Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Long, Dark Voyage Tour 2015

Howdy Y'all, so another month has passed and much has transpired since our last communication. When last we spoke, we told you that Toftorg Golshop Ruler of the Third Empire of the Uranus was on his way to Earth to pick up some of his farvourite ale, our "Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus" Uranual Imperial Stout. Well all went smoothly, even with the massive order we shipped out to LCBOs across the province, Toftorg was able to get a massive supply aboard his ship, enough to last him at least another year.
He has since begun the grueling, return voyage back to his home planet. But while he was here, we had a chance to sit down and really talk.  There's nothing like a face to face meeting with the head of state of an extraterrestrial planet to really put things into perspective. Anyhoo, during our meeting he convinced us to make the trip to the outer reaches of our galaxy and visit him on his home planet of Uranus.
So in honour of Toftorg and our own personal Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus, we here at Sawdust City have launched a tour in support said journey.  See the poster below...

Before we leave the planet and begin the treacherous expedition through the deepest recesses of space, we thought we would do a smaller tour closer to home and load up on some beer from some of our closest friends.
First we stopped in the Kitchener/Waterloo area for a special collaboration brew with our pals at Block 3 brewing.

We elected to brew a beer specifically for a very special day, Pi-Day!  This particular beer will be a 3.14% Cherry pie saison. A lovely bready malt body, blended with tart cherries.  We will be releasing this beer at both our home tasting bars at 1:59 on March 14 (3.14159....for those of you counting out there).  Like that last piece of pie, this ale won't last long, so swing by either the Saloon here in Gravenhurst or Block 3's tasting bar on March 14th for a taste!

Next we journeyed to Ottawa for another collaboration with our friends at Beyond the Pale. These guys have been brewing some great beer over the last few years and will be moving into a brand new space real soon, so it was great to visit them at their original location before they open the new space (spoiler alert! The new space is amazing!).

While there, we brewed up an 8% Imperial Wit beer with a blend of 8 unique spices. Guess what we called it? Huit! has that name not been taken before? All kidding aside, we are really stoked to try this brew, look for it to be ready sometime mid March. Again, it will be available at Beyond the Pales tasting bar as well as at the Sawdust City Saloon.  

In between collaboration brews we decided to stop in at one of our favourite spots in Toronto, Thirsty & Miserable, for a good ol'fashioned tap takeover. Being that it was smack dab in the middle of this ridiculously cold winter, we wanted to bring beers that would warm them frigid cockles of your collective hearts. So we brought 7 of our darkest, biggest, most cockle warming beers.

From LDV & The Blood of Cthulhu to the more hop forward Pine Tar Black IPA and unique The Graeme Maple Coffee Alt.
It was a great night and a fun way to say congrats to Katie and her team just days before their 3rd Anniversary.

Lastly, we headed North to visit some new friends, the lads at Stack Brewing in picturesque, Sudbury, Ontario.  We hadn't really met before, but we figured what better way to make new friends than over a beer. Turns out they were awesome guys and super gracious hosts, we are really lookin' forward to headin' back to the Nickel City to visit them again and try our collab beer.

What was that beer you ask? Well we decided to brew a beer that celebrated that lovely stretch of highway that joins Muskoka to Sudbury, Highway 69! We put our collective heads together and created a 6.9% Belgian Pale ale with some unique hops from France and a little spicy black pepper. 69 should be ready by mid to late March, so plan on stoppin' by the tasting room at Stack Brewing in Sudbury or at the Saloon for a taste.

Now that we've completed our terrestrial tour across this great province, it's time for us to take off and soar into the heavens. Unfortunately due to some unforeseen spacial interference our communication system will be down and we will not be able to contact anyone on Earth until around March 22.  That is when we plan on entering orbit around Uranus. Once we reach orbit we will be able to use their much larger communication array and piggy back a signal back to Earth. Until then this is the last you will hear from us. So before we go into a communication black out, I just wanted to share with you a few more details about some upcoming events & new beer releases at Sawdust City.

Firstly, as we will be reaching Uranus on March 22nd we decided to throw a large party back on Earth so celebrate the fact that we traversed 2.57 billion kms of space and survived (crossing fingers). So on March 22nd in London, Ontario at the Mighty Milos' Craft Beer Emporium, we will be rockin' a 22 tap Tap Takeover!  That's right 22 taps folks. We'll have new releases, some old favourites, some one offs just for the event and of course those collaboration brews I mentioned earlier. So mark it in your calendar folks and we hope to see you in London at Milos' on the 22nd of March.

Now for some beer news. Our next release, which will be hittin' our shelves on Friday, March 6th, will be Twin Pine IIPA.  A massively hopped double IPA, this 8.8% ale is loaded with tropical hop aromas and flavours. We've been waiting to brew this one for a while (we had to wait until our 88th brew to do it) and we're are super stoked at the results. If you like hops, and I know you do, then trust me your gonna wanna try the Twin Pine IIPA. Peep the label below...

A tribute to one of our favourite 80's Sci-fi flicks, Twin Pine has a few subversive references to the classic film written into the label, Read through it and see if you can find them! But whether your a fan of the film or not, I'm sure your gonna love this new ale.  Look for it in 473ml cans in our retail store on March 6th and at your local kick ass beer bar around the same time.

