Tuesday, 18 December 2012

If We're Goin' Down, We're Goin' Down Swiggin'

Well it's been a while since I last posted on these here internets, but you gots to believe me when I tells y'all that we've been busy, real busy.  We've been movin', we've been shakin' and we've been pretty much just tryin' to keep our pretty little heads above water.  Peoples been drinkin' like sumpin' big 'bout to go down.  In fact I can barely hear myself think over the sound of that big ol' rumour mill churnin'.  Seems there been some talk as to whether or not the end of the world is coming...we're pretty sure it isn't.  Buuut, pretty sure ain't cuttin' it...so we're hedging our bets and throwin' a little End of the World Eve Party just in case!
On Thursday, December 20th at the Mighty Griffin Gastropub in lovely Bracebridge, Ontario, Sawdust City will be taking over all 10 taps that the Griffin has to offer.  Cause like the title says, if we're goin' down, we're goin' down swiggin'!

Now 10 taps is a lot and even at Sawdust City, we'd have a hard time comin' up with 10 new beers right away, so some these here taps will be filled with some ol' friends you might already know. Gateway Kolsch, Ol' Woody Alt, Lone Pine IPA and Skinny Dippin' Stout are all comin' along for the ride.  Now you prolly already sampled them before, but they're part of the family and gosh darn it, if the world gonna be endin' I want my family there with me to watch as those four ol'horseman come a ramblin' in.  And besides, I kinda like'em!

So along with our good ol'friends we gonna have a few new members of the Sawdust City family comin' along for the ride, 6 in fact.  And to get your better acquainted with these here new members of our little family, I'll spin y'all a little yarn about each of'em.

Skinny Dippin' With Friends - Now this here beer is the half brother of our beloved Skinny Dippin' Stout.  And seein' as they be comin' from the same stock, you'll be sure to find the same lovely roasted character and loads of chocolate and coffee flavours runnin' around in there.  But as I said they be brothers, not twins! Skinny Dippin' with Friends has a few extra ingredients added in to give it a big ol'kick of flavour.  We done added a heapin' pile of cinnamon and vanilla to this hear brew to make sumpin' new and excitin'.    
So like the sayin' goes, "Skinny Dippin' is good.  Skinny Dippin' with friends is gooderer!"

Highway 118 Porter - Now Highway 118 is a rugged road that cuts through the rough and tumble wilderness that is our Northern Ontario.  Weaving and winding it's way through lakes and trees, a day spent on this highway can leave a man darn near in awe of the majesty of Mother Nature.  And this here beer was born on just such a day.  Brewed this fall at the Hastings Beer Festival in Sterling, ON this Porter came to life after I spent the morning navigating this lovely road.  Stoppin' every few minutes just to take a slow look around.  And like this road, this beer is rough and raw.  It's black as coal and loaded with roasted flavour, but with a smooth, silky body that will make you slow down, stop and contemplate yer next sip.

Skinny Dippin' at XXX-Mas - Now we all know Christmas done be a Holy time o'the year, but we here at Sawdust City, don't think that means you can't still have a little fun with it!  So we made this here ale to let y'all know that it's cool to relax a little, even 'round this here Holy time.  Now Skinny Dippin' at XXX-Mas ain't no stout, in fact it's a porter, but it's still a distant cousin of our Skinny Dippin' family.  You'll still find their trademark chocolate and coffee flavours but this time you'll find a new twist, mint!  Cool and refreshing the mint compliments the heavy chocolate flavours of beer, while the taste reminds us of those good ol'days when Ma and Pa used to bust out that good chocolate around the Holidays...you know the one's I mean? The After Eights, the one's they used to buy down at the pharmacy on the corner. Dang, those were good.  

The Two Pump Chump - Now before y'all get yer backs up and say you don't know what in tarnation we be talkin' about...I know y'all been there before.  Sometimes things go a little quicker than you might first planned.  Who knows why really?  Could be the lights.  Could be the weather.  Could be the angle of the floor.  Like I said, who knows? It's all speculation really and it don't do no one no good to go off and start a speculatin'. But it's time we all stop pretendin' he don't exist and just embrace him.  So we brewed this hear Belgian Style Pumpkin Ale to celebrate the that simple bastard The Two Pump Chump.  A Belgian Dubbel ale with a good dose of pumpkin and spices, we guarantee this one's got flavour to last!

The Pale Mexican Rides Again - Now this hear ale was a collaboration we did with Chris Burek of the website Mom'n'Hops. Coverin' all the goins on in the Ontario craft beer circuit, Mom'n'Hops is new to the scene but they be tryin' to get out there and let y'all know that they mean business.  Now me and Chris we sat down, drank a few pints and came up with a beer that would use the wildly aromatic Mexican Cream Guava.  The Pale Mexican is an American style Pale Ale hopped with Motueka, Sorachi Ace, Summit and Galaxy hops. Floral and citrus, it should be a drinker.  But there ain't much of it, so get it before it's gone.

Perched upon his majestic white steed, the Pale Mexican stands atop the dusty mountain. The wind whips the cold desert dust across his face.  His poncho ruffles quietly as a hand slowly emerges.  He pulls his hat down to cover his eyes.  Then like a flash of lightning, he snaps his reigns across the back of his mighty beast and the massive steed rears back onto it's hind legs.  It swings it's front hooves wildly in the air then brings them crashing back down to earth.  And with that The Pale Mexican runs off into the distance, leaving as quickly as he rode in. A dusty cloud of desert sand is all that remains of our hero. Via con Dios, Pale Mexican. Via con Dios!  

