FEATURE: An Interview with Fariborz Behzadi from Bicycle Craft Brewery

Bicycle Craft Brewery in Ottawa, ON

In case you didn't notice, craft beer is blowing up in Ottawa, with the opening of several new breweries, expansions of existing facilities and even our own growler delivery service. Much of the action is happening just outside of Ottawa, but since we're sharing an area code we're still pretty excited to hear about new beer!

To help you, the craft beer fan, keep track of who's opening what, where and when, we'll be running a series on upcoming breweries and the people behind them. Some are at the point of being able to open, others are knocking on doors trying to get funding or supervising their brewery being built from the ground up.

We're reviving our interview series with this chat with Bicycle Craft Brewery, a husband and wife team who enjoy life, good beer and want to share it with you! Their love for the outdoors, fun and life inspired the name and they hope when they open the doors on their Industrial Avenue brewery you'll join them at the tasting bar for one of life's simple pleasures.

Ottawa Beer Events: Tell us a little about yourself, the beer you brew and your (upcoming) brewery.
Fariborz Behzadi (Bicycle Craft Brewery): Bicycle Craft Brewery is a husband and wife team of myself, Fariborz, and Laura Behzadi. We are a traditional, all-grain, small batch brewery that is down to earth and makes great tasting craft beer.  Our love for the outdoors, the City of Ottawa, and an appreciation for tradition inspired our name and our vision for our brewery, and we hope to bring that experience to you – enjoying life with good beer, good fun and fresh air! 
When possible, we source locally grown products, and have established a number of environmental practices in our brewery design to decrease our footprint and conserve water and energy. We also hope to pair with local farmers and a local bakery to make use of our spent grain and decrease waste.
We will have 4 flagship brews, including our hoppy and bitter Velocipede IPA and our bitter-sweet and smokey Abyss Chocolate Stout. Our session ale, Belle River Blonde, is refreshing and easy on the palate, while our Base Camp Oatmeal Porter is nutty and smooth and will remind you of the comforts of base camp. We will also offer a variety of limited edition and seasonal brews that use local ingredients including a Pumpkin Spice Ale, a Christmas Ale and a colourful Raspberry Wheat Ale. A unique feature of our brewery is that Laura will be taking an active part in the brew process and will also feature special brews of her own, including one that will be released on International Women’s Day every year.
With our spacious tasting room, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a sample, some good conversation and tour the brewery. We also hope to offer glasses of beer to purchase and enjoy on site.
Why did you decide to go pro and brew commercially?
Starting our own brewery has been a dream of ours for a number of years simply because of our passion for brewing and our love of craft beer. Both Laura and I are avid craft beer fans and often seek out new brews during our travels and locally here in Ottawa. We love to experiment with our own recipes, adding interesting ingredients to obtain unique flavours and create great tasting beers and we want to share that experience with others, confident that they will enjoy our brews as much as we do. We have taken nearly 3 years of planning, research, sampling and of course brewing, to get to this point and we’re very excited to open our doors and share our beer with you.
What have been your biggest challenges?
Starting a business provides many challenges but so far, finding a location has been our biggest. Having a brewery that is accessible by alternative means of transportation, either on foot, by bicycle, car or bus, was important to us and we spent a significant amount of time searching for the perfect place that also met the requirements in terms of zoning, by-laws, etc. We are happy to say that it was worth the wait! We are setting up our brewery on Industrial Ave., in the Riverview neighbourhood near Ottawa Train Yards. We are very excited about our location and look forward to welcoming everyone there soon.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start a brewery?
This is a bit tricky as I feel that I could still use some advice! We received some great advice from other craft brewers including Mario Bourgeois from Cassel Brewery and Lon Ladell from BigRig. In May, we will do our first collaboration brew with Don Campbell of BarNone Brewery in Charlottetown, PEI, which we are very excited about. Talking to people involved in the industry has been a great help and an excellent resource for working your way around permits and regulations as well as tricks of the trade. 
If everything goes as planned, when will we be able to have a pint of your beer?
We are hoping to be open in the late summer or early fall of 2014. We will be keeping our website, Facebook and Twitter updated regularly with information on our progress, our brews, and when our doors will be open. Stay tuned for more information, including when we can share a Bicycle brew!
Keep up to date with Bicycle Craft Brewery by following them on Twitter (@BicycleBrewery) or by liking them on Facebook (Bicycle Craft Brewery).
Check our archive for previous interviews with up-and-coming breweries!

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