5 posts tagged with “Hamilton”

  • 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
  • Sourdough svengali: John Graham of Park Road Bread

    John Graham of Park Road Bread.

    I originally wrote this story for The Hamilton Spectator.

    I have a loaf of bread baking in my oven as I type.

    One thing is certain: it won’t be as good anything John Graham bakes.

    I call the proprietor of Grimsby’s Park Road Bread a sourdough Svengali. The man makes fermented flour work for him in an almost magical way. A way that eludes me.

    Maybe it’s all the precious language around getting the all-important starter, which is simply flour and water, to … start. Most people call the festering concoction that leavens bread a mother, which is enough to scare the bejeezus out of me.

    I don’t want to do wrong by anything named Mother, and yet, I’ve inadvertently killed many mothers by not feeding them enough flour, feeding them the wrong kind, or worse, forgetting to feed them anything at all.

    “Think of it like an army,” Graham told me when we met at his home earlier this summer.

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    Category Food Finds


  • Peach Tree
  • Taking a day trip to Hamilton

    A scene from Kim Adams' Bruegel-Bosch Bus at the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

    If I were the one calling the forecast, there’d be lots of fog in it.

    That’s how I’ve felt all week — foggy — after using up all creative credit on Sunday night when I mapped out my to-do list and schedule for conquering it.

    Fog started rolling in on Monday morning after dropping my car at the mechanic’s and learning a simple repair job was anything but. I drive a 16-year-old Toyota Echo with 350,000 clicks on it. My boiler suit-wearing friend warning me of all that ails the Echo needs to be approached with a measured response. I have to weigh how many new car payments his big bill would cover.

    Then there was the time eaten up as I moved from coffee shop to coffee shop to work and not seem like too much of a loiterer while I waited for my sickly wheels to be brought back to health. Productivity wasn’t where I’d hoped it would be by day’s end, what with all the self-conscious moving from one seat to another. The to-do list needed some revising and the week had only begun.

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    Category Beyond Niagara, Food Finds


  • Peach Tree
  • The February Listicle: Locavores do it better

    It’s no secret I’m a locavore. Encouraging people to eat local when possible was the raison d’être for this blog and it was a big reason I chose to cover agriculture as a reporter.

    It’s going to sound all motherhood and apple pie, but I do it because eating locally grown and produced food is socially sustainable. When your neighbour succeeds, we all succeed, so why not buy the squash from the guy growing them down the road instead of scooping up the Mexican variety from the grocery store?

    A little story about that squash from down the road, if I may: It’s grown by a young farming family who dream of earning an income from working the land. For now, one of the adults has to work off the farm to support their vegetable growing habit, but the goal is to earn a living solely from farming one day.

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    Category Beyond Niagara, Food Finds