Ingo Der Christmas Goat in - "aBOCKalypse 2012: The Wreck-n-ing!" - Well this here maybe our most bumbling, convoluted name yet. I'm scratchin' my head just tryin' to wrap my noggin' around it! But it does make sense, trust me.  Ya see this here beer is our take on a German style weizenbock.  And as tradition goes,  ya tend to see randy, drunken goats on the labels of bock beers.  Hence our hero, Ingo!  And seein' as it's Christmas time, well I'm guessin' you can figure that part out.  As for the aBOCKalypse 2012...I think you can put that together too, if not, see the poster.  And the "Wreck-n-ing"...well that's just a simple play on words.  Take all those little parts and smash'em up and you got yer self a pretty good movie title...and a darn good beer too! But seriously folks, wouldn't you want to see a moving about a Chirstmas Goat saving the world? Ah, ah...don't tell me, I think I already know the answer to that question.

Well there you have it folks the 10 beers that will be rounding out our tap takeover at the Griffin on Thursday night. So if yer sittin' at home on the 20th wonderin' what to do as yer final hours on this here planet slowly tick away, or if yer at home and it's Thursday and ain't nothin' on the boob toob cause it's all ol'timey Rankin & Bass animated Christmas specials....come on down to the Griffin and try some Sawdust City!

Anyhoo, that just about does it for now.  Until next time, keep the beer in your mugs and the sawdust beneath your feet.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

A Year and A Day

So it`s the day after Halloween and I`m sure many of you got all dressed up for festivities. Well that`s awesome, good for you for getting into the spirit!  And there were probably a few of you even dressed up as Witches, be it in the traditional "Black-Pointy-Hatted-Witch-on-a-Broomstick" or the more modern and thereby more slutty "Short-Skirted-Low-Topped-Fishnet-Stocking-Sexy-Witch". Either way you went,  you probably didn't go through the traditional "Year And A Day" training and studying that all hopeful young Witches must go through in the Wiccan faith before their initiation in the "Craft".  In fact, if I were a bettin' man, I'd put all my money on that none of y'all Sexy Witches put in the effort?

Well don't take it too hard all you Sexy Witches, a year and a day is a long time and y'all probably got better things to worry about, like what slutty costume you gonna wear to the this years company Christmas Party.  But back to the point and this over drawn, confusing and extremely tenuous segue...we here at the Sawdust City brewing company know just how long a year and a day can be, cause it's been exactly that long since we got our Manufacturer's License from the AGCO.

That's right folks, yesterday was the 1 year Anniversary of us being able to legally manufacture beer in the province of Ontario! So yesterday over at the Black Oak brewery in Etobicoke, we marked the date by brewing up a big ol'batch of our Lone Pine IPA. So look out for more Lone Pine IPA at your favourite beer bar real soon.

But back to the segue...the Wiccans may feel a year and a day is long enough to begin initiation into their craft, but after a year and a half in craft brewing, we feel that we've just started learning. (See how I finally tied that all together there, Halloween, Witches, Wiccans and Anniversaries...in hind sight, the pay off may not have been worth it).  It's been a great first year and we feel blessed for all the support we've received so far, but we also look to the future and realize how much we still have to learn and how much more we still have to grow.  Luckily we work in beer, so we know that as hard as it may be, we'll always have enough beer to get us through!

And speaking of enough beer, we've got two new fermenters! We're just as happy as all heck to hav'em, here take a look at a few pics.  Here is a shot of them getting dropped off

And then here they are, all erect and proud

Aren't they just so handsome?

Well, as good as they look they can be a handful and it takes a little while to get them ready.  We had to plumb them, wire them, passivate them (acid wash) and then make sure that everything is in working order before we can put our beer into them.  So we just have to be patient for a few more days and then...more beer!

In the meantime, we've been busy putting out some beer for some really fun festivals.  The 8th annual Cask Days festival was last weekend and Sawdust City was there with two casks (one of our own and a collaboration with House Ales) pouring along side a ton of other fantastic breweries from across Canada.  It was a fun day and we were just glad to be a part of it.  They may have heard it all ready, but the Morana's did a stellar job with this years festival and it boggles the mind to think about what they are going to do next year to top this years event.  It seems each year it just gets better and better...and the beer too.  Wow, the quality of beer at this years Cask Days was crazy.  So many great casks. Here's a shot of everyone enjoying said casks -

How great is it to see so many people drinking craft beer?  But this is a Sawdust City blog, so here are a few shots of our casks, first up, "I Went on a Date With Brett and Showed Him My Nuts".  This was a Belgian Brown Ale aged on brettanomyces with dates and chestnuts.  Looks like they couldn't get the whole name on the cask.

And here's our collaboration with Eric at House Ales, G8 Summit.  We used 8 different grains (barley, wheat, rye, oats, millet, red quinoa, rice, spelt) and hopped it with only Summit hops.

There were over 100 casks and many of them were top notch...believe me, I uh, tried a lot of them.  Let's just say that the ride home was a little...blurry.  But again, congrats to the Morana's and the rest of the team for a great event and congrats to the brewers for bringing their A games.  Fun times.

