Capital Pint by Travis Persaud is generally published every second Thursday at OttawaMagazine.com. Follow Travis on Twitter @tpersaud.
Big Rig Brewery is truckin’ along faster than even they imagined.
Last week the Ottawa brewpub, about a month shy of its first anniversary, walked away with four Ontario Brewing Awards — gold for their Champion Pilsner, silver for their Schwarzbier, bronze for their Big Rig Gold, and Newcomer of the Year.
“Awards schmawards!,” brewmaster Lon Ladell said before the awards were announced. “It’s all about the creative side for me, making beer the way I feel it should taste. Then I get to see people drinking it, and they’re happy. That’s what it’s about for me.”
After the big win, however, Ladell expressed nothing but gratitude, mentioning the awards were nice but winning new brewery of the year was the big highlight. The moment acted as a natural break for Ladell, allowing him a breather before the oncoming whirlwind.
This week they released a special growler in support of Ride For Dad, and next week you’ll find Big Rig at the LCBO. “We’ll be in 25 LCBOs in Ottawa,” Ladell says. “We’re going in with our Big Rig Gold in the 6x355mL format. Ottawa only has one other microbrewery in the LCBO right now [Kichesippi], so it’s exciting to be here as the market is exploding.”
Although the market is exploding, it’s still in its infancy compared to Victoria, B.C. where Ladell is from. Known for his brewing days at Spinnakers, a well-regarded brewery and Canada’s oldest brewpub, he spent 17 years directly involved with the beer and restaurant industry in Victoria. And then he moved to Ottawa in 2010.