Great news for Woodstock!...Below is the Facebook release from Upper Thames Brewing Co.

"At long last, craft beer enthusiasts won’t have to travel far anymore for great small batch beer. Upper Thames Brewing Company will begin operations June 1, 2016 in the Friendly City. The industry is clearly growing and Woodstock is long overdue to have its own distinctive brand. The partners of Moe Morris, Chad Paton, Frank Raso, Josh Bowes and Carl Bloomfield are all local beer enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, anticipating a high demand for the high quality, locally sourced product. All the product will be brewed on premises at 225 Bysham Park Drive in the cities north-east end. The location is very conducive to the brewing process and possible future expansion.

“Craft breweries are locally owned, support local farmers, and the brewers are true artisans creating works of art in liquid form.” - 
Moe Morris

Upper Thames Brewing will serve as a production facility providing beer to local bars and restaurants, a retail outlet where customers can purchase and take our beer home, and a tap room where patrons can sample a number of beers produced in house.
We anticipate having the following beers at launch: a friendly, drinkable scotch-ale, a Belgian wheat beer, an English pale ale, a brown ale and a few interesting seasonal craft beers throughout the year.

Hope to see you soon"


Above courtesy of Upper Thames Brewing Company, via Facebook release.

 
 
PicturePhoto by Jason Lutz.
Jan 2nd, 2016.

Clifford Brewing Co. is one year old this month, but the man behind the brand is no newbie to commercial brewing. Brad Clifford, of Clifford Brewing, graciously agreed to a phone interview and email exchange with Brewvy.com. A great story, that parallels and exemplifies the success of craft beer in Ontario.

Brad grew up near London, Ontario, in the town of Ingersoll, where he and his family owned and operated a trailer park. Brad himself worked at the trailer park throughout his early years, which provided some interesting experiences and influences.  He went on to attend Ryerson University in Toronto, where he earned his degree in Printing Technology. In the midst of two successful decades in the printing industry, he was able to begin funding his brewing aspirations. During his full-time career printing, Brad arranged a 3-day x 12 hour-shift work schedule, printing Friday to Sunday. Emerging from home-brewing in his Toronto condo, this new schedule allowed him to dedicate time to begin commercial brewing Monday to Thursday. Brad continues to stay connected to the printing industry, albeit to a lesser degree these days.

Home-brewing...

...was a big indicator of Brad's future. In 2010 & 2011, Brad won 2 Canadian Amateur Brewers Association (CABA) “Best-in-Show” awards, back-to-back. Add to that several gold awards at National Canadian home-brewing competitions. It was at this point that Brad began to think: "Hey, I might not be bad at this."

Brad’s commercial career…

His home-brew success led to his first commercial collaboration with Beau’s in 2011, where the popular “Double-wide” Double IPA, was born (reflecting back to the trailer park).  From there, Brad moved-on to an opportunity at the Get Well Bar in Toronto, where he constructed a 200 Lt Nano-system in November 2012, brewing around 2-dozen different beers rotating on 3 house taps, until Oct of 2014. As per Brad:

“Pinball Wizard APA became one of the most popular, which I brewed on a constant basis…other styles were German Lager, Bocks, IPA’s, Porters, Stouts, Saisons, English Bitters…I experimented a lot with different malts/hops/yeast to create new beers each week that I’d then give some crazy name and put on tap.”

While at Get Well, he won 4 commercial brewing awards: 2013 Silver award (Porter) & Silver award (Dark Ale) in the Ontario Brewing Awards. His rookie year at the Canadian Brewing Awards in 2014, earned a bronze for Pinball Wizard in the “North American Pale Ale” category and his porter won a bronze in it’s category. In early 2013 (and still at Get Well), Brad teamed-up with Mike Duggan (this name should sound very familiar), starting the Ontario Brewing Company. Together they brewed “100 Mile Ale” and “100 Mile Lager”. This beer was one of the originators of the “all local” concept, produced on a large scale using Ontario-grown ingredients exclusively.

