By Jacob Hoytema –
The craft beer craze has been fermenting for several years now with no sign of stopping, and this year Tastes of Wellington West is jumping on the trend for the festival on September 16. Craft beer lovers will have their hands and their glasses full with the Brewery Market taking place in Hintonburg Park and the Brew Donkey tour bus taking visitors to three local breweries.
The Brewery Market, which will showcase craft beers from across the city, has been based in Hintonburg and run by local graphic designer, Taralyn Carver, for six years. They follow a farmers’ market model of having the brewers themselves present to sell and discuss their product with buyers.
“The concept behind the Brewery Market is that you come, and you can grab a beer from the person who’s actually brewing it, and who’s involved in the process, and who knows the most about that beer,” Taralyn explains.
Concurrently, the Brew Donkey bus will be ferrying beer fans to three breweries: the Kitchissippi-based Tooth and Nail and Vimy Brewing, and Beyond the Pale brewing just across the O-Train tracks.
As local brewer Kevin Sirko describes, the neighbourhood is becoming something of a “craft beer district” that is attracting visitors from all over the city. Tooth and Nail and Vimy are both quick walks away from the Brewery Market in Hintonburg Park, and Kichessippi Brewing is just a short drive away near Churchill Avenue — provided that you’re being driven by someone who isn’t doing the beer crawl themselves, of course.
For those who plan on taking the Brew Donkey bus tour to the breweries this year, or perhaps who want to go on a brewery crawl of their own, KT has prepared a short guide to the ward’s craft brewers.
Tooth and Nail Brewing Company
When Matt Tweedy started Tooth and Nail two years ago, he had a vision for a company that would not only attract craft beer lovers, but foster community growth.
“The idea of Tooth and Nail is to be able to enter our environment, to be able to sit down, and have a pint with a friend… and maybe at some point hopefully they stop their conversation and say ‘geez, this beer is really good,’” Matt says. Indeed, when the Kitchissippi Times visited on a Tuesday night, the bar was pulsing with neighbourhood residents discussing their day over a beer.
Although Tooth and Nail isn’t doing anything specifically Tastes-oriented on September 16, they will be celebrating their two-year anniversary on their patio that day. For the occasion, they’re unveiling two new beers: a special addition to their “Solo Mission” pale ale series, and a very limited-supply tribute to Belgian styles called Tweede, which is Flemish for two.
Vimy Brewing Company
The last time the Kitchissippi Times featured Vimy Brewing, the company was gearing up to open its doors to the public. In the months since then, the brewery has found its niche, growing its audience through word-of-mouth and brewery tours. Kevin Sirko, who runs the brewery with his brother Mike, says that their unique “crowlers” — a recyclable can with the capacity of a growler jug — have proven a hit. Their vast space for visitors, which includes a Great Hall, a rent-able lounge, and several games rooms, have also been well-used, prompting the addition of an air hockey table. A number of community events have also taken place in the lounge, with many more to come, including trivia nights starting next month. For more info on tours and events, visit their website at vimybrewing.ca.
The “K Beer” headquarters is just outside the bottom corner of the ward, nestled among a large handful of garages and auto shops near Carling Avenue. It’s not the “mechanicsville” one may be used to, but don’t let the humble location fool you — Kichesippi has become one of the most popular and recognizable craft beers in the city. The brewery, like the ward, derives its name from the Algonquin word for the Ottawa River. In its seven years, the brewery has produced a lot of drinkable tributes to the city and river’s history: their well-known “1855” amber ale, the “Logger” porter, and the new “Heller Highwater” lager, for example.
Kichesippi has undergone a lot of growth since its debut in 2010. They’ve gone from eight thousand to fifty-six thousand litres of brewing capacity, and two years ago made a major upgrade in purchasing a heavier canning machine. Tours of their brewery can be booked through their website (kbeer.ca), and their beer can be found in dozens of bars and pubs across the city.
Beyond the Pale Brewery
While their brand new location across the Trillium Line technically places them outside Kitchissippi ward, this brewery got its start in Hintonburg and still has links to the community. And for those who want to do their own tour of the “craft beer district,” Beyond the Pale is just a short walk from Vimy and Tooth and Nail, at 250 City Centre Ave.
No time for a tour? Many Kitchissippi pubs and restaurants are serving up local brews. Just ask!
Happy sampling Kitchissippi! And please remember to drink responsibly.