July 2013 22
Last month during Apartment 613's Beer Chat we learned from Beyond the Pale co-owner, Robert McIsaac, that they would be collaborating on a Grätzer beer with Union Local 613 and Brad Remus. We chatted with Brad shortly after his brew day in Hintonburg about his brewing experience, the Smoked Pole and where you'll be able to try it.
Ottawa Beer Events: How did you get interested in brewing and where did you learn?
Brad Remus: I've been a beer nut for years. Years ago, some friends and I started out trying everything we could get our hands on. First from Belgium, then the rest of Europe, and then the US and Canada, etc. We started learning about the different styles, and that there is much more to the beer world than terribly boring light lagers. After a while I wanted to be able to make this fun and interesting stuff on my own. Sounds overly simple, but I took to Google and a simple search for "how to brew beer" started it all. I started reading everything I could online, ordered books, found some equipment, and got started in my garage. I'd brew a batch of something, we'd sample and critique, and learn from each one. There is a huge homebrew community in Ottawa as well, and that has been a very valuable resource of information and support.
What's your connection with Beyond the Pale Brewing Co.?
I met Shane around the time of the National Capital Craft Beer Week last summer. There was a large homebrew competition, and he turned out to be one of the judges for the smoked beer category. We chatted after the fact, and he told me that he absolutely loved my Gratzer, and even after sampling as many beers as he had in that session, it was very memorable. That beer won the smoked beer category, and finished respectably in the best in show as well. We chatted about doing a collab on it once they were up and running, and established. I ended up moving to Westboro in the fall, and have spent a world of time at the brewery since. We talk about beer, sample beer, tell tall tales, etc! They've given me a great opportunity to work with them on a special brew, and get my name out in the industry in something that I really enjoy doing, and want to do more of.
What's a Grätzer? What made you want to brew that style?
A Gratzer is a Polish style that almost went the way of the dodo. There has been a bit of a resurgence in the Craft community, and even more with the homebrewers, but it's still hard to find commercial examples.
The beer itself is an oak-smoked wheat beer, with a low alcohol by volume. It has a fairly smoky nose to it, and the smoke flavour is quite pleasant. There is a decent amount of bitterness to offset the smoky character, and a slightly sweeter finish. The abv will be below 4%, making it a fantastic session beer for the summer. This is part of the reason we wanted to get this out while it's still hot.
I have the opportunity to work on contracts on the road from time to time, and once while in Toronto I happened upon a Gratzer on the menu at Bar Volo. I was really intrigued by it, and why I didn't know of it. As I started to look into it, it immediately became something I really had to make, and I formulated myself a recipe from everything I had been reading. It turned out to be a great beer, and was well liked from beer nuts to even occasional beer drinkers. Some people might see "smoked beer" and be turned off, but it's really rather pleasing for all sorts of palates.
This beer was brewed in collaboration with Union Local 613 – how were they involved?
possible these days to buy oak-smoked wheat malt from Weyermann, but we
wanted to smoke it all on our own. We wanted to make it more of a local
collab, and more interesting overall by doing it all ourselves. I had
brewed another myself a few weeks before we started this process, and
took a sample of that smoked malt to Union for some taste testing. We
then started smoking with them, on their huge barrel smoker. We got some
of it done there, but had LOTS to smoke, and knew we'd need more help. I
went to West End Chiles for assistance, and across a number of days and
4 different smokers, we were able to get everything we needed ready to
When will the beer be available and how will beer fans be able to get it?
The release party for this beer will be at Union, on Sunday August 11th. It should be starting mid-afternoon, and going into the evening/night. Details for that can be found on their Facebook page. The beer will then be available at Beyond the Pale during their retail hours that week, as well as at their booth at the National Capital Craft Beer Week festival that weekend. We did a double batch, but it is going to go quickly, so make sure you get out and get yourself some as early as possible! I'll be at Union for the release, as well as at the entire NCCBW festival, and I can't wait to see what people think.
Finally, where do you get your inspiration for brewing?
Inspiration often comes from other beers or styles that strike me. I try every beer I can get my hands on, especially when travelling (Untappd tells me that over the last 2.5 years I've tried almost 1300 different beers). This is a great way to find out what you like in a beer, and what you don't like. See what you think might work, and what you never want to experience again! I've made a lot of brews that I think were hits, a few misses, but I'm always trying to learn from each one. Sometimes something working out "just right" inspires you to tweak it and make it even better. Brewing is a journey. I'll never make the perfect beer. What I loved 2 years ago has been replaced by something else. What I think is fantastic right now will certainly be supplanted soon enough. Similarly, I like to think that I'll always be able to brew something better than I did previously. It's hard not to be inspired when you feel your next brew is going to be the best one yet!
Tickets for the Smoked Pol Grätzer launch party on August 11 at Union are on sale now (limited quantities!). $15.00 buys you a Beyond the Pale tasting glass and four 4 oz samples. In addition to the Grätzer, 8 other beers will be available and food stations by Union – additional food and beer tasting tickets will be available for $3.50.
UPDATE (07/31): Twenty tickets will be available at 6:00pm at Union: Local 613 for $20.00 – first come, first serve.
You can follow Brad on Twitter, @brad_on_beer, as he tweets about beer at National Capital Craft Beer Week.
