EXCLUSIVE: Rorschach Brewing Co. Opening Early 2017!

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Are you ready for this?! ANOTHER brewpub is set to open in Toronto’s East end for early 2017! We are getting spoiled over here and I for one could not be happier.

Introducing Rorschach Brewing Company! Opening at 1001 Eastern Avenue. Rorschach Brewing Co. is the brainchild of four friends, three of whom met at the University of Toronto’s Engineering program. They have spent the last two years in the planning stages and now their dream is becoming a reality. Matthew Reiner, the brewmaster has been home brewing for the past eight years. His focus is on aggressively hopped IPAs and mixed fermentation Saisons. Mohan Pandit and Chris Ristevski are also engineers and Ben Ragan has a background in construction and wine.

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As you probably know (or have assumed from the clever logo) Rorschach is the name of the infamous inkblot test, when asked how they decided on this name their answer was quite philosophical: just like the inkblot test, beer is a subjective experience. Every person’s palate is unique and they perceive flavours differently so they wanted their name and slogan “Life’s too short for ordinary beer” to reflect the ideology that beer is something to be experienced and experimented with! Their goal is to craft beers that are complex and flavourful but also highly drinkable. This is a philosophy that The Bottomless Pint can get behind! see Victoria’s previous post on the subjectivity of beer tasting.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Matthew, Mohan and Ben over a few samples of their brews. They showed me around the (mostly empty) space explaining their vision. There will be a ten bbl brewhouse with six fermenters and two bright tanks. They will be installing 14-16 taps but will probably launch with about five beers. The founders have all discovered their love for beer while travelling abroad where they also experienced many culinary styles. The inspiration for their menu comes from tapas style dining. They will not be serving your average pub food but rather snacks that are meant for sharing and most importantly complementing the beer. The main floor holds 70-80 guests while the massive second floor patio holds approximately 100. Ideally there will be a take away counter for bottles as well, all depending on licensing of course.

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Now to the good stuff, the beer! I was lucky enough to try three of Matthew’s creations. A Saison, a West Coast IPA and a Coffee Oatmeal Stout. The Saison is currently in line to be the flagship beer: fruity, dry and medium bodied, this beer is definitely a crowd pleaser. The IPA is hopped with Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe, very juicy with the hop focused in the aroma and flavour and very little lingering bitterness. The Coffee Oatmeal Stout is beautifully roasty and smooth. Matthew roasted the coffee beans himself and they are currently trying to convince a family member with a coffee-roasting hobby, to create of a unique blend for this particular beer.

There is still a ton of work to be done and licensing to be acquired so an opening date cannot be accurately predicted at this time, but be sure to watch out for this one! The location is absolutely gorgeous, the building itself is an old house with a massive expansion added on the back but the front of the original house has been beautifully preserved. The parking lot next door is a huge bonus and it is literally just minutes from the lake (and the lakeshore bike path!).

Good luck guys! I can’t wait to see (and taste) the final results!

PRESS RELEASE: Ontario Self-Guided Brewery Discovery Routes Bigger and Better for 2016

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More news fresh from the brain of ever-helpful and informative OBN – Ontario Tourism has announced their 2016 initiative celebrating food, beer, and other Ontario-made goodies in their Brewery Discover Routes platform!  Take a look at the homepage here.

Check out the full Press Release below!

 


Self-Guided Tours of Craft Beverages and Local Food Across Ontario and Its Protected Greenbelt Launched for Ontario Craft Beer Week 2016

TORONTO, ON–(Marketwired – June 09, 2016) – As Ontario Craft Beer Week celebrates local beer across Ontario, self-guided Brewery Discovery Routes provide five complete itineraries for folks looking to get out and explore breweries, cideries, Feast On restaurants, and local attractions. Along the way, participants can indulge in the flavours of artisanal cheeses, lovingly prepared culinary treats using fresh, local ingredients, premium craft beverages, farmers’ markets and scenic outlooks.

