7 posts tagged with “beer”

  • From Niagara winery to Shawn & Ed Brewing Co.

    Ed Madronich of Shawn & Ed Brewing Co. in Dundas.

    My column, Eating Niagara, runs every second Wednesday in the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune.

    The saying goes that it takes a lot of beer to make great wine.

    But one Niagara vintner is proving the opposite true.

    Ed Madronich, proprietor of Flat Rock Cellars in Jordan, is showing that it also takes top-notch tipple to turn out noteworthy suds.

    He’s doing it with The Shawn & Ed Brewing Co., the 10-month-old brewery that he opened in an old Dundas curling and skating rink with university buddy Shawn Till.

    The venture fulfils a nearly lifelong dream the two discovered they shared while shooting hoops for McMaster University’s basketball team some 25 years ago. And even though the beverage lineup at the brewery, known to locals as “the Shed,” is more hoppy than tannic, Niagara’s influence on this heady pursuit in a Hamilton suburb is undeniable.

    “I believe there’s lots of synergies between the wine business and the beer business,” Madronich said. “I’m leveraging both for this to be successful.”

    Madronich flouts all those old wives’ tales about never mixing beer and wine with a lager-heavy roster that shows the two to be a perfect pairing.

    Take the flagship Shawn & Ed brew, BarrelShed No. 1. This ruby-red beauty has sweet caramel notes and gets its body from aging in Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir barrels. Since batch No. 1, some of each BarrelShed brew has been set aside to use in the following ferment. The result is glorious — rich and layered.

    “I believe over time, it adds complexity,” Madronich said about the BarrelShed’s secret ingredient. “It has the complexity of wine. BarrelShed is our globally unique beer. There’s nothing like it in the world.”

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    Category Beyond Niagara, Food Finds

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  • Peach Tree
  • Niagara Craft Brewery Tours shows off local suds

    Jakob Chapman and Steve Kostecki own and operate Niagara Craft Brewery Tours.

    My column, Eating Niagara, runs every second Wednesday in the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune.

    Steve Kostecki and Jakob Chapman want to show off Niagara in a heady way.

    They plan to do it with a business idea that’s been fermenting but became reality this past spring when they launched Niagara Craft Brewery Tours, the region’s first — and currently, only — tour operator dedicated solely to showcasing wine country’s suds.

    With Niagara home to nearly a dozen craft breweries and counting, Kostecki and Chapman decided to hop to it and offer visitors to our fair wine region something more than organized tipple tours to get a taste of our terroir.

    “Niagara is a hotbed for beer right now,” Kostecki said. “We have, in my opinion, some of the best craft beer in the province.”

    Niagara started paving an ale trail in 2010 when Niagara College opened its teaching brewery and accompanying store that sold student-made brews.

    Granted, there were already brewpubs in the region, including the Merchant Ale House in St. Catharines and Taps Brewing in Niagara Falls. But the launch of the college program inspired others to tap into the possibility of a beer scene in a region developing a world-class reputation for wine.

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    Category Backyard Tourism, Food Finds

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  • Peach Tree
  • Brewing new life into an old pear

    There’s something about persistence.

    It pays off, apparently. Although, one late November Saturday, as I hurtled down the QEW in my husband’s Corolla, bound for Toronto, it felt more like payback.

    It was 8:30 a.m. and for two sleep-deprived parents, it was painfully early to be up and vaguely resembling functioning people. But I had an invitation to brew beer at Great Lakes Brewery and precious cargo in tow — my wide-eyed daughter, Olivia, and 15 pounds of Kieffer and Bartlett pears — for the occasion.

    Rewind a week and I was scouring parks and boulevards in north St. Catharines for the last of the year’s Kieffer pears. A relic from the canning industry once omnipresent on the peninsula, the Kieffer is now an annoyance every fall when loaded branches drop bushels of fruit to rot on lawns. Continue reading

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    Category Food Finds, On the Farm

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  • Peach Tree
  • Radler slushies and nostalgia

    MADD Virgin Craft Brewed Lager

    I was 16 the first time I got drunk.

    No, I didn’t raid my parents’ liquor cabinet and go crazy with the Sambuca, nor did I sneak a six-pack to the park to drink under the slide with friends.

    This intoxicating experience came compliments of my dad. I call it part of the curriculum of Life Lessons with Ludwig. I’m sure there were other teachable moments brought to me by my dad prior to this one, but they would have happened before my folks split and so, those poignant parenting episodes have just blended into one another in the era PD (pre-divorce). It wasn’t until after my parents’ marriage breakup, my dad landing back in Germany for a time, that Life Lessons with Ludwig became more defined, each with a beginning, middle and end. Getting drunk is the first one I remember vividly, despite my beer goggle vision at the time.

    It was the summer of 1993 and my sister and I were visiting my father in the land of beer and schnitzel. Like all good German burgs, his hometown of Zweibrücken had a summer festival whose central activity was — wait for it — drinking beer. There’s a good chance they have similar festivities in spring, fall and winter, too, but this particular celebration was called the Staadtfest, the Town Fest, so all drinking was purposeful, done in honour of Zweibrücken. Continue reading

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    Category Food Finds, Recipes

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