Ontario brewers should think twice before they buck themselves

I’ve been hesitant to weigh in on the buck-a-beer fiasco for a few reasons, not the least of which is that fellow beer writer Jordan St. John already did it, literally the day Doug Ford’s campaign announced dollar beer was a possibility back in May. 

But now that it appears the PC government is going to make good on the promise and now that it appears an Ontario craft brewery is actually opting to pursue dollar beer, I’ve literally been asked to weigh in and will be appearing on CTV News Toronto at 6pm today so I’ve had some time to consider the possibility and thought I’d put my thoughts down here too since that is what a god damned blog is for, right? 

So here’s the problem with dollar beer: Economies of scale mean breweries simply can’t make a very good beer that will cost $1 and still make that brewery a profit. If you attempted to, you’d probably end up using extracts instead of real, quality ingredients, you’ll use adjuncts to get more bang for your buck and, essentially, a dollar beer is going to taste like it’s worth a dollar.  Continue reading “Ontario brewers should think twice before they buck themselves”

Starting a craft brewery? There’s an app for that

iCraft brew

When I first started reading the press release for the “iCraft Brew” app, “available for free for both Apple and Android devices,” and “geared toward that person who has dreamed of starting a craft brewing business,” I’ll admit my reaction was something along the lines of “Oh god. Really?”
Frankly, I’m skeptical of anything that refers implicitly or explicitly to the craft beer boom in Ontario as a “business opportunity” because I think it invites people to craft beer who aren’t so much into beer as they are interested in making a buck. The “craft beer business opportunity” mentality, to me, is what’s leading to an influx of less-than-stellar contract-brewed beer in cans that aren’t really helping the market so much as crowding it. To generalize: People who get into craft beer because they like beer are good, and people who get into craft beer because they want to make a buck are fuckheads. Continue reading “Starting a craft brewery? There’s an app for that”

Drinking in Prince Edward County

*sure, the title of this post should probably be “Drinking in and around Prince Edward County”, but that doesn’t sound as catchy.

Last week, to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, my wife and I took a trip to Prince Edward County. While we’re both somewhat amateur oenophiles, and the wine was a draw, I was anxious to see if I might be able to track down some decent local beer–perhaps owing to the fact that I was very much aware I was missing Session 99, the closing ceremonies of Ontario Craft Beer Week.

And while we were able to find some beer (more on that later), we actually unintentionally stumbled on something of a craft spirits hidden gem when we ended up at 66 Gilead Distillery.

Recommended to us by an employee of Huff Estates winery who overheard that we were embarking on an alcohol-related tour of the county, 66 Gilead is, amazingly, a former hops farm that now houses a craft distillery on an 80-acre piece of land that features a beautiful house built in 1874.

While we didn’t go into the barn (and I’m now kicking myself for not requesting a tour) their website notes that the hops barn next to the house remains intact with it’s drying floors and brick ovens. Continue reading “Drinking in Prince Edward County”