … just in time to toast Canada Day in true Eastern Ontario style.

From the Opeongo Line to the Cataraqui Bay, Beau’s is truly Eastern Ontario’s Own.

- 30 -

For more information:
Steve Beauchesne
Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co.
10 Terry Fox Drive, Vankleek Hill, ON, K0B 1R0
(613) 676-2337, or toll-free at 866-585-BEER

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 02:19 PM

May 15, 2006

News From The Ontario Craft Brewers

The Ontario Craft Brewers marked their first anniversary today with a press and media event at the Summerhill LCBO. Joined by such dignitaries as Minster of Economic Development and Trade Joseph Cordiano and Public Infrastructure Minister David Caplan, the OCB hosted a tasting of many of their products, outlined the progress that they have made in the last 12 months, and presented their plans for the upcoming year. Below is a report on some of the highlights of the event, and news about new beers and breweries from across the province.

First, here are some of the numbers that illustrate the successes achieved by the OCB in the past year:

  • Sales of Ontario craft beers have increased by 33% at the LCBO in fiscal year 2005-06 compared to 2004-05, and more than 10% in the total Ontario beer market in the past year.
  • The OCB's share of the Ontario beer market has increased from 4% to 5% in the past year.
  • Members of the OCB employ more than 450 people, up 17% from this time last year, and accounting for 20% of all brewery jobs in Ontario.
  • More than $15 million in capital investments have been made into the Ontario craft brewing industry in the last two years, including expansions at Amsterdam, Mill Street, Cool and Brick, and the establishment of new breweries Niagara's Best and Robert Simpson.
  • With the addition of seven new members to the OCB in recent months, they now represent 90% of all eligible brewers in Ontario.

The LCBO representative announced that they will be increasing their committment to the OCB with more and larger store displays, more in-store tastings, and an Ontario Craft Brewers Fair at the Summerhill store on July 28th-30th.

As for brewer- and beer-specific news, there's a lot to report...

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the event was the unveiling of a new line of beers from Brick. Dubbed the "Founder's Series," this line of all natural, 100% malt beers is intended to bring the company back to its roots as one of Ontario's craft brewing pioneers. Brewery reps were pouring samples of J.R. Brickman Amber and J.R. Brickman Honey Red (a third beer, J.R. Brickman Pilsner, will be following soon). All three beers will be available at the Beer Store, and the Amber and Pilsner will also be found on LCBO shelves. To make way for these new products, the majority of the current Brick line-up is being retired, including Brick Premium Lager, Brick Yellow Label Lager, Brick Amber and the draught-only Brick Honey Red.

The brand new Ottawa-area brewery Beau's All Natural Brewing was there with the last few bottles from the pilot batch of their Lug Tread Lagered Ale. This Kolsch-style beer is brewed with 100% organic malt and imported German hops, and is currently being produced for them at Church Key while work on their own facility is being completed. Lug Tread will initially be available only in the Ottawa area, although they may ship a few kegs to select Toronto outlets this summer.

Also being sampled in advance of its official release was a new summer seasonal from Better Bitters, Nickel Brook Apple Pilsner. Inspired by the light fruit beers of Germany, but brewed to 4% rather than the 2%-3% more common of the style, they expect it to be a popular choice as the weather gets warmer. Also new from this Burlington brewery is a Premium Lager that they consider their answer to Creemore Springs, and their Nickel Brook Ale has recently been slightly reformulated to come closer to their original vision for the beer.

Changes have also been made at Glenora Springs, a small Picton brewery that has had quality control issues in the past. They recently had Doug Pengelly of Ste. Andre in to help them refine their brewing process, and they've added some new equipment to their facility as well, with the end result being a much more stable product. Retail availability of their beers in the Toronto area is currently limited to the Dufferin & Wilson LCBO, but they are hoping to have their McKinneys Triple Chin Irish Dark Ale and Red Coat Pale Ale available in more locations soon.

Coming in from Virgil were the folks from Taps Brewery who were pouring their Charleston Lager, Premium Lager and Red Cream Ale. The brewery is also currently aging a lager in wine barrels - hopefully, some it will make an appearance at one of our local establishments.

Finally, a bit of seasonal news from some local favourites - Black Oak are bringing back their Saison, and Mill Street are doing another batch of their Belgian Wheat. Both brews will be available in bottles and kegs soon.

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 08:31 PM

May 13, 2006

Sleeman For Sale?