“…though it was more of a side project, it was a big one and taught me a lot about large-scale brewing…being involved in harvesting local hops and brewing and canning 90-barrel batches at a time, for distribution to LCBO’s across the province. All of this brewing was done at Cool Brewing under the supervision of Mike and I.” ~ BC.

Moving forward to 2015. What a busy year!!

Brad chose to get further into the industry by working with existing breweries. Being one of his strongest and most recognized beers, Brad’s porter was first off-the-line, as the Clifford Brewing Company brand launched in January 2015 from the Innocente Brewing Company in Waterloo, Ontario. Immediately following the launch, the Clifford Porter won Gold in the 2015 Ontario Brewing Awards. Brad was extremely pleased with this result as it was the only one he had time to enter. Due to volume demands at/on Innocente, Clifford Brewing Co. moved-on to Grand River Brewing, in the summer of 2015. After a short stint there, Clifford moved-on to Cool Brewery in Etobicoke, Ontario. By the end of 2015, Clifford’s Pinball Wizard APA is available year-round and Clifford Porter is canned for local bars and restaurants in the area.

Brad’s outlook for 2016??...

“…plan for it (Clifford Porter) to be the first Clifford Beer to list in the LCBO in 2016 and I’m also looking at releasing a brand new beer for summer 2016. The sooner I can get my own location the sooner I can bring back more variety and brew all the previous styles I used to love brewing!”

Ideally he’s looking for a good-size location, with maybe some history and definitely some charm and character.

Clifford Brewing Company is one to watch. With years of experience, knowledge and attention to detail (such as his precise control of the fermentation stage and yeast quality), Clifford Brewing is destined to provide craft beer enthusiasts with a variety of excellent beer over the years. I/we appreciate Brad letting us get to know him a bit and allowing his story to be shared via the Brewvy website. A genuine guy who I hope to have beers with in the near future – and with so much success coming his way, I think he should be buying. (just kidding Brad!) Happy New Year & 1st birthday, Clifford Brewing Company!!

More fun facts about Brad Clifford:

Brad’s favorite hops: Galaxy, Citra, Columbus, Cascade, Fuggle

Brad’s favorite malts: German, English

Other credentials: Certified BJCP judge. He judges home-brew and professional competitions, when he can find the time.

Brad’s advice for new commercial brewers: “Start out as big as you can. Get big equipment for large batches, instead of constantly making small ones.”

Personal: Brad was drummer in a band called Pedestrian Status, with his brother. They played at venues around Toronto for a few years until his brother moved to Austin, Texas. Clearly Brad beats to his own drum these days.

 
 
Picture
Craft beer enthusiast spirits that is - following the announcement that beer will be sold in select Ontario grocery stores.

Convenience is really the only element that improves for you and I. We will be able to get our single bottles and 6 packs if & when we're shopping at these select grocery stores..

What you shouldn't anticipate improving is the selection of craft beer. With this new program, retailers are forced to buy from the LCBO as the sole supplier.  This means that the craft brands and varieties you see at the LCBO will also be the same ones offered at the grocery stores (essentially).

For the craft enthusiast, you want to try new beers as often as possible. Many craft brewers in Ontario today, are not even selling their products through the LCBO and those who are, only list a small portion of their total beer portfolio - in both cases, these decisions are based around the costs to list with the LCBO/The Beer Store.

We are witness to some semi-progressive, but largely token, moves in the Ontario liquor and beer market lately. Citing other examples, such as The Beer Store ownership being open to Ontario brewers and the misleading 20% small-brewer shelf-space façade.

If you're like me/us, we don't need to have beer for sale on every corner. What would increase my spending is easier access to a wider and ever-changing selection of craft beer - under a program that is easy and fair to all brewers who wish to participate, regardless of their size or status.

Until such conditions exist, Brewvy will continue to visit the breweries to "quench our thirst" for the vast amount of high-quality local beer that Ontario is producing today...while the LCBO continues the struggle to pull it's boots out of the muck.

