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Better Know A Beer City Part 9 - Sydney, Australia

Better Know A Beer City Part 9 - Sydney, Australia

Editor's Note: Part 9 of our Better Know A Beer City series comes all the way from Down Under. Hannah Pigram currently resides in Sydney, Australia, originally coming from a small country town in New South Wales located very close to the border of Victoria with a population of 7,000. Having moved to The Big Smoke to study sports business, Hannah secured a job for a company that designs and sells packages and tours for people to attend sporting events and festivals domestically and internationally. One of the highlights of the job is of course the travel, and Hannah has been to places such as Hong Kong, Brazil and New Zealand for both Rugby Union and the FIFA World Cup. The next exciting step for Hannah is a move to the UK for 12 months to be a tour guide throughout Europe for her organization's London based company. She's excited about the water draining clockwise for awhile, to take as many side trips as possible to experience craft beers from around the world!

When in Sydney it is customary to take a ferry ride around the harbour and fight the masses to get the best selfie with iconic sights like the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Luna Park. Or you may want to head to Bondi, Coogee or Manly beaches for a refreshing swim and the burning Aussie sun.  And no, Manly is not home to steroid-pumping bodybuilders or men with puffed out chests starring in an upcoming David Attenborough documentary, rather a beautiful Northern Sydney suburb with a classic beach lifestyle and the best chilli chocolate ice-cream you will ever find.

Now I am going on the assumption that not many of you have made the journey across the Pacific to the land down under but put it off no longer as the Sydney craft beer scene is an experience you cannot miss. Below I have some of the favourites that are a must for all beer enthusiasts.

Better Know A Beer City, Part 8 - OAKLAND

Editor's Note: Part 8 of our Better Know A Beer City series is the fine wordsmithing of one Kevin "Papa Bear" Hyde. Kevin was the college supervisor of co-founders Robby & Chris during their time working at the College of William & Mary's Student Phonathon, where the pair first met. So in a way, Kevin is the papa of The Virginia Beer Co. But his nickname has nothing to do with that... It's an understatement to say that Kevin is a gifted writer and in addition he is a fellow entrepreneur. From his control center in California, Kevin spends his free time designing 100% corduroy athletic wear and running Yorktown's own Virginia Beet Co. 

The town of Oakland sits right across the Bay from the city of San Francisco, and it’s probably best known by most people as the home of the Raiders and A’s and Warriors. It’s also known, perhaps by lingering (but untrue) reputation, as a place with a lot of crime. It’s near Berkeley though apart from Berkeley, and it is, in some ways, a subtle urban echo of the better known and more expensive SF. But Oakland is its own thing: a proud town, at once simple and complex like many communities, and in feel very much unlike the increasingly inaccessible city across the Bay. And the beer scene here is fun and thriving and intriguing, like a lot of things in Oakland.

There are breweries in and around Oakland and there are more than a few beer-specific bars. Breweries first. In Oakland proper, there’s Linden Street Brewery (LSB)—the oldest Oakland brewery, Line 51, Oakland Brewing Company, Independent Brewing, and Ale Industries.

Cornhole at LSB

Linden Street is a sort of archetypal craft brewery—small, charming, and run by nice folks who love making, drinking, and talking about beer. And there are major chops in the beer-making at Linden Street: their beers are pretty superlative, and they have an American pale ale, Hop Candi, that’s delicious and not as forward or hop-hot as a lot of pale ales (which I like; I’m not super into the hop brinkmanship that seems to come and go in the craft beer world). They do a nice pilsner with their New Oakland Glow and their Urban People’s Common Lager is fun, refreshing, and friendly. When I last visited, they also had their Can’t Fail Cream Ale (which has some rice in the brew, I was told), which had good flavors, and their Russian Imperial Stout (a seasonal), also a highlight.

Linden Street beer lineup

Line 51 operates a little differently than Linden Street. For one, it doesn’t have a taproom or physical location quite like LSB, but it distributes its beers to select bars throughout Oakland, Berkeley, and Alameda (the little island that sits close to Oakland). Line 51’s tight connection to Oakland’s beer bars is no accident—the brewery is named after the Oakland bus line that owners P.T. Lovern and his wife, Leti, used when they were (responsibly) doing their market research at bars around town. So what Line 51 may lack in physical presence, it more than makes up for in the quality of its beers and its support of great local bars. The brewery’s Red Death imperial red (below, right) is sort of bonkers—totally delicious and totally intense, this beer is a treat and it has some bold malt flavors. Their One Inch Punch IPA (below, left) has a subtly sweet beginning and exceptional hop flavors like LSB’s Hop Candi (again, without overdoing it) and it’s a nice beer to have with a pub dinner. One of my favorites of Line 51’s beers is Leadoff, a blonde IPA that’s also a baseball-season seasonal; the tap has the green and gold of the A’s, the beer itself is awesome, so, you know, it doesn’t really get much better.

