The problematic relationship between small brewers and new restaurants

Kudos to Ben and Jason for coming out and saying what needs to be said about these sorts of business practices. This might be wishful thinking but if all craft breweries had this same sort of integrity, the practice might disappear one day.

Ben's Beer Blog

SiotapStarting a restaurant is a risky and expensive endeavour. In Toronto especially where there is a plethora of great places to eat and a handful of new places opening (and closing) every week, it’s exceedingly difficult for new restaurants to set themselves apart from the crowd and even if a new restaurant manages some modicum of success, it’s likely that for the first little while their profit margins will be razor thin.

Accordingly, restaurateurs often look for places to cut costs and rely on innovative marketing techniques and partnerships to get themselves known. Many restaurants in Toronto start their businesses as pop- up shops or food trucks hoping to build a reputation for their food so that they might either save up the capital or seek backers for the larger financial investment required to start their own restaurants.

To anyone with any involvement in the craft beer industry, this story might…

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Change and Continuity: Aaron Brown’s Forest City Beer Fest

We will be at the Forest City Beer Fest on August 16 in London. Come out and enjoy this great craft beer festival. Admission is free and sample tickets are only $2 each. Plenty of great local food will be on hand as well.


Three years in, the Forest City Beer Fest and its organizer, Aaron Brown, are just getting started. The festival evolved from a modest affair at a now-defunct venue to a free outdoor event with an impressive brewery line-up. There will be more food, beer, and experts on-site than ever before. But his journey is not over yet. Not even close.

Personal interest and unemployment helped bring about the first Forest City Beer Fest (FCBF) in 2012. Aaron’s interest in craft beer was stimulated by his roommate with whom he began home brewing. To quench his thirst he visited festivals and worked at The Beer Store and The APK. He needed a job after returning from South America in Spring 2012 and within weeks the Forest City Beer Fest was born. It has evolved considerably over the last 24 months. After its initial stint at The APK, FCBF migrated to…

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Barn Door Spring Bock


Bock beers are a very underrated and underepresented beer style here in Ontario.  The style is said to have originated in the town of Einbeck in Germany.  The beer was adopted by the brewers of the great beer drinking city of Munich, who with their Bavarian accents pronounced Einbeck as Ein Bock (a Billy goat).  Through a bizarre beer form of Chinese whispers the beer became simply known as a Bock, and the Billy goat became a symbol of the style appearing on the labels of many classic examples.  Bocks were the beer of choice for monks in the middle ages who would forego food for the lenten fast.  They needed a beer that was rich in nutrients and wholesome

The only bock beer that many people are familiar with in Ontario is Amsterdam Spring Bock, which deservedly won the gold medal in the category at the 2014 Canadian Brewing…

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Demystifying Ales Vs Lagers


Ales vs lagers

What’s the difference between an ale and a lager?

It’s a question that I’ve been asked more than any other by new craft beer enthusiasts, in other words whoever I’m trying to “convert” at a party!

Here is the quick and dirty version.

The main differences are the type of yeast used and the length of fermentation.  Essentially ales use yeast that rises to the top of the tank during fermentation, known as top fermenting yeasts.  Ale yeasts need fairly warm temperatures (approximately 20C) in order to work their magic.  Ale yeasts and the warmer temperatures during fermentation lead to more fruity flavours and a fuller-bodied mouthfeel.  Examples of beer styles that fall under the ale umbrella include IPAs, stouts, porters and wheat beers.

Lagers use, yes you’ve guessed it, bottom fermenting yeasts.  These require colder temperatures than ale yeasts for both fermentation and maturation.  Indeed when lagers were first…

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