First launched in 2015, the 2016 expanded version includes nearly 150 independent craft beverage producers, over 100 Feast On restaurants and additional points of interest across Ontario and its protected Greenbelt. Some 250,000 maps will be distributed for free to residents throughout the province and all the routes are also available online at brewerydiscoveryroutes.ca

“Brewery Discovery Routes are the full package, showcasing Ontario’s independent, craft beverage producers, restaurants, artisanal cheesemakers, shops and farmers’ markets. They are the backbone of the rural economy and tourism landscape,” said Greenbelt Fund CEO Burkhard Mausberg. “The experiences let you taste the difference local makes from drink to food.”

“There is a great story behind every brewery in Ontario,” says Cam Heaps, co-founder Steam Whistle Brewing and chair of Ontario Craft Brewers. “Ontario Craft Breweries are ideal places for visitors to learn about the local brewing process, tour historical buildings, sample premium, award-winning brands and meet the real people behind the real craft beer in Ontario.”

“In Ontario we’ve seen a major growth in brewery tourism with a new survey showing beer, burgers and gastropubs are the favourite destinations of 32% of food tourists,” said Beth Potter, President & CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario. “The Brewery Discovery Routes Map is a great new tourism product that builds regional connections to deliver an economic boost to the tourism sector in rural communities.”

While sampling is part of any brewery tour, participants are reminded to drink responsibly and establish a designated driver if touring the Discovery Routes by car. Most breweries, cideries and distilleries have bottle shops on site so visitors can take their favourite craft beverage home with them to enjoy.

The project was made possible with an investment from the Greenbelt Fund to support local food literacy and encourage Ontarians to enjoy local more often.

About Brewery Discovery Routes:

Brewery Discovery Routes is a partnership of fifteen Ontario organizations and tourism partners, including: the Greenbelt Fund, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, Greenbelt Fresh, Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Ontario Craft Brewers, Ontario Beverage Network, Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, Ontario Craft Cider Association, Ontario Craft Distillers Association, Central Counties Tourism Durham, Grey Bruce Tourism, Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, Ontario Hop Growers’ Association and the Centre for Environmental Sustainability in Healthcare

About the Greenbelt Fund:

The Greenbelt Fund changes the way we eat food in Ontario. Our innovative investments get more local food onto the plates of Ontarians. We work with businesses, institutions and NGOs to make Ontario’s farmers the first choice for consumers. The Fund’s work has generated a 13-fold return on our investments, permanently changed the food value chain, and improved local food awareness and education around the province. As a not-for-profit, the Greenbelt Fund is supported by public and private sources.

For more information, contact:

Christine Mulkins
Ontario Craft Brewers
647-242-3686
pr@ontariocraftbrewers.com

Erica Woods
Greenbelt Fund
Communication Manager, Greenbelt Fund
416-960-0001 ext. 306
ewoods@greenbeltfund.ca

Brock St. Brewing Company – Durham’s Newest Brewery

 

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“The most refreshing street in Canada.”

That is the tag line of Durham Region’s newest craft brewery. Brock St. Brewing Company, which had their soft opening back in April, is located at 1501 Hopkins St., Unit 3, in Whitby, Ontario. Yes that’s right, the name is Brock St. Brewery which is located on Hopkins, but I will get into that in a little bit. Brock St. Brewery was an idea that came from a night of 4 homebrewers enjoying a few beers a couple of years ago. The idea started to come to life in January 2014. The brewery was intended to be located in the old fire hall on Brock St.  Unfortunately the town was not ready for the sale of the building. That is not stopping the ownership group of the brewery from actively working with the Mayor, town staff, and council for the Town of Whitby to engage support to rebuild and establish a second location in Whitby’s downtown firehall.

IMG_8123The current brewery is run by brewmaster Eric Ross, who is a graduate of Niagara Brewing Collage, worked at Gananoque Brewery and Beaus before coming to Brock St. Eric, who developed all the recipes in conjunction with the ownership group, is brewing on a 30 hectalitre brewing system. The brewery also has four 60 hectalitre fermenters and 2 brite tanks. They have also introduced a new bottling line and in the summer they will be installing a grain silo which will gravity feed the mash tank inside the brewery. Currently the brewery offers a Blonde, American Brown and Traditional Red, with a Porter and a Pale Ale in the works. Brock St. Brewery is also working on a collaboration beer with 5 Paddles Brewing Co., located on the same street.

