BEER: It’s what’s for dinner!

This article is part of the Ottawa Magazine 2014 Eating & Drinking Guide,  on newsstands now until Spring 2015.


It’s time to give beer centre stage on your dining table. Instead of grabbing something from the Vintages section tonight, wander over a few aisles to see what’s brewing. The beer section at the LCBO features creative styles packaged with sharing in mind. Here, a primer on great sharing bottles to get your evening started right.

CAPITAL PINT: Clocktower Brew Pub, Ellis Valentine, and bubble gum beer

Capital Pint by Travis Persaud is published regularly at Follow Travis on twitter @tpersaud.


Former Montreal Expos player Ellis Valentine visits The Clocktower Brew Pub

We’re just a few days away from opening day of the 2014 Major League Baseball season, and The Clocktower Brew Pub is getting in on the action.

Tonight, The Clocktower in Westboro hosts Ellis Valentine — former Montreal Expos right fielder and all-star — who’s in town to help raise funds for the Miracle League of Ottawa ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays’ two exhibition games in Montreal this weekend. And they’ve created a beer in his honour.

Clocktower brewmaster Patrick Fiori brewed Valentine 17 Ball Park Beer for the occasion. He wanted it to have a bubble gum flavour, but wasn’t sure if a Belgian-style beer would produce the profile he desired. So, instead, he bought a ton of Hubba Bubba gum to include in the brew. The result, Fiori says, is a beer that carries that signature gum flavour with pride.

Valentine 17 Ball Park Beer launches tonight at The Clocktower in Westboro during Valentine’s special appearance from 6 to 9 p.m. A portion of all proceeds will support the Miracle League of Ottawa. The beer will be tapped on March 28 at all other Clocktower locations.

CAPITAL PINT: Beau’s LCBO brewery feature

Capital Pint by Travis Persaud is published regularly at Follow Travis on twitter @tpersaud.


Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. releases four new bottles as LCBO’s spring brewery feature

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. drops four brand new beers into the LCBO this week.

The Vankleek Hill brewery, which just wrapped a successful FEBREWARY, was selected as the LCBO spring brewery feature — the first Ontario brewery to get this special placement throughout the province.

“When we found out that we were going to be the brewery feature we knew we wanted to do something special,” says Beau’s Creative Director Jordan Bamforth. And by special, he means a year-long process of creating four brand new beers — all barrel-aged and bottled conditioned — complete with special packaging. “First we did a couple of long-aged beers,” he says. “The Old Ale was aged in rum barrels and the Wheat Wine was aged in chardonnay barrels; both for more than a year.” The Ginger Beer spent some time in rum barrels as well, and the White Pepper Saison was aged in red-grape ice wine barrels.

“And we created a unique wrap for each bottle,” Bamforth says. “It’s like each bottle is gift-wrapped, and they all have custom labels.” When planning a theme around the release, Bamforth says they took inspiration from ancient Mesopotamia as the beers “seemed like they were otherworldly.” The result is a naming scheme as unique as the other elements of this special LCBO release. (Click on each below for full tasting notes and background information.)

Gilgamesh (Old Ale, 8.9%)
Siduri (White Pepper Saison, 10.2%)
Sargon (Ginger Beer, 6%)
Ashnan (Wheat Wine, 9.8%)

Bamborth says the brewery feature is supposed to last three months, but don’t expect these to stay on the shelves for that long. “We brewed one batch of each,” he says. “So there’s about 7,500 bottles spread between [29 stores].”

Visit or to see which stores are carrying this limited edition series.

CAPITAL PINT: Beyond the Pale gets more barrels (makes more beer!)

Capital Pint by Travis Persaud is published regularly at Follow Travis on twitter @tpersaud.

X and X. Photo by Rémi Thériault

Shane Clark and Rob McIsaac, Beyond the Pale co-owners. Photo by Rémi Thériault

Two words summed up Beyond The Pale’s first week. “We’re fucked.”

It was a simple and honest assessment by brewer and co-owner Shane Clark, and everyone agreed.

“That was our motto,” says Robert McIsaac, co-owner of Beyond The Pale. “‘Well, we’re fucked!’ Everyone would just look around and nod.”

The Hintonburg brewery sold out their entire stock of beer during their first week of operations — a surprising and overwhelming feat for the then-tiny 900 sq. ft. brewhouse. And it hasn’t stopped.

“Do I remember? Well, yeah, it happened last week!” McIsaac says.