Next up we have an old favourite comin' back, our barrel aged Belgian Golden Ale, The Princess & Girlpants Meet the ODB.  In case you forgot what it looks like, here's the label...

The stats on this years release are a little different, it's comin' in around 10% and we made a small adjustment to the draught version this year.  After tasting all 10 barrels, we decided to split the batch in to two distinct different versions. The barrels that went to draught got dry hopped with 2.5kg of Amarillo per barrel, while the version that will get canned we decided to leave as is.
The draught version, has a lot of wood & wine on the nose, blended with a nice hint of tropical hops from the Amarillo. It's bone dry and has a nice layer of funk in there as well.  Look for the draught version on tap at the Saloon in the next week and at your local beer bar not soon after.
The canned version is more about the wood & wine. There's a little hint of hops left over from the base beer, but the flavour is dominated by oak and white wine. Look for the canned version in our retail store on Friday, April 3rd. And of course, like we've been doing with our Saison de la Maison series, O.D.B will be canned conditioned.

Speaking of Saison de la Maison, the next release in this series is comin' up real soon.  To coincide with the Vernal Equinox, we will be releasing the 3rd beer in our Saison series. This one will be called, "There's No Way of Knowing". (Those of you that remember early 90's alternative Toronto rock, will clearly remember The Gandharvas and their epic song, "The First Day of Spring"...this is our tribute to that song).
After ol'Man Winter releases us from his icy grip, Sweet Lady Spring swoops in and brings us a fresh new start. And to celebrate that fresh new start, we've brewed a saison loaded with all that we love about Spring.  Comin' in at 5.5%, this light golden ale is our easiest drinking saison to date. Along with a big citrus hit from the Ella hops, we've also added fresh orange zest, lemon verbena and grains of paradise to this light sipper. Yep, you're probably going to want to drink this. Look for it in cans at our retail store on Friday, March 20th. Draught to follow soon after.

Lastly, I just wanted to let everyone know that yesterday was the 100th brew on our brew house at Sawdust City. And in honour of that momentous occasion we elected to brew something extra special...

      ...yes it will be back at the LCBO this Spring. Look for it early April.

I think that covers it. So as we leave the atmosphere and disappear into the darkness of space, I bid you all a fond adieu...for now....

Anyhoo, that's just aboot it for now. Until next time, keep the beer in your mug and the sawdust beneath your feet.


Monday, 19 January 2015

Long Distance Phone Calls, Local Otters & Time Travel

Howdy Y'all, since last we spoke much has transpired. Yet nothing quite as immense as the communique I received just last week from the deepest, darkest recesses of Uranus. Our interstellar friend and ally Toftorg Golshop, (Ruler of Third Empire of Uranus), reached out to us here at the Sawdust City Brewery and let us know of his plans to return once again to our small corner of the Milky Way.

The message, which traveled across the vast expanse of space, took over two weeks to reach us.  In it Toftorg indicated that he had left Uranus with his personal convoy on another mission to Earth. Travelling at their vessels top speed, the 2.56 billion km trip should take him roughly one month to reach our planet. We expect him to land at his predetermined coordinates sometime around the 13th of February.

Along with his plans to once again visit Earth, the message from Toftorg also indicated that he was very much looking forward to procuring more of his favourite Earthly beverage, The Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus Uranal Imperial Stout. For since he last set foot on our planet, his personal stock of our luscious, dark liquid has all but vanished and he is in dire need of more. Designed to last the long, arduous voyage from Earth to Uranus, Long Dark Voyage is a Uranal Stout of the highest order and very rare outside of our home planet.

Within his message, Toftorg also mentioned that his ability to acquire any decent beer on his planet has for many eons been extremely difficult. In light of this information contained in his message, the timing of his return actually seems quite serendipitous, as it coincides with the estimated release of Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus at LCBO stores across in Ontario.

As Torforg goes on to tell us in his communication, the difficulty he and his fellow Uranians have in purchasing good beer stems from the fact that the only retail outlet able to sell beer on his home planet is run by a ruthless cabal called "The Ministry". Apparently, The Ministry which controls the distribution of beer on Uranus has made the purchase of any decent beer exceedingly difficult if not impossible for the average consumer. And although Toftorg is the Ruler of the Third Empire of Uranus, his title is mainly honorary and he holds very little political sway. He has to shop at the stores just like everyone else.

In his message he explains that The Ministry is owned and operated by three companies which are not of his home planet Uranus but actually hail from three separate moons circling the large gas giant. How they came to control beer distribution on his home planet was not discussed at length, but he did mention that it grew from an old agreement reached many years ago but had long since been considered out of date.

According to his message, these three moons mainly sell beer brewed on their respective moons at the stores on Uranus, with only a small amount of shelf space left to be filled by locally brewed Uranal beer. And as Toftorg states in his message, much of this "moon beer" is pallid and tasteless. He'd rather not drink anything that subject his tastes buds to their products. He longs for the rich, robust flavours of the beer he discovered here on Earth.

In the final paragraphs of his message, Toftorg told us he hopes to bring enough Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus back to his fellow Uranian people so that they too can see what a real beer tastes like.

We look forward to greeting Toftorg when his shuttle arrives next month and we hope to supply him with as much Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus as possible.  Our hearts go out to him and his fellow Uranian people as their plight is certainly one that we can understand. Hopefully their future brings forth change.