Outside of Cask Days, we also did a one-off for the Black & Orange Halloween Party at BarHop in Toronto.  I brewed this one with my good pal Noddy, we've collaborated before most recently this summer on, "Joyce De Witte" and we kept with the pop culture theme by brewing a Smoked Pumpkin Chai Roggenbier called "The XTC Version was Better".  This of course was in reference to the song "Peter Pumpkinhead" which was later covered by Canada's own, The Crash Test Dummies.  After a short listening session, we both felt that the XTC version was better...hence the name!  The beer itself was a smokey and spicy with a nice light body.  It worked well.

So what's up next for Sawdust City? Well, like I've said a few times now, we've got our two fermenters now so hopefully that will keep us busy for the next few moths filling them up with freshly made beer.  The first two beers going into the tanks are going to be Skinny Dipping Stout and Gateway Kolsch.  We haven't brewed the stout for quite sometime so I'm pretty stoked to brew it again.  After that it looks like Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus, our Uranal Stout is going to be coming back!  For those of you that forgot about it, here's the label -

If everything goes according to Hoyle, we'll get this brewed by the end of November for a release in early 2013.

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

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Niambic the All Ontario Lambic

So it's been another crazy few weeks here at Sawdust City, first we were off to The Kiwi in Cambridge for their Casktravaganza where we were pouring along side our friends at Lake Of Bays and Nickelbrook breweries. We brought along a cask of our Lone Pine IPA that apparently had a little too much "jazz" in it, cause when we tapped it, yours truly got pretty much douched in sweet, delicious hop juice.  It was a little messy, but worse things have happened.

Then it was off to The Grand Theater in London for the 1st annual Arts & Draughts.  For the first time out, this was a great event.  Capped at 200 people the sold out event wasn't over crowded but had enough keen beer drinkers to keep all us breweries pouring and talking all night long.  If this was any indication, this will be a fantastic event in the years to come.  Thanks to all that set it up and we definitely look forward to next year.

The very next day it was back to Toronto to not only keg the latest batch of Ol'Woody Alt (which is hitting bars, pubs and restaurants as we speak), but to also take part in what we can only assume is Ontario's first commercial attempt at a traditional Lambic style beer.

Employing a turbid mash, which can take well over 12 hours, spontaneously fermented with wild airborne yeast and aged in oak barrels for 3 years, it's easy to understand why it may not have been attempted yet in Ontario. But a few weeks ago while, I was at The Amsterdam brewery tasting some beers with Iain Mcoustra, (Amsterdam's head brewer) I mentioned in passing that I was thinking of attempting a lambic.  Iain quickly piped up and said that he had been working on an idea for a lambic with Mike Lackey from Great Lakes Brewery for quite sometime, he then asked if I'd be interested in getting in on it with them.  Obviously I said yes.

Iain and Mike's plan was to brew the beer here in Toronto, put it into kegs and then ship it out to a winery in the Niagara Region.  The beer would then be pushed into open fermenters, placed in a vineyard and then allowed to pick up which ever wild yeast may be floating about.  It was an awesome plan, one in which I was glad to take part.

Over the next few weeks, working with Iain, Mike and Jason from The Indie Alehouse, the plan was refined and cobbled together until we had it all worked out.

So this past Thursday night we all convened at The Indie Alehouse for the first part of our three part plan, the turbid mash.  Now, honestly we didn't do the full "traditional" turbid mash.  That process requires many stages and temperature rests and mash boils, so we elected to go for a shortened 11 hour version of the turbid mash.  Seeing as the whole plan was going to be carried out over 3 days, we figured it best to split the work load into shifts.  Jeff Broeders, the brewer at Indie Alehouse and I drew the short straws and were given the task of completing the long, over night brew.  But before we could do that, we had to drink some beer for inspiration, there may have been some Lambics consumed that evening.

 We began by milling this Ontario grown Red Fife Wheat, then it was straight into the mash.

It's great brewing a new style of beer because you learn something new each time you do.  This lambic was no exception, it was like unlearning everything you'd been taught in brewing school and working in a North American brewhouse.  Take this mash for example, the grist to water ratio is completely out of wack compared to what we would normally do.  It almost came spilling out of the mash tun.

This was actually the second part of the mash in.  There were two main steps, the first required only a portion of the water and grist to go in.  We mashed in at 60C then raised to 100C and rested for a half hour.  Then we added the remaining water and grain and reduced temperature to 70C and held for two and a half hours. Yes, two and a half hours.

After the mash was completed, we transfered to the lauter tun and began the run off back to the kettle.

With such a high portion of wheat, we thought the run off might be a bit of a strain, but in fact it went pretty smoothly. We then boiled the wort for four and a half hours.  I don't have a picture of that cause no one needs to see a kettle boil for four and a half  hours.  Trust me.  But what you do need to see are the 3 year old super cheesy hops Mike Lackey brought.  If only you could smell these bad boys.  If only.

After the boil, that was it for Jeff and I, our shift was mercifully over...we may have been a little tired.  Iain and Lackey took over from there, putting the boiled wort into kegs and transporting it out to The Good Earth Vineyards.  They hand bombed all those kegs by themselves.  The troopers.  Now, I wasn't present for this next portion of the project, so I may get a few things wrong.  My apologies boys.

