Friday, 23 September 2011

Summer has started to Fall

Well it's been a few weeks since my last post here on the blogospere, it's crazy how fast the time goes! The Summer is over, the cold weather of Fall has moved in and it seems like just yesterday that we were enjoying the sun at the Muskoka Beer Festival but time marches on as they say.

It's been a busy time not only for myself but also for Sawdust City Brewing Co.  Personally I've started teaching a course up at the Niagara Teaching College and began a stint as the brewery tech in their brewery, helping out wherever I can.  Like I said, it's been busy, but It's great to see the enthusiasm of the students, so eager to learn and get out there to make some beer. It's an exciting time in the craft beer world, with so many wonderful products already getting made and a new batch of students ready to take the ball and run with it, the future looks bright!

The future of Sawdust City is looking quite bright too.  We've been meeting with the architect (FormWorks in Barrie) and the brewery equipment suppliers (Specific Mechanical in BC) and the plans for the building and the brew house look fantastic!  Hopefully I will be able to share the plans with you all soon, so you can see what's we have in store for the Muskoka Wharf, but until then you'll just have to take my word for it.  When the building is finally up and our brand new brew house is up and running, I think everyone will be impressed.
We've also been brewing some more of our test batches at the College while we wait for construction to begin and just this week Criveller (another equipment supplier) picked up an old fermenter for us which they will be refurbishing so that we can use it as our own fermenting space at the College.  This means we may have some more Sawdust City beer available at upcoming events and maybe even at a certain local Bracebridge bar in the very near future, so keep you eyes peeled for that.  We're really excited about sharing our beer with you so when we do have some kegs heading up North to Gravenhurst and Bracebridge we will be sure to let everyone know!

As for right now, all we can offer you is our gratitude and sincerest thanks for coming out to sample our beer at the few events we've been at, for reading our blog, for creeping on our Facebook page and for sharing your anticipation with us.  And for those of you with a Facebook account, please head over to the page and check out a the videos we've posted.  We've made a few videos documenting our first test batch and our first public exhibition at the CNE.  There done really well and we hope you like them.

Like I said, we will have some more information soon about the availability of our beer so check back soon and hopefully you will be able to join Sawdust City for a pint of our beer.

Anyhoo, that's about it for now.  So until next time, keep the beer in your mug and the sawdust beneath your feet.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Breaking Up With the Ex

Well the CNE is finally over for another year and I'm not going to lie to you, my feet aren't sad to see it go.  Standing on your feet slingin' pints for 8-12 hours a day for 18 days really gets the dogs a barkin'.  That being said, my heart is sad to see it go.  The 2011 CNE was the first foray into the public forum for the Sawdust City Brewing Co and it will always hold a special place in our hearts.  I know I said in the last post that the Muskoka Beer Fest was our first festival, but the CNE was our first public "exhibition".  And from all accounts I think it was a most successful one. We got to meet and talk to a lot of great people about what we are going to be doing up at Sawdust City and so many of them were not only enthusiastic but also supportive of our plans. It was very uplifting and reassuring to see such a response from people who were basically complete strangers.  But outside of just getting to talk to consumers and good beer fans about our products, I think it was a wonderful event for craft beer in general.  By the end of the 18 days, there were 30 different beers available from 13 different breweries to try and with each passing day, more and more people came by the Wine and Beer Garden to do some sampling.   With many of them coming back more than once!
You have to remember that this was the first time anything like this has been attempted at the CNE and no one was sure how it was going to go over.  But Jed (from The Griffin Gastropub) and Bryn did a fantastic job of putting together the event and running a pretty tight ship over those 18 long and sometimes endless days.  Sawdust City owes them a big thank you for letting us come in and showcase the Great Weiss North at their event.   Along with Jed and Bryn we also want to thank Jaime (The Sassy Lamb), Marta, Rachel, Amelia
and Katlyn (sorry if I spelled your names wrong) for all their help pulling pints and collecting empties during the CNE.  Without you guys we wouldn't have gotten our beer into the waiting hands of the public.
And to all the other craft brewers that showed up on their "feature" days to help introduce people to their great beers (Beau's, Spearhead, Great Lakes, Nickle Brook, Creemore, Lake of Bays, Mill St and Wellington) it was great getting to know you and work with you.  Hopefully we'll get to work together again in the future.
Lastly I would like to thank the Niagara College and their Teaching Brewery for helping brew the Great Weiss North.  It was a wonderful experiment with wonderful results.
Anyhoo, that's about it for now.  Until next time, keep the beer in your mugs and the sawdust beneath your feet.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Druids Aren't the Only Ones Who can Celebrate the Sun

Well it's September 1st, another Summer is coming to an end, let the mourning begin!  The annual mad scramble has begun as we grasp at the last few remaining days of the Summer of 2011, trying desperately to squeeze every last ounce of sun out of the ever shortening days before the snow and wind blow in.  Each moment of warm weather a blissful escape from the creeping hand of Ol' Man Winter lurking just beyond the corner of the next few calendar pages.  But before the skies darken and the sun takes a vacation there are still a few festivals to be celebrated and none more exciting than the 3rd Annual Muskoka Beer Fest.  A day to celebrate not only the best of Summer but also the best of Canadian Craft Beer and Sawdust City was there too help out the best it could. 

We still didn't have any signage made up so I had to stop at the local Staples on the way to the Fest and throw together some last minute DIY signage.  Not bad...not great, but not bad.  Baby steps people, we're still growing, you gotta cut us a little slack!

Along with no signage we also don't have our manufacturers license from the AGCO yet, so we just brought our bottles and labels for show.  We poured the Great Weiss North, which I think I've explained enough and Curt's iPAM an IPA he brewed with his Mom, Pam's, home made honey, which Curt had brewed up at the Niagara College earlier this Summer.  Check out a close up of our booth.  These were unfortunately the only two pictures I managed to take the entire day. Minute one and minute two. The remaining 478 minutes remain undocumented.

A lot of people asked questions about the bottles and were excited to try our brands, but like I said, we don't have our manufacturers license yet.  But have no fear people the process has begun!  As of Friday, August 26th, the papers have been filed.  I personally went down to the AGCO office in Toronto and handed in our application forms.  Now it's in the hands of the government.  So in the requisite 8-1200 weeks I should hear something back.  The rusty wheels of bureaucracy have started turning people!

But enough of that.  Let's focus on the good stuff.  This years Muskoka Beer Fest was the most successful to date with around 1800 people coming to sample some fine crafted beers.  And fine they were, it was just great to be invited to a festival (our first one too!) with so many great breweries .  Along with that, each year the public seems to get a little more educated and a little more daring when it comes to craft beer and it's really exciting to see people coming out and asking more and more knowledgeable questions.  I'm glad to see so many people learning about and getting out there to try the beers made by craft brewers. It's very uplifting, especially as a prospective new brewer coming into the market.

The guys from the Griffin also added a little extra to this years Festival as well, throwing an after party at the Griffin once the Festival wrapped up around 8p.  Because the one thing you need after a day of drinking is more beer.  Really it's for the best. 

All and all it was a fantastic day and as far as first beer festivals go, it was really successful for us at the Sawdust City Brewing Co.  A big thanks to Jed and Curt at the Griffin and also to all those that came out to support craft beer.

Anyhoo, that's about it for now.  So until next time, keep the beer in your mugs and the sawdust beneath your feet.