Anyhoo, that was one thing that happened...the other big news is that our newest release "Le Chandail De Skokie", a 8.5% Biere de Garde Ambree, is finally available in our on-site retail store and at kick ass beer bars across the province!  With a rich malt body, a spicy, yeasty aroma and a warming alcohol kick, Skokie is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

And to kick off the release of Le Chandail de Skokie, Skokie himself stopped by the brewery. That's right, the otter himself popped by Sawdust City, not only to have a few sips of his namesake ale but also to announce that it will be the official beer of the 2015 Gravenhurst Winter Carvinal!  Don't believe us? Well, here's the proof...

A charming fellow that Skokie.  Well, it goes without saying that we are extremely proud to be a part in this local event and hope to be apart of it for years to come!

So what else we got? Well, you'll be glad to hear that we got a few beers that should be coming out in the next month or so, an old favourite and a brand new beer!

First up, the old favourite.  The Princess & Girlpants Meet the ODB is just about ready to come out of the barrel and say hello to all y'all out there. This years version has been resting in Chardonnay wine barrels for 10 months. At 9.5%, this Barrel Aged Belgian Golden is tastin' great and should be canned and ready to go by mid to late February. And again, in our attempt to bring you a more traditional beer experience, much like our Saison de la Maison series, we will be employing our "canned conditioned" technique for this release as well.  Fruity aromas of peach and apples, intermingle with notes of sweet white wine and oak. A taste experience you won't soon forget.

You'll be able to pick up cans in our retail store and find it on draught at kick ass beer bars across the province around the same time.  It's been a while since we last saw the ODB, so here's an old version of the label. We still got to make a few changes, but have a look see...

Now for the new beer...Twin Pine IIPA. That's right folks, we're finally brewing a double IPA!
Now as you know, we've had the Lone Pine IPA kickin' around for quite some time and dang if we didn't skip right to the triple IPA with this years release of 11.05.  But now we've decided to take a step "back" and finally release a double IPA.

Outside of the obvious reason that our double IPA would be called Twin Pine (twice the Lone Pine), there is a more...let's say, obscure reason we elected to dub this brew Twin Pine. Ya see, it's a nod to one of our favourite classic 80's Sci-Fi pics, "Back to the Future".

For all y'all not so up to date with the Back to the Future lore, here's the story of the Twin Pine. So, as you may or may not be aware, when Marty McFly (Michael J Fox's character) meets Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd's character) before his first trip back in time, they meet in the parking lot of the Twin Pine Mall. When Marty travels back in time he accidentally runs over one of the trees that the mall is named after.  Upon his return to the future, the mall is now known as Lone Pine Mall. See what we did there?  Take a look at the photo evidence...

Anyhoo, Twin Pine IIPA is of course going to be an excessively hopped ale bursting with the over the top hop aromas and flavours you've come to expect from Sawdust City. The plan is to have it come in around 8.8% ABV and 88 IBUs.  We will also be brewing this beer for the first time when we brew our 88th brew on the Sawdust City system. We maybe letting our geek flag fly a little here, but dang it, we are what we are!

Look for Twin Pine IIPA to be hittin' our retail store early to mid February and again, them same kick ass beer bars across the province should be carryin' it around the same time.

Anyhoo, that's just aboot it for now. Until next time, keep the beer in your mug and the sawdust beneath your feet.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Saisons Greetings From The Sawdust City Brewing Co.

Howdy Y'all, Season's Greetings to all y'all Citzens's out there! From everyone here at The Sawdust City Brewing Co., we wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.  2014 was just such a gosh darn exciting year, with tons of big ol' changes here at Sawdust City (ie...we FINALLY OPENED!) that we just wanted too thank all y'all for yer continued support! And well shoot, we ain't gonna just rest on our laurels either, we done got a whole slew of new and exciting things planned for 2015 as well.  So whilst I got your attention let me share a few of thems things with you now...

First off we done got the second beer in our "Saison du Masion" series comin' down the shoot in early January.  This one, well it ain't exactly a saison, it's a Biere De Garde.  But dang it, thems two styles aren't just so gosh darn closely linked, that heck we done felt that it twernt that big of a deal to have it included as part of the series. See Biere De Garde (or beer for "storing") is another farmhouse ale originally from the Northern region of France, right along that there border of Belgium. They done usually got brewed in the Winter or early Spring and tend to have a more malt forward body then their close cousin the Saison.

Back in the day, these beers were cellared or matured in the bottle for quite sometime before they was drank too. And at 8.5% our first foray into the world of biere de gardes ain't no different.  Lovingly dubbed "Le Chandail de Skokie" (or Skokie's Sweater) this ale is a rich amber biere de garde with a pronounced malt body and a spicy yeast finish.  Dry and easy to drink but warm enough to keep them cockles warm during the cold winter months, this beer can be cellared and enjoyed later in the year or drank now as a nice winter warmer.

Now some of you may be askin', "What exactly is Skokie's Sweater?", well if you is of a certain vintage and done hail from this here region of Muskoka, well heck, you know exactly what Skokie's Sweater is....but in case you forgot, take a look below at this here pic....