In a statement released yesterday, Sleeman Brewery revealed that it has hired BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. as a financial adviser and was exploring "strategic options", including "offers to acquire shares or assets of Sleeman, a recapitalization review or business combination."

This followed on reports earlier in the day that InBev - the multinational owner of Labatt, Stella Artois, and many other beer brands - was eyeing Sleeman as a takeover target. Later stories have mentioned Molson Coors and SAB Miller as possible suitors as well.

More coverage of this story can be found at The Toronto Star and The Globe & Mail.

There are also changes in store for the Upper Canada brands owned by Sleeman. The UC Pale Ale launched last year is being discontinued due to poor sales, and the UC Wheat is being retired due to its cannibalizing of market share from other UC brands during the warmer months. The core UC brands will now by the Lager, Dark Ale and Red.

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 09:50 AM

May 04, 2006

Ontario Craft Brewers Welcome New Members

The Ontario Craft Brewers - an association of small and mid-sized breweries from all across the province - have recently increased their ranks from 24 to 31 members. The 7 newest additions are:

A new brewery based in VanKleek Hill (near Ottawa). Their first beer, Lug Tread Ale, is a lagered ale based on the Kölsch style and brewed with certified organic malts, Eastern Ontario springwater and imported German hops. It will be available in restaurants and bars this spring, and in Beer Stores and the LCBO later in the year.

Better Bitters
An off-shoot of a brew-your-own establishment in Burlington. Their beers are being marketed under the Nickel Brook brand, with their current line-up - Ale, Lager, Light and Premium Lager - soon to be joined by an Apple Lager.

Glenora Springs
A small brewery in Picton that was revived last year after being closed for a year or so. Their beers include McKinney’s Triple Chin Irish Dark Ale, Rogers Red Coat Pale Ale, White Cap Premium Lager, and the winter seasonal Black Scarf Cherry Porter.

A newly launched brand line owned by Charles MacLean to be built around his flagship MacLean's Pale Ale which he currently brews at F&M Brewery.

Old Credit
One of Ontario's oldest microbrewers, this Port Credit brewer offers an Amber Ale and a Pale Pilsner.

Scotch Irish
Perry Mason has been serving up fine ales for several years now as a contract brewer. He recently sold the Scotch Irish name to Ottawa's Heritage Brewing, but he will continue to oversee the brand and beers at their new home.

A fledgling brewery in Virgil (near Niagara On The Lake), their line-up includes Charleston Lager, Premium Lager, and a soon to be launched Red Cream Ale.

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 01:43 PM

April 22, 2006

World Beer Cup Medals for Ontario Breweries

The results of the World Beer Cup 2006 competition were announced this week, and several Ontario breweries won some of the hardware:

American-Style Premium Lager
Silver: Formosa Genuine Draft, Brick Brewing Co Ltd., Waterloo, Canada

American-Style Amber Lager
Bronze: Walkerville Lager, Walkerville Brewing Co., Windsor, Canada

American-Style Dark Lager
Bronze: Black Jack, Great Lakes Brewery, Toronto, Canada

Congrats to Brick, Walkerville, Great Lakes, and all of the other winners.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 09:30 AM

April 16, 2006

Joseph Bloor Brewery

In the April/May 2006 edition of the Great Lakes Brewing News, Robert Hughey reports on the impending launch of Joseph Bloor Brewery. Founded by marketer Ralph Smith - who was inspired by reading about a brewery founded in 1830 by early Torontonian Joseph Bloor in the area now known as Rosedale - this new venture will be a contract brewing operation.

The first Joseph Bloor offering will be Blockhouse Lager, a Munich-style Helles that will be aged for a full six weeks. Two other brands will follow later in the year: 1830 Pilsner (a German style pils) and Garrison Ale (brewed in the Scottish 80/- style). Watch for Joseph Bloor taps to appear soon at local bars and restaurants.

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:56 AM

April 14, 2006

Scotch Irish Brewing sold to Heritage Brewing

The following is an announcement from Perry Mason of Scotch Irish Brewing:

Scotch Irish Brewing has entered into an agreement to sell its brands and equity to Heritage Brewing of Carleton Place.

The complexities and stresses, physical, emotional and financial, became too much for me to handle on my own. I decided to sell to Heritage so that I could continue to be part of the business, without the financial burden. I will be involved with the sales and marketing, as well as overseeing Scotch Irish Ales production. I will also have a role in product development for future brands.