~ Tim

 
 
The price of beer and cost of hydro both went up this month.
So not only will it cost a little bit more to buy beer but it costs more to keep it cold too. 
It frustrates us here at Brewvy considering the LCBO continues to post record profits, with a good portion on the back of craft beer sales.

All the more reason to get that deposit back on your bottles!

~ Uncle Beer
 

Victory!

10/26/2015

 
Congratulations to Forked River Brewing in London, ON for slaying the bureaucratic dragon and securing authorization from provincial and federal regulators to open their new retail store!!

This is a huge victory for not only Forked River but for all Ontario craft brewers!

Drop by their store at 4-45 Pacific Court this Saturday, Oct 31 between 11-4 to attend the grand opening and show your support. ...
See you there!

~ Uncle Beer

 
 
Schlappeseppel and Faust...two historic beers of Germany.

After my work meetings (for my day job), I checked-out some local beer, in the land that has been perfecting beer for literally centuries...a few more years than our local breweries, eh?

Thanks to my colleague Christoph, for using a few hours on his Saturday to show me around the town of Aschaffenburg. We visited the local 1600's castle, or schloss, called Schloss Johannisburg. The schloss also houses some interesting brewery equipment in what is now a museum dedicated to beer brewing in the region.

Across from the main gates of the castle, is the Brauerei Schlappeseppel, where beer of the same name was brewed and served for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, after some politics and disputes, the beer is no longer available at the very location that hoists it's name. The result was deemed a tragedy by the people of the area - who also took to Facebook to express their outrage. Another local beer has taken it's place, called Faust.  The Brauerei Schlappeseppel, still fills the building regularly. (it was full when I was there too). The Faust beer was good - very smooth and drinkable - but I'm told it was/is nothing compared to the Schlappeseppel brew.

Earlier in my trip I enjoyed some Schweinshaxe (pork leg) at the Brauhaus Barbarossa in Shollkrippen Germany. A traditional brew house that makes it's own beer in the back room and runs the lines right to the taps at the bar.  Frank the brewmeister, although rushed, accommodated a quick tour of his brewery. We had a nice pilsner that night and I also purchased some unique products - malt schnapps and beer whiskey. I haven't tried them yet, but can't wait! I'll let you know how they taste!

I also managed to pick-up another roller derby shirt, thanks to "Schlippche Killer" from the Bembel Town Rollergirls, for meeting me in downtown Frankfurt to sell me a shirt. One more for the collection!  Check out their webpage when you get time.

PICTURES COMING!!

~ Tim




 
 
On my bi-weekly beer-run (okay weekly), I often see someone thoughtfully scanning the LCBO beer shelves. Assuming they’re not having difficulty navigating the macro brews, I often ask these strangers if they need some help finding a certain type of craft beer. 

So far, 100% of the people that I’ve disturbed have been receptive to my assistance.  Could be the brewery baseball hats and t-shirts I wear, give some indication that I may know what I’m talking about. Hard to say.

People provide a variety of responses: “It’s a beer I tried a while back, had a brown paper label on it, I think.”…or…“ I want a nice hoppy beer, but not too hoppy.” Believe it or not, these responses are good enough to start the search.  The first case ended-up being a Beau’s product that the gentleman was looking-for.  The second example took us down a few more rabbit-holes, but I think I sent the person home with a good - or at least experimental – selection.  People I've encountered are usually looking for a specific brand that a friend has recommended, or one they tried once and loved, or that they came across on-line.

Figuratively speaking…

As the experience with micro-brew products grows, the joy of the exploration tends to overflow the glass (as it were) and I speculate others who’ve grown to appreciate the art may feel the same. Enthusiasts like us want to reach-out to those around because we’re happy others are joining the hunt!

The moral of the above is…thank you meandering shoppers!...for letting myself and Uncle Beer interrupt your day for a few minutes. We’re not experts, but we love to share our beer experiences with you. We can’t help ourselves!...and soon you may understand why.

Welcome to Brewvy.