Skokie is a lovely ol' otter that done used to be the mascot for the local Winter Carnvival here in Muskoka. He sorta went away there for a while but now Skokie is back....and so is his warm, wooly sweater.  And as a nod to them heady days of our youth, them cold winter weekends spent entering snow sculpture competitions or icy bed races down the main street here in town, Skokie's Sweater is a liquid reminder of  just how much them days meant to us.  Some come early January pop by the brewery retail store and pick up a few tins of this canned conditioned Biere de Garde and take a drink from the past!

Next up we done got an ol' favourite comin' back, our big, bold Imperial Stout Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus.  And heck if this years version ain't just a little more bigger and bolder.  That's right folks, we done kicked it up a notch. In years past LDV was usually around 8.5-9% abv, but this year we cranked it up to 10...heck even 10.5!  Yep, this years version is comin' in at a hefty 10.5% abv...the voyage done got Longer & Darker.  Blacker that the vacuum of space and richer than Richard Branson, LDV is sure to please thems with even the stoutest of hearts. In case you done forgot, here's what she looks like in a glass...

Well shoot, I'm pretty gosh darn thirsty now!  But hold your horses folks, yer gonna have to wait just a little bit longer fer this interstellar beauty.  Long, Dark Voyage won't be ready til early January when it will be available in our on-site retail store and once again, on the shelves of yer local LCBO. So once that nasty holiday hangover has passed, head on out to the LCBO and look for CANS of our Long, Dark Voyage Imperial Stout (retailing for a very affordable $5.25 per 473ml tin)'ll done look somethin' like this...just more like a can...

Another thing we're workin' on in the New Year is a special collab with none other than Johnny Faye of the Tragically Hip!  Last week at The Griffin Gastropub in Bracebridge, I met up with Jonny and we brewed a pilot batch for this here collab.  It was a cold December afternoon, the Winter wind was blowin', the snow clung tightly to the patio, but heck if we didn't tough it out and get it brewed. Heck, it may've been the most Canadian I've ever been!  Take a look at this here photo...

Now like I done said, this here brew was just a pilot batch. We done brewed up a SMASH (Single Malt And Single Hop), with 100% Canadian 2-Row malt and 100% Mandarina Bavaria hops.  We done added a twist though, we done fermented this here ale with 4 different yeasts!  We wanna see how each one reacts and which one is gonna be the winner.  After we taste each one, we'll decide which one will be our beer for this years SESSION Toronto.  Stay tuned for more details!

Speakin' of collabs, on the exact same day, our intrepid brewer Aaron Spinney done collaborated with our best buds at the Indie Alehouse to recreate one of there favourite brews...a S'more Stout.  Havin' brewed this a few times at Indie, this was the first time it was brewed up here in Sawdust City and we couldn't have been more excited!  Brewed with Graham Crackers. rum soaked marshmallows, honey and vanilla, this is one big tasty brew!  Heck, they even roasted them marshmallows...don't believe...take a look...

Shoot, it done smelled just like summer time memories up in the brewhouse.  Heck, I don't think we can wait til the New Year for this one, I think we gotta get it out sooner!  So y'all can come by the Sawdust City Saloon, The Indie Alehouse in Toronto or look for this tasty brew at a kick ass beer bar near you this Holiday Season. 

Well I think I done covered just about everything there!  Oh, one last thing, if y'all are still lookin' for a special present for that certain hard-to-shop-for someone, come by our retail shop here in Sawdust City, we done got lots of unique gift ideas.  From glassware to beer soap, from tee shirts to clay mugs, we done got it all. Shoot, we even got beer too!  Our 5 core brands are always here and we still have a few bottles of Blood of Cthulhu Imperial Stout and a few cans of 11.05 Triple IPA still kickin' around plus cans of our Winding Road for 7km rye saison too.

Anyhoo, that just aboot does it for now. Until next time, keep the beer in your mugs and the sawdust beneath your feet!   

Monday, 17 November 2014

Greetings From Sawdust City

Howdy Y'all, so shoot, it's been quite some time since I last done posted anything on this here blog. But rest assured good folks, we're gonna start postin' again on the regular, we just done got caught up in some other opening a brewery!
That's right y'all, I'm sure it comes as absolutely no surprise at this point, but we're open for business here in Sawdust City.  The brewery doors are open and we've been slingin' pints down at the Sawdust City Saloon since way back in July.  Dang, it's just been so gosh darn long since we last conversed that I just wanted make sure y'all done did know that we were finally open.  It took the better part of three years and just about every stitch of patience we done did have, but gosh darn it, WE'RE OPEN!

So let me quickly bring y'all up to speed on what we've been doin' down here the past couple months. Since them first heady few weeks back in the warmth of the Summer, things have been movin' pretty darn fast 'round here.  Heck, we've already expanded and done added two new fermenters to our cellar, bringing the number of tanks up to 6.  And we've been busy doin' what we do best, releasin' a slew of new seasonals and ol' favourites.  Along with our 5 core brands which are available all year round, we've done pumped out four new beers since them doors popped opened.
First up was an ol' favourite of ours Red Rocket Spiced Stout.

We've done been brewin' this beauty for a few years now, but this is the first time it's been available at the LCBO.  That's right y'all, for just a paltry $3.25 you can pick up tins of yer favourite spiced stout at many LCBO locations across the province.  Just follow this here link and it'll show y'all what store have it and where you can pick it up. Dang, but ain't these interwebs just super fabulous.  This future is now!