Once out at The Good Earth our lads were surrounded by grape vines, apple and peach trees.  The beer was transferred into the open fermenters and allowed to sit, with open warm, inviting arms.

Iain and Lackey now had the task of watching over the fermenters to ensure nothing unsavoury flew, dove or crawled into them.  The weather was also a bit of an issue and tents had to be erected to protect the wort from the unruly Fall rain and wind.

Jeff did manage to make it out to the vineyard at one point, but it was still a long night for the two of them.  Eventually though, as it tends to do, day broke and revealed the lovely landscape that is the Niagara region.

Finally after almost three full days, the hopefully inoculated turbid wort was transferred into its home for the next three years.

We'll be doing this again next year and then the year after that at which point we'll be working on the blending.

Like I said, this may be the first attempt at a true lambic in Ontario (we never did check and honestly it's not why we did it) and we aren't sure how exactly this is going to turn out, but it's like they say..."it's the journey not the destination".  Just being a part of this experiment was a fantastic experience.  Working with Iain, Mike, Jeff and Jason was not only fun, but also a great learning experience. The best part of collaborations are what you learn from them.  Each of those guys are great brewers but at the same time they are all very different brewers.  Getting to see how each of them works and how each of them looks at a problem is for me, an invaluable learning tool.  Plus we got to drink a lot of really cool beers while we did it.

Hopefully in three years we'll have about 25hl of a really great tasting lambic.  And honestly with these guys behind the project I don't doubt it at all.  But even if we don't, I think we've proved that Ontario is ready for this type of beer.  It's about time that we as brewers start to push the envelope and begin trying new (and by new I mean a very, very old style of brewing) excited brews right here in Ontario.  Ontario deserves it.

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

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Good, The Bad & The Hairy

Howdy Y'all, firstly this blog post has nothing to do with Clint Eastwood.  As much as I'd like it to, it just doesn't, so if you have any problems with the title, send a letter.

Also, there really isn't any "The Bad", this is mostly a Good & Hairy post, but that just didn't roll off the tongue quite as well.  So again, any problems, I direct you to write that letter again.

And for those of you who do want to write a letter, please do, cause it's always nice to receive a letter in the mail isn't it?

Well that's enough of that, on with the post!

So Toronto Beer Week came and went last week and what a week it was! My liver has served me papers and officially brought suit against the rest of my person...but outside of that I thought it was a purdy darn good week.  We officially Rocked The Danforth with our good friends at Great Lakes and Bartowel. Some of us rocked it a little too irresponsibly but that happens.  That happens.  We met some good folks and tasted some great beers at the C'est What? "New Brewers" night.  Chris Schryer broadcasted my ugly mug all over the interwebs with the Brewer's Round Table.  But seriously thanks Chris, Iain and Mike it was a blast and hopefully it will happen again.  And "Just The Mention of Berlin Makes Me Sexy" tasted just dandy at barVolo's, We Live For the Funk night.  But what I really wanted to get into was The Mighty Mustache Competition at The Only Cafe.  I gotta say, it was the highlight of my week.  Fabian and the crew at The Only put on a great show and as far as I'm concerned it went off brilliantly!

I don't know exactly what I was expecting. We aren't much for planning, a lot of flying by the seat of our pants. But let me just say this, what did end up happening that night, it was exactly what I was expecting!

Like always, The Only had the bar prepped (they are clearly much much better at planning than me). We got there and the taps were ready to go.

All labeled and looking oh so handsome

The Princess was there to do some judging.

All dressed up and looking oh so handsome.

And he brought along his lovely wife Jen and our good friend and great sport Mike D from The Atomic Geeks to help him with the judging.

Now let me lay it out for you, we had a number of contestants, with varying degrees of facial hair and mustache styles, so we needed to level the playing field and make this a fair competition.  So before we could start the show we had to learn them on the rules.  The contestants had to not only parade their fantastic 'staches in front of the judges and the audience but they also had to wow the crowd with the stories behind said 'stache.  And I gotta say,everyone of them, to a man, did an absolutely bang up job.  We threw this curve ball at them last minute and they all pulled it off.  Kudos to all of you and thank you so much for taking part in the 1st Annual Mighty Mustache Competition.

So here they are, with out further adieu..The Contestants!

Zee Devil!

Zee Lover!

Zee Lumberjack!

Zee Pugilist!

Zee Farmer!

 And er..Zee Hedgeman!

I apologize for all of those names, I made them up...well except for one.  They are all terrible, terrible names.

Like I said, they not only had to have some serious 'stache, but they also had to sell the story.  So after each one of them took the mic and spun some great yarns, the judges tabulated the scores.

Unfortunately none of our judges were very strong with the maths, so Mike D had to tabulate the exceedingly high scores on his electronic phonemachine.

And after his electronic phonemachine spit out the resulting tallies, the winner of The Golden Cant Hook and the bragging rights for The Most Ballin' 'Stache, This Side of the Don, was....The Hedgeman!

 Seriously, that is one badass mustache!

But again thank you to all the contestants for coming out, cause with out you, there would be no ballin' 'staches.  It's my honour to share the stage with all of you.

And thanks to Chris Grimley for taking on the role of MC for the evening, you did a bang up job and we really do appreciate it. And of course, thanks to the mighty, The Only Cafe for putting it all together. What more can I say, you gotta love The Only.