Independent Strawberry Blonde Ale

Independent T 'n H Wheat Ale

Independent Brewing, which is primarily owned by Stephen McDaniel, is sort of an offshoot of Oakland Brewing Company, inasmuch as McDaniel is an owner and brewer at OBC. Independent has a very nice space in Oakland’s Jack London Square—a recently revitalized area of the town that’s seen a big influx of cool restaurants, bars, art galleries, and the like. Independent’s taproom is laid back, family friendly, and comfortable; more importantly, their beers are amazing. The day my girlfriend and I visited, they were pouring a couple small-batch beers and we sampled their Strawberry Blonde Ale and the T ‘n H Wheat Ale, both of which were wonderful. The Strawberry Blonde was delicious—dangerously drinkable—and had wild transitory flavors. The T & H wheat was also really impressive, sweet and bready taste at the start, then gently bitter, with another change towards a smooth finish. McDaniel reportedly uses Independent to produce more experimental beers (there was a spicy stout on tap when I visited, which is apparently truly hot, and there were a few sours too).

Although I’ve tried and loved Independent’s beers, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of sampling any of OBC’s beers, and that is mostly due to the sheer number of new and new-ish places here that cater to beer lovers. In the past few months, there’s been a few more additions to the Oakland/Berkeley/Alameda beer scene, and it seems as if breweries and beer bars here open in clusters of two and threes (not a bad thing):

  • Fieldwork Brewing in Berkeley is new and awesome--they have a nice space and the beers I’ve had from them have been exceptional too (though it was only a quick tasting and I didn’t take notes so I can’t offer any kind of nuanced opinion except Fieldwork’s beers = delicious).
  • Faction Brewing in Alameda seems like it’s blowing up—and with good reason, since their beers are fantastic. I’ve had both their Anomaly Milk Stout—one of the only beers that’s made me say “Wow” aloud as it’s settling after the pour and then again after the first sip—and their Oatmeal Stout, which was balanced and nicely sweet and somehow felt restorative as well. Faction has an emphasis on variety too—they brew what seems like a thousand different small-batch beers, which is pretty incredible.
  • Ale Industries in Oakland has wonderful beers too and I know this mostly from word of mouth, though I have had their Cherry Kush beer a few times and fell in love with it—it’s light, fruity, and pleasant. I’m looking forward to visiting their tasting room and trying more of their stuff.
  • Ghost Town Brewing in Oakland is super-new and seems to be building out their presence, much like VBC. The brewery offers three beers, all of which sound really cool, and I hope I get the chance to sample them soon.

This is all to say that there is a lot of brewery-related activity in Oakland, like there is in most of the U.S., I suppose, and that means that there are a lot of great options for anyone looking for new beers to try and new tasting rooms to loiter around.

As for beer bars, I have a couple favorites here, and while some of them are on my list for both objective and sentimental reasons, all of these places serve good beers and you will have fun while within or even while merely adjacent to their premises.

The Trappist, which is the first beer bar I heard about when I moved to Oakland in 2013 and the first one I visited, has an extensive draft menu, with a front bar, a back bar, and a patio bar. It’s situated in Old Oakland, which is turning into one of the most beer-centric areas of the city. This place offers an astounding range of Belgian and Belgian-style beers, plus some others that you won’t see at many other places. It’s got a great atmosphere—very quiet, for the most part, or quiet enough that you can have a good conversation—and the bartenders are always courteous and knowledgeable. My girlfriend and I had our first date at the Trappist and so I harbor a deep love for this place, though I have had zero luck in convincing them to install a bronze plaque at the back bar in our honor—such is life. The Trappist is simply one of the best bars in Oakland and so a necessary stop if you come here and want to drink good beer. (There’s another location called The Trappist Provisions in a different neighborhood in Oakland, but I’ve never been there so I cannot vouch for it, though it’s supposed to be great too.)

