Craft Beer Week 2
With National Capital Craft Beer Week
in full swing we thought it would be fun to preview some of the special
beers that will be making an appearance at the two day festival capping
off the week long celebration (August 16 & 17, Marion Dewar Plaza).
The wonderful thing about Craft Beer Week is that it not only features some of our wonderful local craft breweries, but also some of the best from beyond the capital. One of those visiting breweries, travelling all the way from Gravenhurst, Ontario, is Sawdust City Brewing Company. We're not super familiar with their beers so we thought it would be a good idea to interview their brewmaster – Sam Corbeil
Ottawa Beer Events: How did you get interested in brewing and where did you learn to brew?
Sam Corbeil (Sawdust City Brewing Company): I learned to brew at the
VLB in Berlin. I took the Certified Brewmasters Course back in 2006 but
before that I had 0 experience with brewing, I hadn't even home brewed.
I guess I was just really into beer. The 'Ah ha' moment was on a trip through Belgium and France with my wife
and another couple. We were at a Beer Festival in the Grande Place in
Brussels and, I don't know, maybe it was the opulence of the grand old
buildings or maybe it was the copious amounts of beer, but I decided at
that moment that I really wanted to brew beer for a living. I really
didn't know how I was going to do that, so when I got back to work (I
was working in advertising at the time) I hit the interwebs and found
beer schools, which ultimately led me to the VLB. The rest is, as they
What made you decide to open a brewery?
While I was at the VLB, my goal was to always be a part of opening a
brewery. After a few years of working at breweries around Ontario and
carrying around this grand dream, I ran into Rob Engman, the publisher
of TAPS The Beer Magazine and we got to talking and we got to drinking
at which point we both decided that it would be a good thing to work
together on a brewery project. Beer will do that. Four years later, we
almost there…it's taken a little longer than we hoped, but in the end
it will be worth it.
How did you come up with the name Sawdust City?
Where all good ideas
come from…the internets. We were having trouble coming up with a name
so I was googling (that's a verb now right) Gravenhurst and I came
across an ol'timey name for the town…Sawdust City. I really dug it, it
kinda had a pioneering sound to it, but it was contemporary at the same
the turn of the last century (1900's not 2000's) Gravenhurst was a
logging town and there was something like 25 mills down on the wharf.
And with all the milling and cutting and what not going on, the town
got the nickname Sawdust City. We thought it was pretty apt.
Which beers will you be showcasing at the National Capital Craft Beer Festival this weekend?
We're bringing 5 beers with us. A couple of our regular brands Lone Pine
IPA, Golden Beach Pale Ale and Ol'Woody Alt will be there along with a
few seasonals, Red Rocket Stout (spiced with cinnamon, coffee and
cayenne pepper) and our Princess & Girlpants Meet the ODB (Barrel
Aged Belgian Golden).
If we could only sample one Sawdust City beer at the festival, which one should it be?
Shoot, that's a toughie…I diggem all, but right now it's a toss up
between the Golden Beach Pale and the ODB. The Golden Beach is just
poppin with big tropical hops and at 4.8% it's super drinkable this time
of year, perfect summer patio pint. And the ODB, well it's kinda on
the other end of the spectrum. It's 9% and it's got a real nice tartness
too it from the barrel aging, with a good amount of fruitiness from the
Motueka hops and Belgian yeast. It's big, but it's nice.
Currently you have Lone Pine IPA in the LCBO. Do you plan on introducing other beer via the LCBO? If so, which ones?
We are actually just
packaging our next release to the LCBO as we speak, our Imperial Stout, 'Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus'. It's another big beer, 9% with a huge
amount of coffee and espresso on the nose and a big chocolately body.
It'll hit the shelves later this September. I'm really excited about
this one, I love this beer.We've
submitted our Red Rocket Stout as well and hope to hear back about that
soon, it's been a big hit for us this year on the festival circuit.
You can follow Sam Corbeil and the Sawdust City Brewing Company on Twitter (@sawdustcitybeer) or Facebook (Sawdust City Brewery) or you can stop by and say hi at their booth during the Craft Beer Week Festival (with a beer in hand of course).