So what's up next for Sawdust City? Well we have a few events in the West end of the province over the next few weeks.  On Thursday, September 27th we will be in picturesque Cambridge, ON at The Kiwi for Caskstravaganza.  Along with our good pals at Nicklebrook and Lake Of Bays, we'll be showing off our wares to great drinkers of the tri-city area.  Peep the poster.

And then on Wednesday, October 3rd we are heading even more Westerer, to London, ON and The Grand Theater for the Arts & Draughts Gala Event. There is going to be some great local craft beer pouring that night and all the money goes to help the theater and the local art scene so come on out and support.  Peep the poster.

Well again, Toronto Beer Week was a blast, thanks to all the organizers, bars, breweries and just about everyone that came together to make it all happen.  It was awesome and I can't wait til next year.

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

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

And The Days Are Short Again...

Not sure how many of you out there will recognize it, but I stole the handle for this here blog post from the title of an old Furnaceface album...it always reminds me of this time of year.  A sorta sad mixture of melancholy and nostalgia. Of good times coming to an end.  I mean, the CNE has wrapped up, the kiddies are back at school and the last Summer long weekend has come and gone.  I know, I know, technically summer isn't over until September 21st and yes, technically the days started getting shorter again on June 21st...but who are we kidding, for all intents and purposes Summer ends the day after Labour Day.

Labour Day maybe the unofficial end of summer, but there are some good folks out there doing there best to remind us that Summer still has some good days left in her, and she's ain't going down with out a fight!

Take for example this Sunday, September 9th.  The 1st Annual Street Food Vendor Awards are being held at the Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto, ON.  Taking advantage of one of the few nice days Summer has left to offer, Ontario's best street food vendors are coming out to celebrate, showcase some of there wares and to educate the public on what great things are happening in the world of street food.  And Sawdust City will be there pouring at the event!  It'll be tough to stand behind the taps all day with so much great food right at our finger tips, but we'll do our best.

Here check out this here poster and get ye to the Brickworks on Sunday, it's sure to be a great event.

Then right on the heels of this fantastic event comes The Premium Beer Experience.  On Thursday, September 13th with just over a week left in Summer, at The Berkley Church in downtown Toronto comes this very special beer event.  With all participating breweries bringing special one-off beers or new brands that are set to launch, it's a great opportunity for beer lovers to get out and try some new and exciting beers from some of Ontario's finest craft brewers.  And guess what? Sawdust City will be there with not one, not two, but three beers!  So if you fancy yourself a beer fan, get ye to The Church on Berkley for this one of a kind event.  Check the website for details -


So now we're down to just one week left in Summer and what better way to spend it than by taking in as many events as you can during Toronto Beer Week!  From September 14th to September 22nd (yes I know that technically is Fall...but come on!) in venues all over the great city of Toronto, comes Toronto Beer Week. Now I can't sit here and list off all the events cause daggit, there is just way too many!  But I will tell you about all the events that Sawdust City will be taking part in.

First up we have The Danforth Pub Crawl.  On Monday, September 17th starting at 545p with our good friends from The Great Lakes Brewery and The Bar Towe,l we will be making our way from the close West to the far East of the mighty and historic Danforth Avenue.  Rockin' 5 bars along the way, it's a great way to get out and not only enjoy one of Summer's last remaining days, but to try some beer, meet some good people and find a new watering hole!  Check the poster -

It's probably going to be a long night, I've been known to get out of hand from time to time, but I've got to recovery quickly cause just two short days later we will be hosting an event at one of Toronto's best watering holes, The Only Cafe!  Now if you have a duster, a soup strainer, a 'stache or whatever name you've decided to give it, I suggest you get out to The Only Cafe on Wednesday, September 19th cause we're hosting the 1st Annual Mighty Mustache Competition and The Golden Cant Hook is on the line.  Well that and the bragging rights that you have the baddest 'stache this side of the Don River!

We'll be pouring 4 brands of Sawdust all night, rockin' great tunes and basically having fun in general.  So brush up your upper lip and get ye to The Only Cafe to show off your man hair.  Check the poster -

Blurrgh...don't read the date too carefully! That's Wednesday, September 19th!

Anyhoo the very next night, the second last day of Summer, at another of Toronto's finest beer bars, we will have one of our collaborations beers pouring at barVolo's fantastic event, "We Live For the Funk".  A 3.8% BerlinerWeiss brewed with Iain Mcoustra of The Amsterdam Brewing Co., "Just The Mention of Berlin Makes Me Sexy", is a tart little minx aged on grapefruit and lechee.  Very rare and very special, there is only one keg of this in existence, so get ye down to barVolo on Thursday, September 20th and get yer Funk On!

Alright, last day of summer, September 21st and we'll be at yet another beer institution in Toronto...C'est What?  The new brewers night is an event that gives folks the chance to come out and meet some of Ontario's newest craft brewers.  You can sit down and chat over a  few pints and find out a little bit more behind these odd fellows who call themselves brewers.  What motivates them to get up unholy hours, slave over kettles for god knows how long and work for minuscule amounts of money.  Please ask them all of those questions...

And then it's over...Summer will be gone for another year.  But don't fret good readers cause it will be back and well the Fall is pretty awesome too.  Cause now it's time for big beer season!  Break out the stout!