This decision was made with great deliberation and hand wringing. I hope that those of you who have supported my efforts in the past will continue to follow the progress of Scotch Irish and Heritage in the future.

A big thanks to the folks at Church-Key Brewing who bailed me out 4 years ago and who steadfastly produced my ales. I wish John and his crew much deserved success.

So, look for more seasonals and bottle offerings at the LCBO from Scotch Irish. We will be doing some 650ml single units for the LCBO, probably Corporal Punishment and maybe Session Ale.


Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 04:31 PM

March 10, 2006

News from Amsterdam Brewery

Amsterdam Brewery is now offering their Irish Stout in bottles, and they will be releasing this year's batch of their seasonal Spring Bock next Monday, March 13th. Both are available at the retail outlet at their new brewery, located at 21 Bathurst St. near Front St., open Mon-Sat 11 AM-11 PM and Sun 11 AM-6 PM.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 10:54 PM

March 03, 2006

Mill Street on the move

As discussed on the Bar Towel Forum back in November, Toronto's Mill Street Brewery will soon be moving to a new location in Scarborough. In the Feb/Mar issue of Great Lakes Brewing News, Robert Hughey gives a bit more info about the move and related plans.

He reports that the new location will be a massive 30,000 square feet, and will be capable of producing around 80,000 hectolitres a year, with plans already in place to increase the capacity to 150,000 hectolitres. This increased capacity will ensure a more steady supply of their beer is available at retail and restaurant/bar outlets, and will also allow them to bottle some of their previously keg-only beers such as the Belgian Wheat.

Even more exciting are their plans for the exisiting brewery space in the Distillery District:

[T]he original Mill Street Brewery is going to be converted into a 300-seat brewpub, with 200 seats inside and 100 seats outside on two patios, north and south of the brewery building. There will be 12 beers on tap, showcasing a wide range of beer styles, including a few which will be cask conditioned.

So we'll be getting a more reliable supply of the existing Mill Street beers, easier access to their seasonals, and a line-up of experiments at the brewpub location - great news all around!

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 12:36 PM

January 20, 2006

1,000,000 Pints of Church-Key!

Church-Key Brewing is celebrating the pulling of their 1,000,000th pint with a bash at their brewery (1678 County Road #38, Pethericks Corners - just north east of Campbellford).

The festivities will be taking place on Saturday, January 21st starting at 11 AM with "Music, Food, Prizes" (and, we assume, BEER!), and a special ceremony at 1 PM to mark the 1,000,000 pint mark.

Congrats to John and the Church-Key crew on this impressive milestone!

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 12:16 PM

June 03, 2005

Government of Ontario to support small brewers

The Government of Ontario today announced a $5 million, 5-year investment in the small brewing industry. Great news indeed - read the press release here.

This investment represents a big win for the recently-initated Ontario Craft Brewers coalition. See their website here.

Posted by Bartowel News at 06:46 PM

April 18, 2005

Creemore to Molson?

As originally reported in the Bar Towel forum on April 13th, Creemore is being purchased by mega-brewer Molson. This story was covered this past Saturday in The Globe and Mail.

But the Bar Towel had it first - congratulations to our community for keeping it a fabulous source of current beer related information and opinion.

Check out the Bar Towel forum here.

Posted by Bartowel News at 08:58 AM

March 09, 2005

Denison's Dunkel Returns

Denison's Dunkel, a beer that many beer lovers remember from the brewpub days has returned. Michael Hancock, brewmaster for Denison's revived the beer last month and is it now available on draught in Toronto.

Currently the beer is available at Cafe Volo (located at Yonge & Dundonald), but should be available at more pubs shortly. Great to see this beer back in the city.

Posted by Bartowel News at 09:54 AM

December 18, 2004

Mill Street Releases Two New Beers

Just in time for the holiday season, Mill Street has released two new beers, Barley Wine and Helles Bock. The Bock is currently available at the brewery, however the first batch of the barley wine has sold out. There will be a new batch soon - call the brewery to reserve yourself some.

Posted by Bartowel News at 05:43 PM

October 25, 2004

Golden Tap Awards mentioned in eye

The recent Eye magazine (Thursday, October 21st) features a Food & Drink Guide, with an article about the Mill Street Brewery. Within this article is a mention of their recent wins at the 2004 Golden Tap Awards, which is nice to see. The article is a good read, and offers some information on Mill Street's forthcoming barley wine.

Check out the article here.

Posted by Bartowel News at 12:15 PM