Now here at Sawdust City, we done love our stouts, so we followed up Red Rocket with another seasonal stout The Blood of Cthulhu.  

Brewed with our good pals at BarHop in Toronto, this here stout ain't fer the weak of heart.  Weighin' in at big ol' 9.5% ABV and crammed to the brim with raspberries, cranberries & tart cherries, this stout done have just about everythin' yer be lookin' fer in a libation. Chocolate, coffee, fruity  goodness with a cheek ticklin' tartness, it's just aboot perfect for this time of year.  We still got some bottles available at our retail store, so pop by and pick some up before it's all gone!

Next up, we brewed another collaboration, the 2nd Annual Birthday Beer with Ryan Morrow of Nickel Brook Brewing. Dubbed the "11.05 Series", this year's brew was an 11.05% Triple IPA and dang if it ain't just that!  Big, bold hops done just about consume everythin' in this beer, with the booze just kinda lurkin' there in the weeds. 'Round here we just call it "Danger Juice".

Juicy as all get out, this brew will satisfy the inner hop head in all of y'all.  Simcoe, Citra and Amarillo hops bring plenty o'citrus to the mix, while we done balanced it with almost no malt character to speak of.  If y'all like the hops, then this here beer is fer you!  Now, we didn't produce a lot of this one, it done cost a lot to make...but we do have a few cans left at our retail store, so pop by and get some, cause it be movin' very fast!

Lastly we done brewed our first in a new series of beers here at Sawdust City called the "Saison du Maison".  Back when we was just plannin' the brewery, one of the original ideas was to produce a saison each season, Each beer would reflect the season and would change every year.  The first beer we done brewed a few weeks back was an "Autmn Saison" and is called, "Winding Road for 7km".

Now I know what yer gonna say, "well shoot that done look a lot more like Winter than Fall"...but gosh darn it, last Tuesday it was all yellows, browns and reds...then bang...Wednesday everything was white. Ol'Man Winter maybe a crusty, ol'fart, but dang if don't move quickly!
Anyhoo, this here "Autumn Saison" is a 7% Rye Saison, brewed with a heapin' helpin' amount of rye and fermented with a unique saison yeast strain.  It be a nice fortifyin' ale, loaded with a sturdy, bready malt body and burstin' with aromas of spicy yeast esters.  
Named after a Muskoka back road that connects Bracebridge to Gravenhurst, this is certainly a beer that celebrates this particular season. Brewed to celebrate that special time of year when yer mind is clouded in a fog of melancholy and nostalgia. The burnt yellow hues of the leaves are a stark reminder of the Summer long since past and the actual fog, that sits heavy just above the cold earth, is a haunting indicator of the Winter just ahead.  
It done just about be finished and should be ready in the next week or so. Look for it at kick ass beer bars near you soon, or pop by and pick up a few cans at our on-site retail store.
One other thing we done did with this batch, is we are actually "can conditioning" our saisons.  We really do like the mouthfeel of this traditional method of carbonation and we hope you do too!

One last piece of information to pass on is that everything be in cans now! Our Lone Pine IPA, which is back on the LCBO shelves is now in the 473ml can format.  And the cans are real purdy too! Take a look 

This here link will let you know where you can find it

Now that we all caught up with the past, here are a few things we done got comin' down the shoot here in Sawdust City.

This month we are workin' with the good people at Savvy Hops to bring our beer to a few lucky folks across the province ( We're sendin' out a case of beer that includes all our core brands plus the aforementioned "Winding Road for 7km". Subscribers can expect to see it at your door step by the end of the month!

Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus is comin' back to the LCBO! Yup, that's right y'all, our award winning Imperial Stout should be on the LCBO come January.  We'll be brewin' it real soon and you should be able to pick it up in it's new canned format by early 2015!  Are we happy about this? Darn tootin'!
Stay tuned for more details, as we have a few changes in store! Just keep followin' this here blog, our Facebook page, our Twitter feed or our Instagram page.

The next beer in our "Saison du Maison" series will be a Christmas Ale.  A big ol' Red Saison that should end up around 8-9%, it will have a rich malt body and will be spiced with orange zest and ginger.  We'll be brewin' it this week, so again, stay tuned for more details.

Anyhoo, that just aboot does it for now. Until next time, keep the beer in your mugs and the sawdust beneath your feet! 

Friday, 2 May 2014

Spring Has Sprung and the Festivals have Begun

Howdy Y'all, it's been a while since I rapped at ya, but like I've said countless times before, we've been very busy.  I'd love to tell you, right here and now, that we have a solid opening date set, but sadly, I can't. We're close though...oh, so very close. Floors are polished, walls are up and the brewhouse is in place...we just have all the finishing touches to put on our brewery before we are set to open. Please bare with us though as that announcement of a solid opening date is precariously close.

In the past 6 weeks, we've seen an amazing transformation of our brewery site. Walls have sprung up like weeds, steam piping has started to crawl through the building like ivy sprouting in Spring and our once shiny stainless steel tanks have been buried under the dust of a thousand odd jobs . It's really been quite astonishing. Every time I walk into the building it looks different and I get a whole new wave of excitement. So like I said, please bare with us as we can't wait to share the news of our opening with you.