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

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Parking Lots in Parking-lots

Yes we've been parking lots in parking-lots...and pouring lots of beer in these here lots. Dang, it that ain't a lotta lots.  Well, I'm guessin' I should hush up with all these lots now.

Well here's the first parking lot we parked and poured at this weekend; The Mighty Griffin Gastropub in Bracebridge, ON.  Last Friday, August 2nd along side our good friends from Beaus's Brewery, we plopped down our kegs and poured for the Midnight Madness Parking Lot Party...and why yes, if it wasn't just pure madness!  The lot was packed all night long with shoppers, party-ers and fun seekers alike.  The boys at the Griffin, now they've been running this here event for 4 years or so now and each year it proves to be a hoot.  We're certainly much obliged for their hospitality and look forward to many more such parking lot parties in the future.

Unfortunately t'wernt no overnight parkin' at the Griffin so we had to pack up our belongings and make way to Kahshe Lake for the 30th Annual Kahshe Lake Craft Show and Sale.

A little less asphalt and a lot more grass, this here lovely parking lot turned out to be right on the shores of beautiful Kahshe Lake. Now I ain't sayin' the Griffin ain't real purdy, but dang if this place don't just beat all!  Surrounded by tall pines and sitting right on the heels of the historic Rockhaven Inn, the setting for the Kahshe Lake Craft Show was down right gorgeous, if I don't mind sayin' so myself.

The weather may have been a little gloomy, but heck, it didn't stop the determined folk of Kahshe Lake from comin' on out to see the crafts and try some beer!

There was a steady line of people all day and shoot if I didn't have some down right decent conversations with many of them.  Good folks they were on Kahshe Lake.  And with food, music, crafts and well...craft beer, there was certainly enough to keep everyone busy!

If you ain't never ventured down to the Kahshe Lake Craft Show and Sale, I do highly recommend it!

That was it for this weekend, but coming up in just two short weeks, yer gonna find us parked down at the Special Events Field on the Muskoka Wharf pourin' beer for the 21st Annual Dockside Festival of the Arts.
Again, were gonna be there along side some great artisans and with more food and entertainment than ever before, this is gonna be one darn good time if I don't mind sayin' so myself.  Here, if ya don't believe me, check out this here poster and see fer yer self

Well shoot, now don't that look just look real darn snappy to you?  Well, if it do, I suggest you come on down to the Muskoka Wharf from August 17 to 19 and see fer yer self.

Now like I said, we done gonna be there for 3 full days doin' our Sawdust thang, but then we gotta be hittin' the road cause we got another park to be parkin' and pourin' at.  This time, it's Annie Williams Park right on the shores of the Mighy Muskoka River in downtown Bracebridge for the 4th Annual Muskoka Beer Fest.  The boys from the Griffin are puttin' it on again and you just know Sawdust City is gonna be there pourin' beer and havin' a grand ol' time.  And you know what?  Looks like Lone Pine IPA might just make the trip with us!  Now, it ain't gonna be quite ready for draught, but we know we gonna bring a fresh cask of dry-hopped goodness with us.  Stuffed right to the hilt with Chinook, Simcoe and Columbus hops, the Lone Pine ain't fer the faint of heart.  Along side Lone Pine, looks like we gonna be bringin' some Gateway Kolsch, some Golden Beach Pale Wheat and maybe one or two more special brews for y'all to try.

Now we know it ain't always about us, we're certainly lookin' forward to seein' and tastin' some of the beers from our brewery brethren at this years Muskoka Beer Fest. It's always great to see so many familiar faces up in our neck of the woods.  The boys at the Griff have made some friends over the years and these friends, well they done usually come packin' beer.  So head out to Annie Williams Park on August 25th and check out this years fest.  Dag, here be the website for all y'all who are into that kinda thing


Now we ain't quite done yet, so hold onto yer hats.  The very next day we have another parking lot to get too! No rest fer the wicked as they say.  Savour Simcoe, which is into it's 5th year, is gonna be held on the outdoor grounds of the Simcoe County Museum.  This is gonna be the first year Sawdust City has ventured out this way and we're rarin' to go.  Just check out his list of vendors, I think yer gonna wanna come join yer self


Dang if this post ain't gettin' long in the tooth.  But don't worry, I only gots one more parking lot to tell you about and this one, well it's down in the big city!  On September 9th at the Brickworks in Toronto, Sawdust City is gonna pullin' into the parking lot to be a part of the 1st Annual awesTRUCK festival.  Now for those of you who don't know about awesTRUCK, take a gander at this here website


Now tell me you don't wanna go to that! We most certainly do.  So if you find yer self wonderin' down by way of the Brickworks on September 9th, stop by our booth, say hello and try some Sawdust City, we love makin' new friends.

Anyhoo, that just about does it for now.  Until next time, keep the beer in your mugs and the sawdust beneath your feet.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Beer in the Summer? Haven't Tried That Before.

Howdy Y'all, so it's  been a while since we last spoke, but it's summer and it seems people like to drink beer in the summer.  Go figure.  And although this is Sawdust City's first official summer brewing beer we've been extremely busy, slingin' pints and getting our name out to all you good beer drinkin' folks.  And shucks, it seems to be goin' all right!  But with so many great events going on across this great province of ours, it's all we can do to keep up.  But we're determined gadnammit!  So we've pulled up our socks, put our heads down and hopefully you've had a chance to hear, see or drink some of what we've been brewin' up here in Sawdust City.  But if you haven't, cause you've been our enjoying all this wonderful sun we've been having, don't fret, we've got yer back.  We've throwin' together a little recap of the summer so far for ya here on the blog, so buckle up and take a read!