Currently, you can buy their beer in 1L and 2L growlers at the brewery, with bottles coming very shortly. If you are looking to try their beers at some local Durham restaurants you can find them at the following: Brock HouseBuster RhinosHot RocksChatterpaulsTetraVillage InnTap and TankardThree-Six Kitchen and Lounge and a few more in the area.IMG_8130

Mark Woitzik, one of the owners, said to me  “Brock St. Brewing would like to thank this amazing community for all the support we have received.”

Brock St. Brewery was the official beer of the Brooklin Spring Fair that took place June 4-6, 2015. Brock St. won 1st place at the Bowmanville Ribfest in the Light Beer Category for their Blonde. Brock St. will be participating in events over the summer including Craft Beer Saturday’s this Saturday June 13th at Victory Cigars inOshawa (sorry for the shameless plug of my event) Brock St. Brewing Company will be having their official grand opening, July 4th and 5th, 2015. There will be a few local radio stations that will be broadcasting live, as well as food and of course a ton of beer. If you want to try their beer soon, head over to the brewery or one of the local restaurants to grab yourself a pint or growler.

To see all the photos from the tour head over to my Tour & Events Gallery.

A Ride Along with Brew Donkey

Brad Campeau is on a mission to make craft beer accessible to everyone in Ottawa. He’s the owner and operator of Brew Donkey, a start-up that delivers craft beer and runs brewery tours around the city. This week, I got a chance to ride along with Brad and get a glimpse into a day in the life of the donkey.

Our morning begins in the Brew Donkey- a modest single room in Maker Space North, a collective office space in the 250 City Center complex. The room is packed with boxes full of stickers, posters of various beers in the area and a few jars full of hops. Inside sits the donkey himself.

“It’s not very glamorous,” he warns me as we walked out to the minivan that he uses for all of his deliveries. As we get into the vehicle, he pulls out a piece of paper covered in his own chicken scratch with a list of beers for the day- nine different orders to be picked up from ten breweries.

Brew Donkey started in 2013. Brad was in Vancouver and Victoria and saw the accessibility to craft breweries and beer, and realized that was something that Ottawa didn’t have.

“You could visit eight or nine breweries in about a 25 minute walk, so three or four breweries a day was an easy walk. Ottawa’s not like that,” he explains.

In addition, there was wide craft selection in private beer stores that Ontario couldn’t match. Brad saw an opportunity to bolster Ottawa’s craft beer scene, and so he put together Brew Donkey.

Our first stop- Big Rig Brewery in Kanata. As soon as Brad walks in the door, he’s greeted with familiarity by everyone in sight. The most jovial of these is Brewmaster Lon, who declares that Friday is Boot day, and pours us each a sample of a new cask that he’s opened. It’s a mandarina hefeweizen, a new experiment by Lon.

“I think experimentation is super important,” Lon tells me, “but I think quality is even more important than that. Even if people are experimenting, good sound procedures and getting a good sound beer is still important within that process. I’m happy to try experimental beers, but sometimes people don’t adhere to enough quality control measures when they’re going into those things.”

His mentality is clear in the beer, it goes down smooth with a pleasant citrus touch to it that leaves the drinker wanting more. Brad picks up his order- a growler of Big Rig’s Black IPA, and we’re off to our next destination.

In addition to the deliveries, Brew Donkey runs brewery tours each weekend.

“The brewery tours were something that I initially envisioned as something to help our current delivery customers get better educated on the beers that were available for delivery,” says Brad “but at this point more often than not people are just using the tours as a great time.”

The tours go to three breweries in a given area of town, where the tourists get to go to the back room, sample beers and learn about the companies. While we drive on from Big Rig to Covered Bridge, Brad explains that the brewery tours had taken off more than he could have possibly expected. Almost every weekend, the tours sell out, he tells me over the clanking of empties in the back of the van.

After a short drive south, we arrive at Stittsville’s Covered Bridge Brewing, where we’re greeted by a smiling John Van Dyke, co-owner of the company. Brad picks up a Black IPA for the delivery- apparently they’re a popular item this week. After the beer is bought, I get a chance to talk with John.

“We’re getting a lot of great beers out there, which I think is only a good thing for people around Ottawa and for brewers.” says John. “I think it’s probably the best way that we can encourage people to start drinking craft beer and drinking locally. If we can kind of convert some of those people that are normally drinking some of the big name brand stuff over to craft beer that’s great.”