Beer Revolution is about four blocks from the Trappist and it is a little beer library. Beer Revolution serves beers that are, to put it weirdly, Brigadoon-esque: beers that you have never encountered and may never encounter again. Beers that come from every municipality and village and unincorporated area in California and beyond. I have had beers here that I did not think were physically possible to brew, and beers that frightened me with their fine style and powerful power. I exaggerate, of course, but just barely. Beer Revolution is the place to go for hardcore beer lovers--anyone who’s added and reviewed, like, 30,000 distinct beers on Untappd or who has a jaded palate that can only be roused to wonder by the most sublime or extreme flavors. It’s a fun place! It’s got a sweet porch out front and limited seating inside, and it’s a little loud, but you go to Beer Revolution mostly to drink insane beers, not to discuss the finer points of German expressionist poetry (for instance).

Perdition, in Berkeley, is a barbecue place with a great beer list. It only opened a year or so ago but has made itself a reputation as not only a great restaurant but a great beer bar too. Perdition serves transcendent barbecue, let me get that out of the way first; it is so good that you will want to eat it forever, which is probably medically inadvisable. It may not be the best barbecue in all of America—I will leave that judgment to men and women who are more comically serious about their chewables and comestibles than I—but it is really very good and excellent and outstanding. Plus Perdition is like a mini-Beer Revolution in its approach to keeping a long list of all-star CA beers (and out-of-state beers too) on draft. You can’t go wrong at this place. I promise that you will enjoy Perdition. It’s right in the heart of Berkeley too, so you can go walk around and take in Berkeley in all of its sweet lovely Berkeleyness.

Come visit Oakland! Without overselling it, let me just say that it is the finest town in the world, a place where you’ll find cheerful people, lusciously verdant public parks, clement weather, friendly animals, and the best beers you will probably ever drink.

Better Know A Beer City, Part 7 - Philadelphia!

Better Know A Beer City, Part 7 - Philadelphia!

Editor's Note: Part 7 of our Better Know A Beer City series is the work of one David R. Gwyn, friend of the brewery. David has been enjoying craft beer in Philadelphia for years and has led Team VBC on multiple bar crawls (i.e., research tours) through the city. Along with his fiancee Katy, David operates Chateau Bainbridge, a boutique hotel open only to invited guests of significant stature. David has world-class tubing skills, maintains a strange love of Mules, and much like his hero Frank Reynolds prefers his beer out of soda cans or water bottles. For his next trick, David is planning to perfectly recreate Bradley Cooper's dance routine from the climactic scene of Silver Linings Playbook at his 2016 wedding. 

Philadelphia is listed third on the New York Times"52 Places to Go in 2015." It’s just behind Milan, Italy, and Cuba.  I’ve lived in Philadelphia for three years and there is nothing that would have made me put it in any spot on the 52-location list, so I had to assume foul play.  However, after a brief Internet search, I wasn’t able to find pictures of any of the article’s producers wearing Eagles gear.  Therefore, it’s safe to say there wasn’t any bias in this list.

All joking aside, Philadelphia’s craft beer scene is on point...

Cheers To Williamsburg(s)!

We had the pleasure of attending a Visit Williamsburg (VA) event in New York City earlier this week. It was a wonderful occasion to discuss the many awesome things happening in Williamsburg, from the history to the amusement parks to the food and drink. It was a well-timed event, because soon after Yahoo! Travel dropped the gauntlet for the Williamsburg smackdown:  Willilamsburg, VA vs. Williamsburg, NY. We may be partial...

"As with its Brooklyn counterpart, it’s all about hops here, too. AleWerks hosts brewery tours and features beer from a 17th-century recipe you can sip at reopened Chowning’s Tavern in the Colonial part of the town.

And while Virginia is becoming well-known in the region for its plentiful wineries, including the picnic-ready Williamsburg Winery, breweries are making their stamp, too. Both the [The] Virginia Beer Company and the Williamsburg Distillery are set to open later this year."

- Ko Im, History or Hipsters — Williamsburg, Va., vs. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y.

So much going on in Williamsburg, VA! While we clearly have our loyalties, any time we're mentioned in the same breath as AleWerks Brewing and the The Brooklyn Brewery, we're more than happy to continue researching the match-up. And hey, if the end result is a bearded Thomas Jefferson wearing a flannel tricorne hat, we'll drink to that!

Better Know A Beer City, Part 6 - Ithaca!