After the chaos that was OCB Beer Week back in June, Sawdust City kept the momentum going right into July with a radio spot on the Fearless Fred Show on Edge 102.  For those of you that didn't get a chance to hear it, here is the full interview.


This was the first time I was actually on air, but this interview marks the third time Sawdust City has been covered by Fearless Fred and Chris Schryer.  So big thanks to them and all the support that they've given us.

That same week, the National Post did a write up on Session 99 Craft Beer Fest and some of the summer beers available during the show and throughout the summer.  And yes, Sawdust City made the cut!  It not only talks about us, but also some other great Ontario craft breweries like our good friends at Spearhead and our neighbours in the North, Lake of Bays. Again, if you haven't had a chance to read the article yet, here's the link...have a read.


We took a bit of a hiatus in early July as we'd run ourselves pretty ragged, but in that down time we were able to get the next batch of Kolsch brewed and learn how to use our brand spanking new 4-head HDP bottle filler.  The Kolsch is tasting great and should be in bars by early next week, but the filler still has a few kinks to work out.  Let's just say there is a bit of a learning curve.  But that's okay, we'll get it working smoothly and hopefully more growlers and bombers will find there way into bars across Ontario very shortly.

For those of you eagerly awaiting the Kolsch, here's a teaser for you -

That little break also gave us time to head back up to Niagara and check the progress of Princess and Girlpants as they quietly age in the two oak blueberry wine barrels. I took a sample and they were both tasting great.  The oak character hits you right away both on the aroma and on the palate.  The hops have mellowed and it's become a different beer altogether.  We are going to age it for a few more weeks and then we will be kegging it off and then packaging the entire batch into bombers.  Look for this new beer, Princess and Girlpants Meet the O.D.B. in mid-August at a great beer pub near you.

But hiatus' have to end and it was back to slingin' pints.  Last week we had the honour of pouring some Golden Beach Pale Wheat and How Do You Say Monkey in Latin? back home in Gravenhurst.  To celebrate the opening of the new Norman Bethune Museum, the Chinese "twin" city of Gravenhurst, Boading City of the Hebei Province sent some dignitaries to Muskoka to witness the ceremonies.  It was great to be part of the event and have the chance to not only meet some new local faces but to also meet some new Chinese friends.

A few short days later it was back to our second home, Toronto, for a Toronto Festival of Beer satellite event at WVRST beer and sausage hall.  Along with Great Lakes, King Brewery, Flying Monkey's and our good pals at Black Oak, we poured some beer to pair along side the sausages prepared by WVRST.  Again, it was a fun event and it's always nice to get out and talk to people one on one about the beer we are brewing and what's happening with Sawdust City.

Next up, we're off to Niagara to brew this years vintage of the Great Weiss North.  If you recall, this is a beer we brewed with the good folks at the Niagara Teaching Brewery last year for the Canadian National Exhibition.  Sawdust City came up with an idea to brew a beer with an ingredient from every province and territory in the country, we wanted to exhibit all of Canada at the Canadian National Exhibition.  Jon Downing, brew master at the College, was good enough to throw together a recipe and allow us to use his brew house.  Need some more help remembering?  Well here is the poster from last year -

This will be our second kick at the can, so we've made a few adjustments to improve upon last years wonderfully delicious brew.  This time around we're brewing it a little earlier and giving it a few more weeks to age and hopefully clarify a little more.  But other than that, it's basically the same recipe, a melange of grain, berries, teas and spices from all across our great nation.  So if you enjoyed it last year, come out to the CNE again and try this years version.  I'm sure you'll be even happier!

To bring a close to July, Sawdust City will be doing a "Mash-up" with our friends at Spearhead for the Toronto Festival of Beer.  We're taking one of Spearheads newest brews and one of our brews and making a summer time concoction like no other.  It's top secret, so I can't divulge which brews each one of us will be bringing, you'll have to come by the Mash-up tent to find out for yourself!

August starts with a bang.  First up, we got the parking lot party at the Griffin Gastropub in Bracebridge on Friday, August 3rd.  Along side our good friends at Beau's All Natural Brewing, Sawdust City will be pouring a number of different beers to the thirsty Midnight Madness patrons. Like every year, this will be a very well attended event with lots of great music, amazing food and tasty beer, so come early and stay late!

Two days later Sawdust City will be pouring at the 30th Annual Khashe Lake Craft Show.  This will mark the first time in the thirty year history of the event that they will be pouring beer.  Sawdust City is extremely proud to be the first brewery to do so.  We'll have Gateway Kolsch and Ol'Woody Alt pouring so if you haven't had a chance to try either, this would be a great time.  Held at the Rockhaven Inn on North Kahshe Lake Road, there will be many local artisans, bakers and craftsmen displaying there wares, so come for some craft and try some craft beer!