In the mean time though, please let me regale you with tales of our impending festivals. That's right, good readers, 'tis the season for beer festivals! And like any good brewery worth it's salt, we got a bunch coming up. Now that Ol'Man Winter has finally released us from his crusty, icy and most hateful grip, it's time to let loose and tear into some sweet Springtime beers. You've earned it good readers, you've earned it.

First up, we got the annual release of our Springtime favourite, The Princess Wears Girlpants. A hoppy Belgian inspired Golden Ale, this 9.0% monster will help you quickly erase the horrors of the past winter. Loaded with mounds of Motueka, gallons of Galaxy and astonishing amounts of Amarillo, The Princess is the perfect way to kick off the Spring. It's been a long year since we last saw The Princess, to take a look at our fresh new label.

We made a few changes to last years label, cause this year folks, The Princess is heading to the LCBO! That's right good readers, fresh off a Silver Medal performance at the Ontario Brewing Awards, The Princess Wears Girlpants was selected to be a part of the Summer Seasonal program at the LCBO. Starting at the beginning of June and straight through til September, you'll be able to pick up a Princess and take her home! If you can't wait until then though, feel free to stop by a kick ass beer bar near you and find The Princess on tap. Just yesterday we sent out kegs of Princess to bars and restaurants from London to Ottawa and right across the Golden Horseshoe.  Happy Spring time good readers, your welcome.
Wait though, I forgot to mention on more thing. Before we kegged off our Princess, we stole a few liters away for another annual release, The Princess & Girlpants Meet the ODB.


Last week we filled 8 barrels with our Belgian Golden and we've put them into deep storage for the next 6-8 months. So come next September-ish, keep an eye on this here blog or on any of our social media sites for more info on this years ODB release. Last years version also took home a Silver Medal at the Ontario Brewing Awards and we expect nothing less from this years version. Until then, sleep tight sweet Princess. Sleep tight.
As for all those events and special occasions I told you we had coming up, first off we have a big date with Mr,Adam Stiles, Meteorologist at City TV.  On Friday, May 9th, myself and my trusty brewer Aaron Spiney, will be going on air with Adam Stiles to brew a very special collaboration for this years Session Toronto.  That's right good reader, you'll be able to tune into City TV and watch all the action. I can't tell you too much about the specifics of the brew, you'll just have to tune in and find out!  In the mean time, check out the website for Session Toronto and pick up your tickets cause they are goin' fast
Just over a week later on Monday, May 19th we are taking part in our first ever Brewer's Backyard at the Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto. That's right good reader, on holiday Monday, Victoria Day we'll be pouring some delicious brews for their Victoria's Secret Event.  Last week, Cass & Jon our hosts from The Brewer's Backyard, came up to Sawdust City and we brewed something really special for this event. Again, I can't tell you much about the details of this brew...cause it's a secret....a Victoria's secret, so you'll just have to come down to the Brickworks to find out. Keep an eye on their website for more details
Next up we have the Spring Beerfest hosted by our good friends at The Only Café. Friday, May 30th and Saturday, May 31st, Beerfest is a chance to shake off the Winter blahs, catch some rays on the patio and enjoy some great Ontario Craft beer. We're hoping to be launching a certain 4.5% awesomely hoppy Golden Beach Pale Ale at this fest, so come by and get your first taste of this Summer slammer. Peep their website for more details -
Just a few days later, on Wednesday, June 4th, we'll be taking part in one of our favourite events of the year, The Brewer's Plate Toronto. Pairing fantastic food with mind blowing beer, this is truly an elite event and one not to miss. Held at the CBC building in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Brewer's Plate is a gastronomic gorge fest. So after you've picked up your tickets, pack your appetites and notch a few extra holes in your belt, cause this event never disappoints.  Check out all the great chefs and top notch Ontario Craft Brewer's coming to this years event.  
A short 8 days later, we'll be kicking off OCB Beer Week with an event at BarHop in Toronto. On Thursday, June 12th, we'll be bringing a whole wack of crazy one-off beers to this Toronto hot spot for a "Kinda-sorta Tap Takeover".  I mean, we don't have 30+ beers in our arsenal to take over all their taps, but trust me when I say, there will be enough.  A few months ago, Rob and Matt from BarHop came up to Sawdust City and we brewed a very special beer just for this occasion, that along with a  number of other one-offs will be available for one night only. And just to top it off, we're also going to be taking part in a "Hop Talk" that night. That's right good reader's, while you sit quietly and sample some beers, you can listen to us drone on incessantly about our good looks and wonderful charm. Then if that's not enough, after we're done talking, you can chat with us, ask questions and hear us talk even more about ourselves. So come out to BarHop and kick off OCB Beer Week in style. 