With National Capital Craft Beer Week in full swing we thought it would be fun to preview some of the special beers that will be making an appearance at the two day festival capping off the week long celebration (August 16 & 17, Marion Dewar Plaza).
Square Timber Brewing Company is a soon-to-be brewery located in the Ottawa Valley run by Marc Bru. Since the brewery isn't yet operational, he will be
collaborating with Beyond the Pale's Shane Clark a this weekend's
festival. We chatted with him about the brewery and the special beer:
Ottawa Beer Events: How did you get interested in brewing and where did you learn?
Marc Bru (Square Timber Brewing Company): I grew up in and around beer as my Dad worked in distribution for all
the major breweries in my home province of Saskatchewan for 30+ years
and then he worked in packaging at Great Western Brewing Company in
Saskatoon for 4 or 5 years before he retired. Although it wasn't craft
beer, it was still beer and I was always intrigued by the beer biz. My
job as a full time touring musician brought me to many great beer
towns/cities throughout the US and Europe as well. We always tried to
visit as many micro/craft breweries as possible and I made some great
contacts and friends in the craft beer world throughout those years.
I've been brewing small batches (5g) for many years and completed two
apprenticeships with a brewery in Michigan. I learned a lot about craft
beer and the craft of brewing there. Quick story… My Dad ran the
warehouse where all the beer for western and northern Saskatchewan was
received from the breweries and then shipped out to bars, hotels,
restaurants, etc. They also took in the bottle returns from these
accounts as well as from the public and then would send them back to the
breweries. When the breweries all switched from stubbies to their own
versions of the longneck bottle in the 80's we had to sort them so each
brewery would get their own bottles back. The first couple of years
were difficult because people wouldn't sort their bottles and would just
bring them in unsorted. and dirty. and stinking. My job for 2 whole
summers was to stand out in the sun, sorting bottles. The smell was
usually awful, on a good day, and it was amazing the things you would
find in beer bottles. But, even with all of that, it was still the best
place to work and I loved every minute of it. The coffee breaks were
pretty good too 🙂
Why did you decide to open a brewery?
By the time I hit 35 I had a pretty good feeling that this is what I was
going to do some day. It has taken a bit longer than the original plan
but we'll get there.
Where did the name Square Timber come from?
The Ottawa Valley was settled on the square timber trade back in the
1800's. Crews would spend the winters in lumber camps cutting white and
red pines into squared logs, pile them on the ice and in the spring
they would assemble them into cribs and rafts, float them down the
Ottawa River to Quebec City where the majority were then shipped over to
England for shipbuilding. The people, history and culture of the
Ottawa Valley are rich and colourful and we want to pay respect to these
with our company's philosophy and our beers – hand hewn ales and lagers
from the heart of the Ottawa Valley.
We heard you brewed a beer with Beyond the Pale for the National Capital Craft Beer Festival, can you tell us about it?
BTP's Shane Clark and I wanted to brew something that neither one of us
currently brew or plan to brew in our respective breweries. We decided
on an American Pale Ale with tonnes of late tropically hops to give it
great aroma and flavour without peeling the enamel off your teeth. We
wanted it to be in the 5% range as well so people could have more than
one 🙂 We're going to release it at the Beer Festival and it will be
available in the Beyond the Pale booth. Also, I will be sharing a booth
with 2 other "soon to open" breweries in the Ottawa area – Covered
Bridge Brewing in Stittsville and Rurban Brewing in Cornwall. We
wanted to be able to meet and chat with the beer fans and tell them
about our breweries and beers. We're looking forward to the Festival!
When will Square Timber Brewing Company will be up and running?
At this point, with all of the steps left to be taken, it's anybody's
guess really but if I was to venture a guess…how does 2013 sound? 😉
Whenever it is, we'll let everyone know.
You can follow Marc Bru on Twitter (@SquareTimber) or Facebook (Square Timber Brewing Company) – be warned though, he posts about the beer he brews and it may make you a little upset that you can't drink it!
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