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).
Flying in from Barrie, Ontario is the brewery with the flashy colours, crazy bottle art and the slogan – "normal is weird". Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery is now known for their big full flavoured beer now, but once upon a time they were known as the Robert Simpson Brewing Company and their beers (and logo) were almost a bit too ordinary. This year they're making a big splash at National Capital Craft Beer Festival and the Ottawa rep, Marissa Bégin, has let us in on what they have in store.
Ottawa Beer Events: Can you tell us a bit about the history of Flying Monkeys Brewery? How did it get started?
Marissa Bégin (Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery): Flying Monkeys started with
Peter's love of homebrewing! In 1981 Peter brewed his first beer in his grandfather's basement then a few years later he built his own home brew system. In 2001 his family turned their garage into a pilot brewery then a year later they started to break ground on construction of the new brewery. We were actually supposed to be called 'Simcoe Steam Brewery' but due to a potential lawsuit, we named ourselves Robert Simpson Brewery after Barrie's first Mayor. In 2008 we changed our name to Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery after Peter was inspired by a sign on his back porch that said, 'Don't Make me Get My Flying Monkeys'. Our mission is to brew fearlessly and challenge normal so the name seems to suit.
What are your flagship beers?
We have six flagship beers: Smashbomb Atomic IPA (Ontario's first West-coast style IPA), Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale, Anti Gravity Light LAGER, Flying Monkeys Amber Ale, Netherworld Cascadian Dark Ale (now a seasonal which you'll be seeing in the fall) and our newest addition, Genius of Suburbia Session Ale.
What are some of your bigger beers that maybe aren't as well known?
Oh wow that's a BIG question. We actually have a ton of bigger beers that a lot of people never see down this way. We do a lot of pilot projects which are generally our extreme beers. Our Belgian Blend IIPA was absolutely delicious it held up at 9.4%, then we also had The Wolf (Dentist Stenson) which was a Barley Wine that came in at 14%. Now we do have some big beers you may have to hunt for but do/have come down this way; The Matador, The Matador 2.0, Green Man, & the newest release to the LCBO was Shoulders of Giants.
Which beers will you be showcasing at the National Capital Craft Beer Festival this weekend?
We have lots in store for this weekend! We're bringing our 10 tap bar which includes 5 of our core brands as well as 5 specialty beers. Most people will remember Orange Mungus (which we're bringing back) and we'll also have a lemonade! For a big beer we're bringing Sonic Elegance, our Belgian Imperial AND not one, but TWO pilot projects, but I'm going to keep those a secret… can't give away all of our surprises.
If we could only sample one Flying Monkey's beer at the festival, which one should it be?
If you could sample one of Flying Monkeys beer at the festival it should probably be one our pilot projects because really you can't get them anywhere else!