The very next day, on Friday, June 13th, we're gonna be right in the heart of downtown Toronto taking part in Session Toronto.  That's right good reader's, this years Session Toronto is being held at Yonge & Dundas square. It's gonna be a wonderful celebration of craft beer at it's finest. With 30 breweries creating 30 collaborations available for one day only, this event is gonna be huge.  I've already posted the website, so be sure to stop by and pick up your tickets before their gone.
Then on Saturday, June 14th back home in Gravenhurst, we're gonna be taking part in the annual Gravenhurst Car Show.  For the third year in a row, we're gonna be the sole beer vendor available at this fantastic event and like last year, we're gonna be sponsoring the music stage.  We'll be breaking out our draught trailer for this event, so come down to Gull Lake Park and while you check out some beautiful cars, make sure to sample some beautiful craft beer.
Well that takes care of that. So as you can see, we certainly have our work cut out for us. Like I said, we're working really hard on getting the brewery open, but we still gotta get out there and hit the festival circuit.  Keep and eye on this here blog and all our social medias and hopefully you'll be hearing the big announcement soon enough.
Anyhoo, that just about does it for now. Until next time, keep the beer in you mugs and the sawdust beneath your feet.

Monday, 10 February 2014

The Evolution of a Brewhouse Floor

Howdy Y'all! So maybe some of you good folks out there on the information superhighway have been poppin' by our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and following our progress here in Sawdust City. I've been doin' my darndest to keep all y'all informed and up to date on how the build out at our little brewery is goin'. I know, I know, y'all are pretty busy, so maybe you missed a few of my (probably) too frequent updates, that's okay, I totally understand. But now, as our brand spankin' new floors are finally nearin' completion, I thought I'd give y'all a little pictorial tutorial on the evolution of thems floors.
So sit back and enjoy as I take you through each step in the evolution of our floors. From the very beginning, as our floors took those first steps and crawled outta the primordial dirt and went from a mere hole in the ground to a purdy shiny red technological marvel!  Alright, I maybe slightly over sellin' it, but like I've said's my blog, so deal with it!

 Okay, let's begin.

Here is our hole as it looked in the beginning

Not much more than a simple hole in the ground. In order to have a stronger base and to hold the weight of all our tanks (and the weight of those tanks full of beer!) we needed to scrape the dirt down a few inches and then compact the earth. Here's the back hoe scrapping down those precious few inches.

Once the earth was scrapped down, sprayed with water and then compacted with a giant "stamper" machine, rebar was fitted and the trench outlines were made.  The scraped down floor was also "sloped" so that once the concrete was poured, it would leave us with a gently sloped floor leading towards the drain for easy clean up of our brewhouse and cellar floors.

After all the rebar was in and the trench drains were outlined it was time to start pouring concrete.

Here are a few shots of the first few pours of cement...

It doesn't look like much now, but this ugly puddle off goo is gonna turn in fantastic lookin' floor!

One day after that mess of cement was poured...ta da! Here was our newly formed floors with the outlines for our trench drains.

If you look closely, you can see little pieces of rebar that have been bent and cut off. They are sitting on the edge of the trench. More on that later...

Here we see the floors being cut with a giant saw to release excess pressure and to stop cracks from forming. He used the saw to cut a number of incisions in the concrete from one end of the slab to the other. These small cuts will be filled with the epoxy later.

As the floors were being cut, these guys are taking those pieces of rebar and reattaching them through out the trench...

...which looked like this, after they have been reattached.

From there, wood was cut and then put in place to create trench forms for our brewhouse and cellar trench drain.

Here is what it looks like with after all the trench forms are in and the drain attached.

 After everything was in place, it was time again to pour more concrete. This last pour will go around the trench form, leaving us with our completed trench drain.

The next day after the cement had dried, the trench forms needed to be removed...

...leaving us with our new, fully formed trench drains.

Now that we had our floors and trenches, it was time to prepare them for the epoxy coating. Why the epoxy you ask? Well, during any given day, the brewhouse floors are bombarded with near boiling hot water, cold water, caustic and acidic chemicals along with spent grain, yeast and other by products of the brewing process. This takes a sever toll on the floor. And in order to protect the floor and give it a long, healthy life, a coating is placed on top. The first step was to "scrape" the floors. This would give them a rough surface which would help bind the expoxy to the floor during application. This machine was run over the entire surface...

Leaving our floors rough and ready for the application of epoxy.

Along with doing the larger surface, the trenches needed to be prepared too. Here they are getting into each little area to make sure everything goes properly.

Once the entire floor and trench drain were prepared, the epoxy was applied. They started with the foot walls around the brewhouse, cellar and packaging hall. Then they applied the epoxy to the trenches.

Next up was the packaging hall...

...then lastly the brewhouse and cellar.  And here it is, with the epoxy applied. It now has to dry and cure for at least 48 hours before we can put any weight on it.

 So there you have it folks, the evolution of our brewhouse floor. Pretty fantastic stuff if you ask me!  In the coming weeks, we'll have much more going on and hopefully I'll be able to share more build out information with you as we go along.  So keep an eye on this here blog, along with our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for daily updates.

Anyhoo, that just about does it for now.  Until next time, keep the beer in your mugs and the Sawdust beneath your feet!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Episode 2014 - A New Hope

As the rusty hinges of another year creak loudly shut behind us, we lean forward and reach out excitedly too turn the shiny door knob of a new year (expect in Vancouver where they've banned door knobs. Brilliant).  And as this passage way to a new year slowly opens ahead of us, we take time to reflect on what the past 365 days has brought us.

