One-Tank Trip for May 11/19
(c) By Jim Fox
Niagara Region – already known for its world-class wines – is acquiring a taste for craft beers.
“Niagara is earning a growing reputation among beer lovers and foodies for its thriving craft brew scene,” said publicist Stephen Murdoch.
“Just as the best wines reflect the area where they are produced, Niagara’s craft beers capture the unique charm and personality of the region and the passion of the brewmasters behind them,” he added.
|How many “growler jugs” of craft beer are there on the wall at Lock Street Brewing?|
New entries include Lock Street Brewing in St. Catharines and Bench Brewing in Beamsville opening their doors recently.
Niagara now pours at more than a dozen craft beer operations producing award-winning brews that are building a growing audience.
|Wolfgang Guembel, founder and president at Lock Street Brewing, sets them up.|
Joining the action is hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky, diversifying beyond his winery and liquor into craft beer.
No. 99 Rye Lager, at five-per-cent alcohol per volume, is created by Joshua Beach, master distiller for Wayne Gretzky Estates, with input from the boss.
For craft brew aficionados, this starts with a classic Canadian lager with the flavour enhanced by adding Canadian winter rye, a hardy grain that survives the cold.
The brewmaster says the results are “unlike any other beer with an extra layer of depth, zest and freshness to its smooth malt and light hops flavour of a classic Canadian lager.”
|Wayne Gretzky enjoys a cool one at his new craft brewery.|
Further, this beer is “well balanced and delicate on the palate, designed to be easy drinking and refreshing.”
For winery Andrew Peller Ltd., its Gretzky venture is a return to the brewing industry.
Founder Andrew Peller began his career in the 1930s as a brewmaster at E.P. Taylor Canadian brewing, and later opened his Peller Brewing Co. in 1947 in Hamilton.
The brew will be available this month at Gretzky’s in Niagara-on-the-Lake and at LCBO and select outlets in Ontario. gretzkyestateswines.com/shop/beer.html
Future brewmasters in training
Niagara College is an important player in the craft beer scene locally and across Canada.
Its micro-brewery facility offers extensive training for Canada’s first brewmaster and management program.
There’s an on-site brewery that prepares students for employment in the brewery, microbrewery and brewpub industries.
Linking Niagara’s craft brew scene together is the Niagara Ale Trail created three years ago with a web portal having information and a map.
These outline tours to sample the beer and local cuisine at 13 breweries between Port Colborne and Lincoln.
There are details about each brewery, daily and seasonal beer specials, and special events.
Along with the growing variety of breweries and brew pubs is a festival that began last summer helps celebrate the craft beer movement.
The Quench Downtown Craft Beer Festival, spearheaded by the St. Catharines Downtown Association, features craft beer and food vendors, live music and patio games.
“After the success of last summer’s inaugural event, Quench will return to make an even bigger splash on Sunday, July 21,” Murdoch said. niagaraaletrail.com
Head west for new brews
A favourable climate and fertile farmland is leading to “a rapidly evolving wine, craft beer and farm-to-table scene,” says the Southwest Ontario Tourism Corp.
Among the newer breweries are Natterjack Brewing in West Lorne; Pelee Island’s Stone House 1891 Craft Bar & Kitchen; Dundas & Sons Brewing in London; and Stonepicker Brewing Co. in Forest that grows the barley and pulls water from its well to make their brews. ontariossouthwest.com
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com
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