Let's continue our tour of Central New York! Located at the southern end of Cayuga Lake, Ithaca is commonly known as the home of Cornell University. Just like Winnipeg, the harsh, windy, snowy winters mean it's probably best to save your visit for the summer season (I admit that I have never visited Ithaca between Labor Day and Memorial Day). The residents of Ithaca are rewarded for their hardiness with a spectacular summer and a wide variety of really good craft beer!

I visit Ithaca at least once a summer. In the summer of 2012 I spent seven weeks living on Owasco Lake (the Finger Lake just to the east of Cayuga Lake), and at least once a week I made the 40 minute drive to Ithaca to visit Ithaca Beer Company. I was almost disappointed when their flagship IPA, Flower Power, began appearing in the Williamsburg area. I always looked forward to my first taste of that beer each summer! Everything they produce is first class - I am especially enamored with Cascazilla (a hoppy red ale), Green Trail (another IPA), Cayuga Cruiser (a Berliner Weisse), and the Embrr Rye Porter. The views from the restaurant and the outdoor patio are stunning. There is nothing better than a pizza and one of the aforementioned beers (or something from their five barrel pilot system) on a beautiful summer day!

My favorite craft beer bar in Ithaca is definitely the Ithaca Ale House. Located just off of Ithaca Commons, a two-lock pedestrian mall that runs through downtown, the Ale House has twenty rotating taps featuring a mix of beers from small New York State brewers and bigger, well-distributed breweries like Bell's, Great Lakes, and Founders. The food is excellent - do not leave without trying the Buffalo Chicken Spring Rolls! Another Ithaca favorite is The Chapter House, which offers 49 taps and a good mix of Cornell students and regulars. In my experience, at least half of the drafts are from New York State craft breweries. Bonus: there is free popcorn. All the time.

Ithaca Coffee Company's Triphammer location.

Ithaca Coffee Company's Triphammer location.

Set aside a solid two hours if you plan to do some beer shopping while in Ithaca. The largest beer shop in the region, Finger Lakes Beverage Center, is worthy of at least an hour of that allotment! Like many great beer stores, it doesn't look like much from the parking lot. The interior will blow you away. Beers are organized by region and are all available as singles. There is a fairly even split between warm storage and cold storage and all of the local breweries are well-represented. There is also a 12 tap growler filling station at the front of the store. The other beer stores worthy of a visit include both Ithaca Coffee Company locations. The Triphammer location offers 12 draft lines and a great selection of packaged beer, while the Green Street location pours 10 draft lines and has a similarly excellent selection. The taps aren't just for filling growlers - have a beer while you shop!

The Ithaca region is home to a multitude of great breweries, including Horseheads Brewing, Cortland Beer Company, Bacchus Brewing Company, Rooster Fish Brewing, and the aforementioned Ithaca Beer Company. The quality of the beer is matched by the quality of the beer bars and beer stores in the area. Tack a visit to Ithaca onto that Syracuse trip!

Better Know A Beer City, Part 5 - Syracuse!

I have a confession to make: I love Syracuse, New York. This is definitely an uncommon, and for some reason unpopular, declaration. While it's true that Syracuse has felt the effects of suburban flight and the general decline that has come with the shuttering of multiple types of industry in Central New York, it still maintains a unique charm common in small to medium-sized cities in the northeastern U.S. 

My first experience with Syracuse came when I started visiting my wife's family in the Finger Lakes during high school. Syracuse was the closest airport to Owasco Lake and, at that time, even supported a direct flight from Hartford, CT. We never ventured into the city for anything - it was aways straight to the lake and then straight back to the airport. When I started working in New York City I was offered the chance to represent our firm during campus visits to Syracuse University. On three separate occasions I flew to Syracuse and spent a couple of nights at the Sheraton located a few blocks from campus. 

During those visits I began to appreciate all that Syracuse has to offer, including, you guessed it, beer! Faegan's Cafe & Pub is just a short walk down Marshall Street from the Sheraton. It's not much more exciting than your standard college bar, but it does offer about 20 taps of pretty decent craft beer. I recall trying my first Middle Ages Brewing Company beer while eating there in 2008 - a Swallow Wit. A couple of my other favorite bars in the city include The Blue Tusk and Shifty's. The Tusk has almost 70 taps and is generally regarded as the best beer bar in the city. Shifty's offers 25 taps and the second-best wings in Syracuse. 