Here at Sawdust City, 2013 was a very busy year. The biggest news being that we finally purchased the building that will house our new brewery, retail store and eventually our own on-site restaurant. We began the process to purchase the space way back in February and finally in July the deal closed and it became official. Not only did we purchase the building but we've also started construction, getting it ready for the coming brew house.  Yes, the deal took longer than we anticipated, but in the end, it finally closed and we couldn't have been happier.  It's 20,000 square feet of home!  Finally we have a place to call our own, and as construction continues, the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter every day.

We not only got larger by adding a new building, but we also grew by adding another member to our small team. Early last year we hired a brewer to look after the day to day brewing duties at Black Oak. In April, Aaron Spinney joined our team and came on board as our Head Brewer.  Since then he's brought his passion for beer and his colourful imagination to the Sawdust City family, helping us too not only continue to grow but too have a fun doing it!

As the mercury continued to rise and summer quickly approached, we launched our very first beer at the LCBO. On May 17th our Lone Pine IPA went live on the shelf.  I can't believe it's been nine months...dang time sure flies, but it continues to sell well and we've been more than happy with the reception to the our first release.  So to all y'all that keep buyin' Lone Pine, thank you, we truly do appreciate all the support you've given us and we'll keep doin' our best to bring you a damn fine IPA.

In June, Rob and I had the pleasure of travelling to Norway to collaborate on a beer with a local independent brewery. Honestly, I never pictured travelling halfway around the world to brew a beer, but dang if it didn't happen. It's still kinda hush hush as the beer is still being developed, but all signs point to go and hopefully we'll see the beer hit shelves in Norway sometime in February. Both Rob and I are very excited and we're very hopeful our first international collaboration works out well. 

The rest of the summer was a blur of beer sales, amazing weekend festivals, tap take overs and events of all kinds. I could write entire blog entries on each event, but I'll spare you the gory details...just trust that it was fun.

The summer came to a close with our first seasonal release at the LCBO, our Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus, being shipped out to the warehouse.  Again, it took a lot longer to hit the shelves than we would've liked (almost 60 days in the warehouse!), but in the end we've been blown away by the response to LDV.  We sent just under 5,000 bottles to the LCBO and as of today (in just over 2 months on the actual shelf) there is less than 100 bottles left (so hurry and a grab some!).  Dag.  Again, to all y'all that decided to take the Long, Dark Voyage, thank you and we're gonna do our best to continue to bring you fun, great tasting, imaginative seasonal releases in 2014!

As Fall settled in and construction on our building continued, Rob and I travelled to DME in Prince Edward Island to have one final inspection of our completed brew house. It was fantastic to see it completed. After months of discussions and endless planning, to see it there, in all it's stainless steel glory was glorious.  All shiny and new...and finished. Dang, we were both over the moon. But then, as we hit the town to celebrate our new brew house, life, as it tends to do, brought us quickly back down to earth.  Something went wrong with our latest shipment of Lone Pine to the LCBO and we had to recall the batch. It was a monetary disaster, but we ultimately we couldn't afford to send this beer out.  This was definitely the low point of 2013. 

But each year has it's ups and downs, and as a whole, 2013 has been mostly up for the Sawdust City Brewing Co. And instead of wallowing in self pity over this misstep we quickly rebounded by brewing another batch of awesome Lone Pine IPA, releasing our next fantastic seasonal Kolsch'45 to bars and restaurants across the province and lastly by being the centerfold in TAPS the beer magazine (which was a ton of fun).

So 2013 ended in a flourish for the Sawdust City Brewing Co., and lookin' back, it was one helluva year! Sure it wasn't perfect but we made lots of new friends, had some ridiculous adventures, brewed some awesome beer and we got way closer to our dream of finally opening our doors in Gravenhurst.
2014 is shaping up to be pretty great too.

Firstly we got two new releases coming out very shortly, Bloody Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus a 9.7% Raspberry Imperial Stout and Futhered Muzzy, a 6.7% Belgo-Irish Brownish Ale. This last beer was a collaboration we did with Monty Bretin, winner of this years Mighty Mustache Competition at The Only Café.  Both are slated for home delivery through Amazing Clubs of Canada. You'll also be able to find them at bars and restaurants across the province.  Like I said earlier, we gonna continue to try and bring you some more fun releases throughout the year, but look for these two beers real soon!

Another thing we're very excited about in the new year is our new canning line coming at the end of February.  A brand spankin' new 12 head rotary filler from Palmer Canning - Beer Canning Lines ( Excuse my Fench, but it's the balls! We are very excited to add this new piece of equipment to the Sawdust City arsenal.  If you get a chance, pop by their website and take a look at it, like I's the balls!
To go along with our new canning line, we've been workin' on the art for our new cans as well, and I don't mind sayin'...but they are absolutely amazing! Our graphic guru Shannon has done a knock out job creating these new cans and Rob, Karla and I are so excited to show you them.  I can't show you them right now as Shannon is still finishing them up, but as soon as we have completed version, we'll be showin' everyone!

Lastly, and probably most importantly...our opening date. Construction is starting to ramp up and things are coming together at the building.  Our hope is to be open by Easter 2014. Now, if this past year has taught me anything, it's that things always take longer than you anticipated. Maybe it's the heady feeling of a new year though, but I'm extremely optimistic about this date and as of now, it looks like this is gonna happen.  (*crossing fingers*)

Anyhoo, that's about it for now. Until next time, keep the beer in your mugs and the sawdust under your feet!