With some covered bridge in hand, we’re off to Broadhead Brewing.

Brew Donkey, like any business, isn’t without its struggles. Due to Ontario’s strict liquor laws, Brad isn’t allowed to hold any inventory on the beer. If he keeps beer overnight, he technically becomes a distributor, not a delivery service. This means that all beer has to be picked up on the day of delivery.

Sometimes, people place orders for beers that are sold out by the time Brad does a delivery day. Others think they can order beer for instant delivery at any time.

Another challenge is expanding delivery limits. Brad uses area codes to determine his limits, but many of the communities surrounding Ottawa are on the edge of massive area codes. Promising delivery to rural communities can be difficult, especially considering most people will only order a few beers.

Today, Brad’s deliveries will start on the east end, but I can’t tag along that far. There’s only two more breweries to go before he drops me off.

The first of these is Broadhead, a bustling brewery with DIY equipment and a handful of people seemingly on their lunch break picking up some beers. Here, Brad hands in a couple boxes full of empties. If you order from Brew Donkey, he’ll bring your craft empties back to the breweries as well. After giving in $100 worth of empties, he grabs a growler and a can and we’re off to Nita Beer.

Nita is a new company off of Collonade drive. Brad tells me that they’re targeted at creating beer for the active sporting community. Upon arrival, it becomes clear what he means. Their beers are each labeled with skiing difficulty signs according to how heavy their flavour is .

Andy Nita is the owner of Nita Beer. When we arrive, he has just finished updating the new Brew Donkey online store with a trio of new stouts, Perfectum, Omne, and Trium.

“We released three stouts based on good things come in threes,” says Nita “The Trium one I like the best, it’s actually a spiced stout that has cloves and cinnamon in it. The cinnamon cloves was kind of like ‘well there to be a lot of those ingredients in Irish cooking, so let’s fire it in and see what happens’”

We pick up a growler of their OPA, an IPA and hit the road once more. After Brad drops me off, he’s going to swing by a pub to meet with an Ashton Brewing Company representative, and then off to the Clocktower before working his way to the East end.

Once all of the beers are picked up, Brad will begin his deliveries in the evening, and then do it all again on the next delivery day.

As promised, the day wasn’t particularly glamorous but it allowed me a sneak look inside of one of the most exciting aspects of Ottawa’s growing beer community. Brad says that Brew Donkey has been well received by the small population that know of it. The brewers themselves have nothing but praise for him.

“It’s really good for us,” says John from Covered Bridge, “People in the east end can try our stuff even if we’re not on tap there, and that just creates more demand for us, so yeah it’s a good thing.”

Big Rig’s Brewmaster Lon was even more enthusiastic.

“He is the Don Quixote of craft beer. He is Don Quixote on a donkey, driving beer to the windmill every day, it’s beautiful,” Lon smiles “He’s bringing beer to the people.”

Practically Irish Brings Craft Beer to Pickering

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There are a growing number of breweries opening up in the Durham Region, which is amazing if you live in the area. Practically Irish is one of the new additions to the growing list of craft brewers in the area.

Practically Irish officially started in June 2014. The idea came about like most great ideas, over a few beers with friends. In this case, it was between long time friends and homebrewers Brian James (President) and Dwayne Fernandes (Brewmaster). Their dream started back in 2012, after attending OCB Conference, which after creating a business plan and working out all the details, they took possession of an industrial unit in January 2014. As things started to take shape, Brian and Dwayne brought in Alex Bitterman, who is Vice President and Sales and Promotions. Not only are the 3 friends working hard to complete the brewery, they have hired a couple of assistants in addition to having had tons of help from friends and family.

Currently they are running on a 250L system, which with help from an overseas investor will allow them to double their production in February 2015. Practically Irish is already looking to expand with the addition of a bottling line, 8 new fermenters and a new Brite Tank. As of right now, they are brewing their Blonde Ale which can be found in bars and restaurants in Durham Region and 9 bars in Toronto. They are already expanding their selection with a Midnight Milk Stout, which I was lucky enough to sample and I must say it was amazing. Already there are plans for a Cream Ale and an ESB in the Spring. Practically Irish is also in talks about the possibility of opening a brewpub in Pickering at a later date.