Where can you find the best wings in Syracuse, you ask? Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, of course! The original (and best) of the ten locations is located on West Willow Street only blocks from Clinton Square. Drafts like Ithaca Cascazilla, Middle Ages Smoked Porter, Southern Tier 2xIPA, and a rotating high-octane selection offer something for everyone. I clearly recall arriving at Dinosaur after a 4 hour nonstop drive from Massachusetts in the summer of 2010 - the Southern Tier Hop Sun passed over the bar was one of the most satisfying beers I've ever had. My extremely high opinion of Dinosaur might be biased by the fact that my parents hosted a wedding rehearsal dinner for my wife and me on the second floor in the summer of 2011, but I promise that you will not leave disappointed!

My second-favorite place to eat dinner and enjoy a beer in Syracuse is Empire Brewing Company in the bustling Armory Square neighborhood. Empire, which is in the process of opening a farmstead brewery in nearby Cazenovia, offers 10 to 12 taps of beer brewed right behind the bar (seek out Downtown Brown or Local Grind). The menu is also fantastic - don't miss out on a side of the Blue Corn Bread. The most well-known Syracuse brewery is likely Middle Ages Brewing Company, which has been producing English-style beers in the city since 2005. It's worth a visit to the small tasting room to try a few of the 12 or so different offerings. My picks would be the Highlander Scotch Ale, Wailing Wench, and the Old Marcus ESB.

I've found beer shopping to be somewhat limited in the Syracuse area, but I have always enjoyed visiting Brilbeck's Corner Market on Avery Street in the Tipperary Hill neighborhood. The Wegmans Grocery stores located in the area typically have decent beer selections as well. If a 35 minute drive doesn't seem too daunting, head west on NY-5 to visit D & L Truck Stop in Auburn. It's by far the best selection in the area, and even has a growler filling station with 8 pretty amazing drafts. Speaking of easy trips from Syracuse, scenic Skaneateles is located less than 30 minutes away and offers great craft beer at both The Sherwood Inn and Blue Water Grill. A one hour drive southeast of Syracuse brings you to the town of Hamilton, the home of Colgate University. Be sure to check out the beer selection at the Colgate Inn and make a visit to the Good Nature Farm Brewery & Tap Room just a few short blocks away!

Be sure to add a visit to the Syracuse region to your future travel itinerary. I can assure you that finding good beer and good food will not be a challenge! 

Better Know A Beer City, Part 4 - Roma, Italy!

Better Know A Beer City, Part 4 - Roma, Italy!

In mid-October my wife and I joined her family for an eight-day jaunt through a land of great pasta, pizza, wine, and...BEER! Before this trip I had last visited Italy in 2007. While I had certainly begun my craft beer journey by that time, I wasn't quite as obsessed with seeking out great beer while on vacation. We spent time in Milan that summer and had our fair share of Peroni and Moretti (both widely available here in the United States). As I learned during this most recent visit, that was a huge mistake. Italian beer is so, so much more than those two export brands - in fact, much like the United States, Italy has seen an explosion in craft beer production since the early 2000s. This BKABC will be split into two parts covering both Tuscany (Florence & Siena) and Rome. Now for the finale: Better Know A Beer City, Part 4 - Roma, Italy!

We departed Siena early on a Thursday morning and arrived in Rome around lunchtime...

Better Know A Beer City(s), Part 3 - Florence & Siena, Italy!

Better Know A Beer City(s), Part 3 - Florence & Siena, Italy!

In mid-October my wife and I joined her family for an eight-day jaunt through a land of great pasta, pizza, wine, and...BEER! Before this trip I had last visited Italy in 2007. While I had certainly begun my craft beer journey by that time, I wasn't quite as obsessed with seeking out great beer while on vacation. We spent time in Milan that summer and had our fair share of Peroni and Moretti (both widely available here in the United States). As I learned during this most recent visit, that was a huge mistake. Italian beer is so, so much more than those two export brands - in fact, much like the United States, Italy has seen an explosion in craft beer production since the early 2000s. This BKABC will be split into two parts covering both Tuscany (Florence & Siena) and Rome. Without further ado, here is Better Know A Beer City, Part 3 - Florence & Siena, Italy!

We arrived in Rome on a Saturday morning and jumped on a bus that took us directly to Florence. Our first meal in Italy was at Obika, a mozzarella bar that serves great pizza and has a small but impressive selection of craft beer...

Better Know A Beer City, Part 2 - Winnipeg!