To say the little brewery at 5 Hamilton Ave. has experienced more than anticipated in its first year is a bit of an understatement. And by the looks of it on their Facebook page, it has resulted in many a high-five. Here’s the brief recap:

  • They outgrew their space. “We knew it would be a squeeze, but we’d thought we would be okay for a couple of years,” McIsaac says. “[But] within three months we punched a hole in the wall and doubled our size.”
  • They brewed way more than expected. “I didn’t think we’d have so many beers released by this point,” says Clark, who has pushed more than 20 styles out of the brewery. “I didn’t think we’d be able to sell that many different types of beer. It’s surreal.”
  • They veered well off of the original plan: “It’s been very dynamic,” McIsaac says. “We continually reassess as needs come up. And we’re still learning to gauge the market. We didn’t know how many people would drink Imperial Super Guy. People crushed it. Same with our sour beer, we sold everything we bottled on the first day.”

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CAPITAL PINT: Beer and chocolate pairings for your next dinner party (or Netflix binge)

Capital Pint by Travis Persaud is published regularly at Follow Travis on twitter @tpersaud.

Two years ago Rochef Fournier of Rochef Chocolatier in Gatineau released a line of World Cocoas.

While tasty and delicious, what most intrigued customers were the suggested pairings for each type. Each package outlined how to best pair the chocolate with wine, cheese, and beer — an element that sparked Rochef’s latest venture.

Philippe Wouters created the recipes with Rochef

Philippe Wouters created the recipes with Rochef Fournier.

“People really liked the pairing aspect we included with the chocolate,” says Rochef. “But we painted ourselves in a corner because we just suggested one or two types of beer. Now, we want to do the opposite — create a chocolate that can be paired with tons of different beer.”

Enter Cuvée Gambrinus, a new line of four premium dark chocolates (70 percent cocoa) specifically designed to complement beer.

“There has been chocolate made with beer, but never chocolate made for beer,” says Philippe Wouters, beer expert, author, and honourary Knight of the Belgian Brewers Association, who created the recipes with Rochef. “All the customer needs to do is choose what type of taste or sensation they want to experience, and pick the appropriate chocolate.”

Skeptical? Don’t be, he’s a knight. A knight! Be nice and he may just sweep you off your feet for a magical horse ride along the Ottawa River.

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CAPITAL PINT: Brew Donkey delivers craft beer across Ottawa

Capital Pint by Travis Persaud is published regularly at Follow Travis on twitter @tpersaud.

Brad Campeau composes adventure. The 33-year-old entrepreneur opens Brew Donkey — a liquor delivery service (LDS) with a focus on local craft breweries — later this month.

The idea is simple: You give him money and he will bring you beer from Ottawa-area breweries, including Ashton and Cassel Brewery, both of which usually require forethought before visiting. But there’s one local brewery he won’t be partnering with — that’s Beau’s. “I will direct people to Beau’s BYBO and let people know about Operation Come Home,” he says. “I love what they’re doing and I’m not going to step on that. (Ed. note: Yeah, he’s kind of a sweet guy.) But we’ll deliver from every other brewery in the area.”


Brew Donkey’s Brad Campeau. Photo by Katy Watts/Ottawa Beer  Events.

While Brew Donkey will make deliveries from the LCBO, this is primarily a preventative measure to ensure the business isn’t seen as having an arrangement with specific breweries. Campeau’s main focus is delivering beer direct from the manufacturer to your doorstep.

For you, the customer, Brew Donkey is fairly straightforward:
• A delivery will cost $12 for up to nine growlers, or the equivalent amount of beer in other formats, with a $6 overage charge tacked on for anything above and beyond. (A growler is 1.89 litres, pick up a calculator and do the math if you need to, Einstein.)

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CAPITAL PINT: Whitewater Brewing Co. enters Ottawa

Capital Pint by Travis Persaud is published regularly at Follow Travis on twitter @tpersaud. 


whitewater-1Whitewater Brewing Co. will make their first appearance in Ottawa this weekend.

The Ottawa Valley brewery, about an hour and a half northwest of Ottawa in Forester Falls, opened its doors this past summer to a very warm welcome. “Currently we’re selling out every week,” says Thompson, one of Whitewater Brewing’s three owners. “I would say for a lot of people in the Valley [drinking our beer] is a learning curve, it’s tough to move people from Blue and Canadian, but everyone loves to support local guys trying to do something new.”

And now they’re ready to give Ottawa a taste of what they’re brewing. They’re one of the eight breweries on the bill for the last Brewery Market of the year at Parkdale Park on Oct. 20. They’ll be pouring all four of their beers — Farmer’s Daughter (blonde ale), Whistling Paddler (English style ale), Class V (IPA), and Midnight Stout (oatmeal stout) — to give us a sneak peak before they start popping up on taps across the city.

“We should be rolling into [Ottawa] bars and restaurants by Christmastime,” Thompson says. “I can’t say where, just yet, but we’re talking to places that prioritize local food and that have similar ethical values as us.”

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CAPITAL PINT: Top fall beers from Ottawa’s brewmasters — plus a few regional picks

Capital Pint by Travis Persaud is published regularly at Follow Travis on twitter @tpersaud. 