The retail area of the brewery will be fully completed and licensed in early February 2015. They are located at 1033 Toy Ave, Unit 8, Pickering, ON. So give them a follow on twitter (@pracirishbeer) and check out their site at practicallyirish.com for all the information on their opening date.

The Northumberland Hill Brewery

During my trip to Cobourg, I decided to swing by the 9 week old Northumberland Hill Brewery. The brewery is located at 1024 Division St, in a small unit just off the main street. Upon arriving at the brewery, I was greeted by two gentlemen, one being Rick Bailey, the brewmaster and owner. Rick, who was very busy helping the flood of customers walking into the retail area of the brewery, was very friendly and was able to talk to me about the brewery and business inbetween helping others.

The brewery has a small footprint but utilizes the area very well. Upon entering, you will notice the bottle fridge, which was full with 5 beer selections. As the brewery is very new, things are slowly starting to come together. The retail area is being built, where they will offer flights, glassware, and apparel. The sampling area was a bar top infront of a large chalkboard which displayed all the brewery news, it also displayed beer that are coming soon and what they are currently sampling. During my time there, I sampled all their offerings, all of which were very different and unique.

When the brewery died down, Rick took me into the brewhouse. The brewhouse uses 300L tanks, which after the brewing process, ends up with about 250L of beer per batch. Though the brewery isn’t large, they have a wide range of beers that they are currently offering, and the list is always growing. Northumberland Hills Brewery (NHB) has truly been found by the locals. During my time there, the customers never stopped coming in, and Rick tells me the brewery was busy all weekend. Its great location combined with their well balanced beers, will surely make for a successful combination.

I wish I had a chance to spend more time there and speak to Rick longer, but my short time there has me wanting to go back. With their ever growing new beers being brewed, you’ll be sure to get something new everytime you head into the brewery. So be sure to head over to Northumberland Hill Brewery and pay the guys a visit, you won’t be disappointed.

William Street Beer Co.

I had a great opportunity to take a trip out to Cobourg, Ontario recently. While in town, I decided to pay William Street Beer Co a visit. William Street Brewery is located at 412 William Street, which is a prime location at the corner of William Street and University Ave. The brewery isn’t hard to miss as you can see the sign, which is high in the air, as you drive down William St. The brewery is located in a old automotive shop, which really suits the brewery well. During my time at William Street, I had the opportunity to be shown around and to speak with Sean Walpole, who is the brewmaster. Sean welcomed me with open arms. Sean was very knowledgeable about brewing, the beer industry and business. I left the brewery having learned a lot from him.

William Street Beer Co is a nice small local brewery. As you walk in the door to the right, you will see the stores two fridges, which house all the beer that the brewery is offering at the time. The fridges themselves have great graphics, which are some of the beer labels, displayed on the sides. The designs are very well done and with everything William Street does is very consistant. Just down the hall, you enter the tasting room, where you have the chance to sample selections of their beers. The tatsting room incudles a bar that runs the length of the room. A garage door, which in the summer, opens up to wlecome everyone into sample. As the tour continued, we ended up in the brewhouse, which is a 3BBL brewing system. The brewhouse is able to brew 300L batches of beer at a time. On the day of my visit, Sean was just releasing their pumpkin beer, Peculiar Pumpkin.

William Street has been open for about 8 months, and like most breweries going through their ups and downs. At first, the brewery was having troubles keeping up with demands for the beer. This forced them to close down for a few weeks to catch up and perfect the beers. Now, the brewery is fully stocked and very busy. While in the tasting room, I had the chance to try 3 of the breweries beers, Red Sky Amber, Cliff Top Pale Ale and Peculiar Pumpkin. All three of the beers were very good and unique. I will review a couple very soon. Sean was very helpful in telling me all about the beers and the process in which they were made. During my hour or so at the brewery, I could see how well William Street fits into Cobourg. There was a steady stream of customers coming in, not only for their new beer offering but for some of their staples, which are the Cliff Top and Red Sky. A lot of the customers that were coming in, Sean knew by name. Currently you can only pick up their beers at the brewery and your able to order a pint at a handful of local bars.