Happy Canada Day! Although I failed to mention it in my introductory post, I am in fact a proud Canadian. Some of my best memories from childhood are from my family's annual trip back to Toronto in late June. We would spend Canada Day at The Weston Golf & Country Club, where we would alternate between golf, curling, tennis, and road races for a good portion of the day. The day was always punctuated with a huge buffet (poutine, anyone?), a spirited version of "O Canada," and a patriotic display of red and white fireworks. Canada Day celebrates the confederation of Canada through the enactment of the Constitution Act in 1867.

Unfortunately I was too young to be thinking about beer at that time, and now I find it harder and harder to make time for trips back to Canada. I would really love the chance to spend more time visiting the breweries popping up all over the country (especially in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia) - there is truly excellent beer being produced in the Great White North. Canada and its citizens have also been excellent supporters of the American craft beer industry. Canada is American craft beer's largest export market by a long shot. With shipments increasing 93% by volume in 2013, the country now consumes almost 47% of total exports (131,511 of 282,526 barrels). Also, much of the barley used by craft brewers is grown in Canada!

The Manitoba Coat of Arms, granted in 1905 by a Royal Warrant of King Edward VII. 
The Manitoba Coat of Arms, granted in 1905 by a Royal Warrant of King Edward VII. 

A few months ago I made my first trip to Canada since 2011. I departed from Virginia, passed through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and finally arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba! Winnipeg (aka The Peg) serves as the capital city of the prairie province of Manitoba and contains over 60% of the total population of the province. While it is impossible to overstate how cold Manitoba can be in the winter (Winnipeg's daily mean temperature in January: 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit), the plentiful lakes and rivers throughout the province make it a fantastic place for summertime activities. It's also not as far away as Americans might think; Winnipeg and New York City are actually the exact same distance from Chicago.

The craft beer industry in Winnipeg isn't as mature as what can be found in major beer-producing provinces like Ontario and Quebec. Some recent law changes have spurred new growth, however, and there are now plenty of options to satisfy the curious craft beer consumer. My favorite brewery in Winnipeg is Half Pints Brewing Company, which opened in 2006 and now produces just under 30,000 BBL of beer annually. Half Pints beer can be found throughout the Prairie provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, for you non-Canadians) and, as of a few months ago, in Ontario and British Columbia as well. When I visited The Peg I very much enjoyed Little Scrapper IPA and Stir Stick Stout, two of their year-round beers. The seasonal Humulus Ludicrous (a big, hoppy Double IPA) was also outstanding. They can all be found in bottles at the government-controlled Manitoba Liquor Marts found throughout Winnipeg.

The elusive Manitoban Land Whale.
The elusive Manitoban Land Whale.

I managed to visit two excellent craft beer-focused restaurants during my stay in Winnipeg. Barley Brothers, which opened in late 2013, pours more than 50 drafts from Canadian, American, and even Italian craft breweries. The wide selection of beer nicely complements the upscale bar food offered at what the owners call "Winnipeg's Only Craft Beer Pub." The more established craft beer bar in town is Luxalune Gastropub, which features over 150 bottles and 8 draft lines. The tapas-style food is consistently delicious and pairs well with the Canadian craft brews that fill the taps and the beer fridge. The owners have plans to open a new "Estate Brewery" where they would brew their Farmery Premium Lager using their own barley crop. The beer is currently brewed under contract at the Muskoka Brewery in Ontario. 

I anticipate that the craft beer industry in Winnipeg, and all of Manitoba, will begin picking up steam in the coming years. There are already a few openings planned, including Portage Ave. BrewWorks and Kitchen, which will be Winnipeg's only brewpub once a proper space can be leased. I encourage you to visit The Peg and enjoy everything it has to offer, craft beer-related and otherwise. Just make sure that your trip is scheduled for somewhere between May and September!

RVA Beer Tour

I've already waxed poetic in a previous post about the advantages of becoming members of the Brewers Association (or BA). Even before The Virginia Beer Company is up and pouring, we've learned a vast amount from our peers in the industry. I can say in earnest that our time as members of the BA up to this point hasn't been a boondoggle – the exposure to our future vendors and the networking opportunities have more than paid for the annual fee to be members. 

One such networking opportunity came up in early May of this year. Chris and I have been lucky enough to get to know Michael Felberbaum over the past months. Michael is an Associated Press writer who covers tobacco, autos, technology, business, craft beer, and general Virginia news. He’s also an avid hockey player, a subject along with craft beer and the Commonwealth of Virginia that is close to VBC’s heart! Michael was kind enough to invite me and Chris up to Richmond for what turned out to be...