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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ein prosit: Beer has 175-year tradition in Kitchener-Waterloo

   One-Tank Trip for July 11-15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   TV’s Homer Simpson whose love is “beer, glorious beer” would be right at home in Kitchener-Waterloo.
   The Waterloo Region twin cities have a long history of making and consuming the fermented beverage of choice on these hot summer days.
   After all, it’s the home of the fall beer bash, Oktoberfest, the largest drinking fest outside of Munich, Germany.
There’s no shortage of “beer, glorious beer” at Kitchener-Waterloo’s Oktoberfest. (Ontario Tourism photo)
   This beer’s for you as there’s more than 175 years of brewing tradition in the region along with a resurgence of craft brewers.
   It’s all researched and documented at BEER! The Exhibit that recently opened at the Waterloo Region Museum and continues until Jan. 3.
   Forget about 99 bottles of beer on the wall, the museum has a wall of 500 of them including bottles, stubbies and cans including rarities from across the country.
   Visitors can “learn how beer is made, the impact Prohibition had on the brewing industry and the evolution of craft breweries,” said Tom Reitz, museum manager/curator.
   “From public houses to bars, temperance societies to drinking responsibly – explore the cultural and social influences of beer,” he added.
Antique serving trays and beer tap handles are among the artifacts at the Waterloo Region Museum exhibit.
   Waterloo Region’s long history of brewing included at one time about 300 small, independent businesses.
   Sizeable beer makers included Waterloo’s Kuntz Brewery started in the 1830s and became the Carling-Kuntz Brewery in 1929.
   After Labatt Breweries of London bought Carling’s in 1977, the Waterloo operation continued but was closed in 1993.
   Also in the region was the Ayr Brewery that operated between 1857 and 1964.
Tasty samples of various craft brews (Jim Fox photo)
   Today’s big name as Ontario’s first craft brewery is Brick Brewing Co. founded in 1984 with its craft division, Waterloo Brewing Co., and links to the Formosa brewery, circa 1870.
   The museum will be partnering with K-W Oktoberfest to create special dinners featuring beer pairings and musical entertainment, said Sean Jasmins, supervisor of marketing and partnerships.
   A series of beer talks will also be held in the fall on the history of beer featuring local craft brewers.

An Oktoberfest beer wagon and a wall of 500 bottles of beer are on display at the museum.
   Need to know:
   The beer exhibit is included with admission to the museum located at 10 Huron Rd., Kitchener.
   Admission is $10, adults; $8, seniors and students; $5, ages five to 12; free, four and younger; $25, families. waterlooregionmuseum.com; (519) 748-1914

   Crafty tastes
This one’s for you says brewmaster Steven Innocente, a craft brewer in Waterloo. (Barbara Fox photo)
   Among the region’s craft brewers are Innocente Brewing Co. in Waterloo where head brewer Steve Innocente is called the “mad-for-hops scientist.” Tours and samples are available.
   There’s also Grand River Brewing in Cambridge and Block Three Brewing Co. microbrewery in St. Jacobs.
   A taste of area craft brewers’ products will be available at the Waterloo Region Food Truck Fare on July 25 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 30 Regina St. S. in Waterloo.
   The second-annual event in support of the Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region will feature “food trucks, local food, craft beer, family fun and bands,” said publicist Jane Barkley.wrfoodtruckfare.ca
Beertown Public House
   It’s also appropriate that Beertown Public House has opened two of its brew-infused dining and sipping spots in Waterloo and Cambridge, along with one in London.
   There’s a vast selection of beers and paddles for tastings of various craft brews, beer-inspired cocktails and food items.
   Also in Waterloo is the Lion Brewery/Barley Works Bar & Grill with a “great selection of local beers to sample with good pub food.”

   Bottoms up
   - Toronto’s Festival of Beer with more than 60 brewers featuring 300 brands from around the world returns from July 24 to 26 at Bandshell Park at Exhibition Place.
   Already the Saturday session on July 25 is sold out.
Barkeep Brandy Wilyard pulls a pint of ale. (Jim Fox photo)
   Choice range from lagers to stouts, fruit beer to ales and there’s more than just beer.
   Available will be several non-malt based beverages including cider and ready-to-drink beverages while vendors are “well-known Toronto food purveyors creating some great grub,” organizers say. beerfestival.ca
   - The Forest City Beer Fest, called “downtown London’s annual celebration of good beer” returns to Covent Garden Market on Aug. 15 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
   There will be more than 20 brewers and cider producers including local favourites Forked River and London Brewing Co-Op, along with food stands and trucks. ForestCityBeerFest.com


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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