After wanting to go for some months now, Soph and I finally made the trek up to the brewery at Black Creek Pioneer Village. Having been on a couple of tours of large, modern breweries, seeing the brewing process in a much simpler fashion was incredibly helpful, though they weren’t actually brewing on this day. Even though the brewery is (mostly) setup as one from the 1860s, using only ingredients and equipment available at the time, the essential ingredients of beer have remained the same. What’s even greater is that the whole brewing process, including aging and drinking, happens in one room.
The brewery makes four beers, three of which we tried. All are fermented in oak casks, which are now only a couple of months old. There is no carbonation added, making them very flat brews. They are served at cellar temperature, literally – the casks are brewed and aged in a cellar and whatever the temperature is, that’s how the beer is served. The first beer sampled was the Stout, which was an odd mix of dark malts and tannin characteristics from the barrels. It was pitch black, but had a mild flavour. The Porter was next with much of the same characteristics, but with a thinner feel. The last beer was the India Pale Ale, which really melded the oak and Cascade hops nicely. Due to the lack of filtration, the IPA had a murky, orange-red look. The beers will change over time as the barrels age and the oak tones become muted (in fact, due to the system they use, no two brews are likely to be the same), but the IPA was the best on this day.
The eventual plan for the brewery is to make a one-mile beer, with all of the ingredients grown and harvested on site. They’ve started growing hops, but the person giving the tour didn’t think they had used any yet for the brew. The whole thing is still very much a work in progress, but the early results are promising. There will be hiccups along the way, like having to add ice in the Summer to cool down the brew before it can be aged, but hopefully they will have enough success to realize their vision. If you’re ever planning to do the tour, make sure to call ahead and verify the time. There was only a 2pm tour when we went, not the advertised 12:30pm and 3pm. The tour is an extra $4 and the beers are available in growler for $16, which includes a $4 deposit. The restaurant serves the same styles of beer, but for legal reasons they cannot serve the beer made at the brewery. The restaurant beers come from Trafalgar in Oakville.
Today: 300mL (very rough estimate). Year-to-date: 10.83L.