Spearhead made a big splash in June with their Hawaiian Style Pale Ale and have kept up the initial momentum throughout the year. Leading the charge has been their president and founder Dimitri van Kampen, who will often be the most enthusiastic person at any Spearhead event. We last spoke with him just before the launch of the Hawaiian Style Pale Ale and he was kind enough to give us an update of how things have gone since then.
Dimitri van Kampen: The past six months have been a whirlwind. And the response we’ve had in the market and from our industry colleagues has been really positive and supportive. I’m excited to see that beer drinkers in Ontario have embraced our beer and the whole concept of Beer Without Boundaries. And what an honour it was to have our Hawaiian Style Pale Ale named ‘beer of the year’ by Kevin Brauch, The Food Network’s Thirsty Traveler.
AYOB!: Spearhead is possibly the busiest Ontario brewery when it comes to events. What was the best?
DvK: That’s tough. Our launch party at Bar Volo was awesome. Session 99 was fantastic and we were blown away by our best of the fest win. There was the Halifax Seaport Craft Beer Festival, the Muskoka Beer Festival, Hart House Beer Festival and of course Toronto Beer Week, which was a crazy blur. It’s been one long string of great events.
AYOB!: What was your favourite beer made from another Ontario brewery in 2011?
DvK: Beau’s Matt’s Sleepy Time Stout was fantastic.
AYOB!: What was the biggest trend in the Ontario craft brewing industry this past year? What trends do you predict for 2012?
DvK: Off-the-hook beers and collaboration projects really took off this year. I would love to see more of this in 2012. It’s exciting to see brewers working together and making beers without inhibition and with lots of imagination!
AYOB!: Any hints as to what we can expect from Spearhead next year?
DvK: There’s a lot happening with us right now. We’ve only just started, but we have a lot we want to do and brew. I’m confident 2012 is going to be a big year for us. Stay tuned.
AYOB!: Where do you see Spearhead in five years?
DvK: I would love to see us in our own brewing facility, making unique and interesting beers. We’ve got lots of fun stuff planned. One-offs, seasonals and other brews that I hope will get people thinking differently about beer.
Thanks to Dimitri! I’ll buy a pint of the next Spearhead beer for the person that can correctly guess what style it will be (which, for the record, I do not know).