It's summer time and Ottawa's beer bloggers aren't taking time off of blogger ..or beer. Nope, they're busy attending events, reviewing beer, reporting on upcoming breweries and even appearing on CTV Morning to cook with beer!
- Volunteer shifts are generally between 4-8 hours long.
- Positions include: logistics, sales, security, program assistance and communications.
- Volunteers receive a festival t-shirts and an invite to the volunteer wrap-up party on Sunday, August 18th.
Contact the NCCBW volunteer coordinator to sign up or for additional information.
**NOTE – THIS POST IS NOT BEING UPDATED – FOR AN UPDATED LIST VISIT THE RESOURCES SECTION OF THE WEBSITE:
BREWERIES/BREW PUBS: https://ottawabeerevents.ca/ottawa-area-breweries
RESTAURANTS & BARS: https://ottawabeerevents.ca/ottawa-bars-restaurants-with-craft-beer/
Local Breweries, Brew Pubs and Contract Breweries
Don’t worry, we’ve mapped out all of these breweries on a handy Google Map. Happy Beer Tourism!
- Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company (Vankleek Hill)
- Beyond the Pale Brewing Company (Hintonburg)
- Bicycle Craft Brewery (Trainyards)
- Brasseurs de l’Outaouais (Gatineau)
- Broadhead Brewing Company (Nepean)
- Broken Stick Brewing Company (Ottawa)
- Calabogie Brewing Company (Calabogie)
- Cartwright Springs Brewery (Pakenham)
- Cassel Brewery Company (Casselman)
- Covered Bridge Brewing Company (Kanata)
- Dominion City Brewing Company (Ottawa)
- Kichesippi Beer Company (Westboro)
- Nita Beer Company (Ottawa)
- Perth Brewery (Perth)
- Rurban Brewing (Cornwall)
- Square Timber Brewing Company (Pembroke)
- Stalwart Brewing (Carleton Place)
- Tooth and Nail Brewing Company (Ottawa)
- Waller St. Brewing (Byward Market)
- Whiprsnapr Brewing Company (Ottawa)
- Whitewater Brewing Company (Forresters Falls)
- Ashton Brewing Company (Beckwith)
- Big Rig Brewery & Kitchen (Nepean)
- Brasseurs Du Temps (Gatineau)
- Les 3 Brasseurs (Sparks Street, Kanata)
- Lowertown Brewery (Ottawa)
- Microbrasserie-Bistro Gainsbourg (Gatineau)
- Mill Street Brew Pub (Lebreton Flats)
- The Clocktower Brew Pub (New Edinburgh, Glebe, Westboro, Byward Market)
Contract Breweries (breweries that hire another brewery to produce their beer)
- B-Side Brewing Label (Brews out of Beau’s – “B-Side Brewing Label is like a record label, for beer. We sign craft brewer “artists” who we respect and believe are making great beer to our brewing label.”)
- Brasserie Tuque de Broue (Brews out of Kichesippi – opening in May in Embrun)
- HogsBack Brewing Company (Various breweries including Broadhead)
- Crooked Mile Brewing (Almonte)
- Evergreen Craft Ales (Ottawa)
- Mad Hatter Brew Company (Ottawa)
- The Weather Brewery (Ottawa)
Where to Buy Beer
Beer can only be purchased at The Beer Store (a privately owned chain of retail outlets), the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (a provincial Crown corporation), breweries and brew pubs. Most of Ottawa’s breweries sell their beer in refillable growlers.
There are a few grocery stores in the Ottawa area that now sell 6 packs of beer:
- Farm Boy, 2030 Tenth Line in Orleans.
- Sobeys, 193 Metcalfe Street.
- Loblaws, 1980 Baseline Road.
- Metro, 3201 Strandherd Drive in Nepean.
- Real Canadian Superstore, 760 Eagleson Road.
- Sobeys, 700 Terry Fox Drive in Kanata.
- Sobeys, 840 March Road in Kanata.
- Independent, 1251 Main Street, Stittsville.
In Quebec beer can be bought at the Société des alcools du Quebec (a provincial Crown corporation), breweries, brew pubs and privately owned stores. Since Ottawa’s so close to some great Quebec beer stores it’s worth the drive to go bottle shopping. Here are some of our favourite stops:
Beer Bars and Restaurants
Lots of places offer beer on their menu, but these fine establishments offer a better selection featuring more of the locals. In case you need a bit of direction here’s a Google Map
- Black Tomato
- Brothers Beer Bistro
- Heart & Crown
- Murray Street Kitchen
- Must Wine Bar
- Patty Boland’s
- Smoque Shack
- The Albion Rooms
- Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro
- Arrow and Loon
- Atomic Rooster
- Bier Markt
- D’Arcy McGee’s
- Pints & Quarts
- The Royal Oak
- Union Local 613
- Arrow and Loon
- Crust and Crate Public House
- House of TARG
- Irene’s Pub
- Jack Astor’s Lansdowne
- Local Public Eatery
- Black Pepper Urban Pub
- Hintonburg Public House
- The Elmdale Oyster House & Tavern
- The Wellington Gastropub
Old Ottawa South
Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. is open from 10:00am – 6:00pm, food is available from 11:00am – 4:00pm.
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