Sean’s main message to me was “We are committed to brewing simple, high quality and hand crafted ales for Cobourg and the surrounding communities. In addition, we make our beer with premium ingredients with preference always given to local, natural or homemade products over extracts, chemicals or shortcuts.” So, if you are ever in the Cobourg area be sure to check this place out and go and pay Sean a visit. You will get great beer and very friendly and knowledgeable service.

 

Old Flame Brewing Co. coming to Port Perry

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Tuesday June 3rd I had the privilege of getting a sneak peek of Durham Region’s newest brewery., Old Flame Brewing Co. Old Flame is located in the Historical District of Port Perry, Ontario. Housed in a building that was built for the former Ontario Carriage Works in 1884 gives the building a vibrant history adding to the charm of the brewery. Prior to becoming the Old Flame, the building was used as an LCBO location.

As the renovation process started, and the interior drywall was removed, the true beauty of the building began to appear. The original post and beam structure, the century old brick and even burnt timber from a historical blaze appeared from behind the modern façade. The charm and history shines of this building shines through as you arrive. Jack Doak, the breweries founder, stuck with his visions and gave the old building a beautiful rustic look.

As soon as you walk in to the brewery, you are blown away by the decor and the appearance of the tasting room. Old Flame has done an amazing job in keeping their theme consistent as well as the branding all the way through. As you walk into the room you will see “A History Wall” with pictures, articles and stories about the old building and historic Port Perry. Like Jack said “This is all about creating an emotional attachment to a brand.” and truly Jack and his creative director have done an amazing job achieving their goal. I could go on and on about how beautiful the tasting room is, but I will let you go have a look and experience it for yourself. Old Flame Brewery has received approval to add a patio at the back of their building. This will allow its customers an opportunity to enjoy one of their signature beers outdoors just steps from the lake. People will be able to come and go into the brewery through either the front or back door.

The brewery offers a tasting room experience. You will be able to go up to the counter and get a flight of beer. The flight consists of 3-4oz servings of their signature beers. Being a tasting room the brewery will also offer its customers an assortment of local cheese along with some bread and crackers. Since the brewery closes at 9 pm, they encourage their customers to head to one of the many local restaurants for a bite to eat after the Brewery closes. These restaurants will of course have Old Flame on tap.

The brewery will have 3 signature beers. The way Jack puts it is “Everyone has an old flame.” So their 3 beers are called Blonde, a Red and a Brunette. The Blonde is more of a Hellas style lager. Which will be a very seasonal, Oktoberfest style beer. The Red will be a Vienna lager, and the Brunette will be a Munich dunkle style lager. The Brunette is already an award winner bringing home a Gold Metal from the Niagara College BrewingCompetition. I was lucky enough to try some of the first beer ever made at Old Flame, which was a Dirty Blonde. It was a very easy drinking patio beer that will certainly be a huge successfullocal beer this summer. Old Flame has 6 Taps in their tasting. 3 taps will be set aside for their signature beers, one tap will be for their “Brewers Discretion’ Series beer (which will be one-off beers of the brewmaster’s choice, and the other two will be for a couple of the breweries other brews. Their beers will be able to be purchased in t750ml mini growlers. Old Flame also has plans for expansion into cans for the LCBO in the near future. The bottles are the perfect size to pick up one of each and share with friends. There are no current plans for a 2L growler. The growlers are priced at $5.25 with a $1.25 deposit on the bottle.

Old Flames Brewmaster is Scott Pautler. Scott is a graduate of Niagara Collage Brewing program. Not only does Scott have a breweing degree, but also has a degree in accounting from Brock University. Scott started out as a home brewer like many brewmasters before moving on to work at several breweries including F&M Brewery, Lake of Bays, then helped to get Oast House setup. From there he went on to work at Mill St. Brewery and that’s when Jack stole him for Old Flame. Scott comes with of ton of experience in the brewing industry and a huge amount of passion for beer. Scott like any people in the craft beer industry have lofty goals “It’s my goal to make a brew that’s both delicious and consistent.” Scott provides extreme attention to detail so that ever beer is consistent, including the water which goes through a reverse-osmosis in order to keep each beer pure from the very start.

The brewery will be open to the public as of Tuesday June 10th. Be sure to head over to the brewery have a flight or two of their great beer. Then pick up some bottles and share with your friends.