As the leaves turn to deep shades of orange, red, and chestnut, Ottawa’s brewmasters create autumn brews that match this beautiful occurrence.

Here we highlight a handful of local fall seasonals — pumpkins are still very popular! — as well as a few LCBO entrants worth checking out. And, as these are limited releases, make sure to check each website for bottle availability and tap locations.

Clocktower_Pumpkin2Beer: The Pumpkin
Brewery: Clocktower
Brewmaster: Patrick Fiori

If you’ve been around Ottawa for a few years then this beer shouldn’t be new to you. The venerable brewpub — which recently opened their retail business, selling growlers from their Glebe location — is once again releasing their popular pumpkin beer. It will be available starting Sept. 27, but you can preorder your growler(s) until Sept. 25. Fiori says that so far the presales for The Pumpkin have surpassed the number of total growlers they’ve sold so far. So hustle up and head to to secure yours. And, they’re adding a new twist this year. “The number of pumpkin beers coming out is crazy,” Fiori says, “so the only way to keep up is to make different pumpkin styles.” Fiori will be making a pumpkin stout as a special Halloween beer that will be available a few days before Oct. 31. “The pumpkin really works well with stout flavours,” he says. “And each location is only going to get one keg, so once it’s gone, it’s gone!”

Beer: Extra Special Bitter (ESB)
Brewery: Big Rig
Brewmaster: Lon Ladell

This beer falls into Ladell’s top three all-time styles. “John Mitchell, the pioneer of craft beer in Canada, brewed this as his first batch at Spinnakers Brewpub [in Victoria, B.C.], and it was the first commercial batch I ever brewed, so I’ve always felt connected with this style.” Ladell says the U.K. hops (East Kent Golding and Fuggle) balance well with the Ringwood yeast, creating fruity esters with floral, caramel, and bready notes. “This is as traditionally English as we can get it,” he says. “It’s perfect for the fall.” Ladell is also brewing a pumpkin porter at Big Rig this fall, complete with lactose to bring in the creaminess of whipped cream on top.

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CAPITAL PINT: Beau’s reveals a surprise Oktoberfest beer

Capital Pint by Travis Persaud is published regularly at Follow Travis on twitter @tpersaud.


glassIt’s going to get a little steamy at this year’s Beau’s Oktoberfest (Friday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 5).

The annual Bavarian-themed party in Vankleek Hill is one of the last moments in the year to enjoy the outdoors sans snow and ice covering every last inch of the ground. It’s become one of the must-do fall activities. And, as Creative Director Jordan Bamforth says, “We’ve stepped it up this year.”

Beau’s Oktoberfest: Friday Night is the Night!

The musical lineup alone is worth the trek out east. Internal brainstorming and some help from Spectrasonic’s Shawn Scallen landed Kathleen Edwards, The Sadies, Young Revival, and The Balconies — and that’s just the first night. (It’s also the only night with available room. Saturday is at capacity. Bamforth assures us there won’t be any “oops, we accidently forgot we had this skid of tickets” tickets for Saturday. Begging, screaming, and other theatrics won’t get you in, either. The moral of this story is: buy tickets for Friday night.)

But don’t be bummed out. “Friday is my pick for the festival,” Bamforth says. “You’ll have the first crack at trying all the beer and there will be more elbow room.”

Beau’s Oktoberfest: Surprise Beer Revealed

Oh right, the beer. Beau’s released the list of the nine beers they will be serving weeks ago, but have kept the last one a secret. Until now.

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CAPITAL PINT: Stock Pot Ales transforms The Wellie into a brewpub

Hey, it’s the namesake stock pot: when three employees, who double as home brewers, approached Waldron and Deraiche with the idea of turning the gastropub into a brewpub, it made complete sense.

Capital Pint by Travis Persaud is published regularly at Follow Travis on Twitter @tpersaud. 

The Wellington Gastropub didn’t have this in the master plan.

For the past seven years co-owners Shane Waldron and Chris Deraiche have built a loyal following on the foundation of quality food, stellar service, and that not-quite-definable atmosphere that makes you want to end the night with a big group hug.

Housemade elements dominate the kitchen. Vinaigrettes are made in the kitchen; bones are used to create stock. So when three employees, who double as home brewers, approached Waldron and Deraiche with the idea of turning the gastropub into a brewpub, it made complete sense.

Raw ingredients: It all starts with the grain.

“It falls into the artisanal philosophy, of doing things homemade,” says Adam Newlands, one of the brewers behind the newly minted Stock Pot Ales brewery. “It heightens the experience [at the restaurant].”

Newlands and Edwin McKinley, servers at the Gastropub, and Nathan Corey, who’s a bartender there, have been home brewing for years.

(Newlands actually got his start when he was taking an Ancient Science and Technology class. “Everyone was making catapults [for the class project],” he says. “I decided I was going to make some booze — water, honey, yeast, and time, and I had mead.”)

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