FEATURE: An Interview with Karen van Kampen from Spearhead Brewing Company

Spearhead Brewing Company at National Capital Craft Beer Week

With the National Capital Craft Beer Festival on the horizon we thought it would be fun to preview some of the breweries making an appearance at the three day festival (August 15-17, 2014, Marion Dewar Plaza).

Hailing from Toronto, Spearhead Brewing Company has no boundaries when it comes to brewing beer. The result is some tasty beer with some very unique ingredients – pineapple, mango, orange, figs, raisin and, if you're brave, scotch bonnet peppers. While their beer is becoming more and more available to those of us in the National Capital Region, it's a treat to have them on site with several taps.

Ottawa Beer Events: Can you tell us a bit about the history of Spearhead Brewery? How did it get started?

Karen van Kampen (Spearhead Brewing Company): Founded in 2011 by Dimitri van Kampen, Spearhead Brewing Company is an independent craft brewery located in Toronto. While working in London, England and spending countless hours in pubs, Dimitri fell in love with real ale and dreamed up the idea for Spearhead. At the heart of Spearhead is the team of Dimitri, Martin Villeneuve and brewmaster Tom Schmidt and their shared passion for brewing off-the-hook beers that we call Beer Without Boundaries.

What are your flagship beers?

Spearhead’s Globetrotter Series is our flagship line of beers that takes you on a beery voyage around the world, with each beer celebrating a different culture and cuisine and offering a unique flavour experience. This includes our Hawaiian Style Pale Ale, a bold, hoppy West Coast pale ale brewed with pineapple; Moroccan Brown Ale, a unique brown ale brewed with dates, figs raisins and cinnamon; Belgian Stout, a smooth complex black ale brewed with Demerara sugar, Curaçao orange peel, coriander and Trappist Ale yeast; and India White Ale, a fusion of India Pale Ale and German Hefeweissen brewed with mango and orange juices and orange peel. All of our beers are unfiltered and naturally carbonated.  

What does Beer Without Boundaries mean?

At Spearhead, we believe that rules were meant to be broken. So when brewing our beer, we dispense with inhibitions and preconceptions. We believe that there are no boundaries when making beer. We use unusual ingredients and brewing methods that challenge the imagination—both yours and ours. We don't want our beer to fit in; we want it to stand out. We may do some crazy, unusual things when brewing our beer, but for us that's what it's all about!

Tell us about Spearhead’s Collaboration Nation win at Session Craft Beer Festival:

Spearhead won the Collaboration Nation contest at this year’s Session Craft Beer Festival with its Sam Roberts Band Session Ale, a rocking blend of English and American Ales. Session Ale features distinct notes of caramel and has a dry zesty finish that strikes a refreshing chord. Brewed with four types of malts and three types of hops, Session Ale is unfiltered and naturally carbonated. Look for SRB Session Ale at your local LCBO in September.

Which beers will you be showcasing at the National Capital Craft Beer Festival?

We will be pouring our Hawaiian Style Pale Ale, India White Ale and Sam Roberts Band Session Ale at the National Capital Craft Beer Festival.

You can follow Spearhead Brewing Company on Twitter (@SpearheadBeer) or on Facebook (Spearhead Brewing Company).

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