Then on the weekend of August 17,18,19 Sawdust City is going to be sponsoring the 21st Annual Gravenhurst Dockside Festival at the Muskoka Wharf.  With over 5,000 attendees, this is going to be one fantastic event! There will be many original, unique, one-of-a-kind and skill fully created articles on display over the 3-day event and with the unbelievably amazing back drop of the Muskoka Wharf what better reason do you have to come out?  Oh yeah, beer!  As the main sponsor of the event, Sawdust City will have a beer tent running throughout the 3 days and will be showcasing a number of different beers.  It's simple math folks, Crafts + Craft Beer = 1 Great Event.  Check out the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce Website for more information -


And if that's not enough, we have two more events still to come in August!  The 4th Annual Muskoka Beer Festival will again be held at Annie Williams Park on Saturday, August 25th.  Sawdust City was there last year, but we didn't have any of our "own" beers to pour, this year we'll have plenty!  Check out the website for updates or go to their Facebook/Twitter page and follow this great summer event -


The very next day we are off to Savour Simcoe.  In it's 5th year, Savour Simcoe celebrates local heritage, agriculture and regional cuisine and Sawdust City will be there sampling some our beers.  So if by late August you still haven't had a chance to try our stuff, come out to this wonderful event and try it along side some great food and drink from other amazing local artisans.

Well sheesh, that got a little long winded there!  But I think I got pretty much everything covered.  So like I said, it's a busy summer and we really do hope to see y'all out at some of these events.

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

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Week That Was

OCB Beer Week 2012 has come and gone, but it won't soon be forgotten.  It's left it's mark in our collective consciousness.  In previous years I never found that this week really lived up to the hype.  Sure there have always been a lot of events, but they never seemed to be as big as the advertising suggested.  Maybe I just didn't go to enough events?  Maybe I'm just went to the wrong ones?  Maybe I'm just plain wrong?  Either way, this year there just seemed to be a lot more weight behind everything. The craft beer market seems to have reached a critical mass and it's really starting to show.

By all accounts, the events seemed to be well attended and well put together.  Events seemed to have the solid advertising and promotion behind them and leading up to events, there seemed to be lots of excitement and anticipation.  The Twitters and Facebooks seemed to be a glow up right before an event.  Every night people seemed to just want to go out and try something new.

And we here at the Sawdust City Brewing Co, are just down right happy to be involved in any way.  No we aren't a part of the OCB quite yet, but we're new and we're very small.  So it just hasn't made sense for us to join yet.  But still, we were able to hop on the wave and be a part of a few events through out the week.

As I outlined in the last post, we had a lot going on.  Collaborations, Tap Takeovers, Beer Festivals...it was a big week for us.  And it didn't disappoint.

Starting with the Antique Car Show in Gravenhurst last Saturday (that's a photo up top there), we couldn't have asked for a better summer day.  26C and sunny, it was a great opportunity for Sawdust City to showoff to our local crowd.  The days started off great and we went through a lot of beer early on.  It tailed off near the end, but as far as first time events go (it was the first time they'd ever had beer at this event) it was a sure-fire winner.  Thanks to everyone at the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce for asking us to take part in this event.  We had a great time and look forward to working with you all again in the future.

That was one event, now how about the collaboration I was talking about.  Brewed earlier in the month, specifically for OCB Beer Week, Daily Bread Saison, was a collaboration we did with the Black Oak and Cheshire Valley (sorry, this is an early version of the poster with neither breweries logo included).  A Belgian Table Sasion, this beer was definitely brewed to be a session beer.  At only 4.5% and with a gentle, refreshing and thin body, this ale will be perfect for the summer.

Other breweries around Ontario also did collaboration brews for OCB Beer Week as well, with many of them being showcased at events through out the province.  It was a pleasure to work with the guys at Black Oak again and to work with Paul Dickey from Cheshire Valley for the first time.

Next up we had the "Tap Take Over" at WVRST Beer and Sausage Hall in downtown Toronto.  The good folks at WVRST gave us 8 taps to show off our wares.  And show off we did.  We gathered all the beer that we could muster and did our best to impress.  The crowd was fantastic and the bar was packed all night long.  For our first ever tap take over this was an amazing night.  It also marked the 1 year anniversary of our first ever pilot brew at the Niagara College.  So in 1 year we went from a single pilot batch to having 8 beers on tap and a great beer bar in downtown Toronto...not too shabby.  Thanks so much to the WVRST for all the support they've given us throughout this first year. If it weren't for awesome places like this, we'd have no where to serve our beer!

Next up was Session 99, the big festival to wrap up the week.  In it's third year of existence, Session 99 promised to be bigger and better than ever before...and bigger and better it was!  Boasting an all-in-one $50 all you can eat and drink ticket, the revelers came out like never before.  Almost 1,500 people over the two Sessions.  99 Sudbury was a packed both inside and outside.

I was inside, and with so many people trying our beer it was difficult to get outside, even for a minute.  So unfortunately I have no outside shots...just this one from my booth.

It was great to have the chance to serve beer and to0 talk directly to everyone.  So many people were genuinely interested in trying new beer and discovering new flavours, it was amazing just to be there.  Over the two sessions we served almost 800 samples, that ain't bad.  Getting the chance to get our beer into that many different hands is unbelievable.  The staff and crew at Session 99 did a great job and this is will definitely be a premiere event in Toronto for years to come.

Anyhoo, that just about does it for now.  Until next time, keep the beer in your mugs and the Sawdust beneath your feet.