7 posts tagged with “craft 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


  • 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


  • Peach Tree
  • Five hours, five breweries and one toddler: A taste of Buffalo craft beer

    I’ve never been shy about professing my love for beer in a wine region.

    I’ve made the case for an official Ale Trail in Niagara to run alongside our well-travelled wine route. While I continue waiting for beer stein road signs to share a post with those blue and white government-issued bunches of grapes, I’m going to make the case for something else: Let’s annex Buffalo.

    You heard me.

    No, this isn’t asking for a do-over of the War of 1812. It’s simply loving what I see whenever I’m across the river and wanting it for our own. (Enough Niagarans buy gas and groceries there, so really, it may as well be ours).

    I’ve never been shy about naming Buffalo my big city of choice between it and that other metropolis bookending us, but these days it’s more than stunning architecture, good people and being home to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Football League. The city is going through an incredible renaissance and those revitalization efforts have turned the Queen City turn into a bastion of craft beer among other great things.  Continue reading

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    Category Beyond Niagara, Food Finds, Reviews


  • Peach Tree
  • St. Catharines couple hopes to tap into local harvests with fruitbrewery

    Chris Peters and Crystal Morin hope to extend Niagara's ale trail with a fruit beer brewery.

    A St. Catharines couple has dreams of putting up their shingle on Niagara’s ale trail.

    Homebrewers Chris Peters and Crystal Morin have ambitions of beckoning the thirsty with fruit beers, made by fermenting some of the bounty that grows in Niagara. Think an apricot and orange IPA, a raspberry Hefeweizen, or a maple vanilla porter, sourcing locally grown ingredients when possible and bottling them under their aptly named Hop’n Orchard label.

    It’s a heady idea but after testing out some of their concoctions on friends, using a five-gallon pilot brewing system in their garage in Western Hill, the beer afficionados say their hobby has the makings of a solid business plan.

    “We’ve always knocked around the idea playfully,” Peters said. “But when our friends really liked it, we thought maybe we were on to something.”
    Problem is, how do they take the idea from their garage to growlers they can sell legally?
    Continue reading

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    Category Food Finds