By Jordan Duff
Beau’s All Natural Brewing and Great Lakes Brewing are two veteran breweries that have been at the forefront of Ontario’s beer resurgence. Fittingly, they are co-brewing the feature beer for the Terroir Symposium to demonstrate to the tourism and restaurant industry that beer deserves a seat at (or on?) the table along with high-end culinary food and drink.
Alex Whitlow, GLB Events and Partnerships Manager, sees this particular event as the perfect platform to elevate the status of beer. Plus there is a strong fit with the concept of local. “Beer isn’t necessarily the main focus here,” Whitlow explains, “Beer is a complement for this event. Because the beer industry is full of humble and modest people, this is an event where they can really elevate beer and their creations.”
The term terroir refers to the environmental aspects, like soil or climate, that impact a crop—be it grapes for wine or hops for beer. The name evokes respect for the environment a product comes from.
Working with these themes, Beau’s and GLB’s collab-creation is an all-Canadian Belgian-style table pale ale. The beer is brewed with Canadian organic malts plus Ontario organic wheat, Ontario-grown organic hops, and fermented with yeast from Ontario’s Escarpment Laboratories. For those not attending the event, the beer will be available at Beau’s in Vankleek Hill.
Creating an all-local beer for this event is important because it allows the breweries to promote craft beer and highlight the quality ingredients available right here. Whitlow explains why this style was a perfect choice, “We wanted to do something accessible but still highlight the quality of the ingredients of themselves.”
Highlighting the ingredients is an interesting angle because that side of the brewing world has seen recent growth as well. As the beer industry has expanded in recent years, so too has its supply chain. Local maltsters, hop-farmers and yeast wranglers are springing up across the province. Beau’s brewmaster Matthew O’Hara sees the resurgence: “Hop growing in Ontario had all but died out completely before the rise of craft brewing. The hop industry in Ontario has really begun to flourish in the past decade or so.”
The Symposium brings together so many food and tourism industry professionals. Breweries have become a big part of both worlds.
Melissa Loomans, Beau’s Marketing Manager says: “Ontario craft breweries are a supplier to hospitality, and also a tourism draw on their own. Savvy restaurateurs and hoteliers know that attention to their craft beer line-up is just as important as their wines these days,” says Loomans. “Having a real relationship with your local craft brewery as a supplier is satisfying, drives the local economy, is generally better for the environment, and ultimately delivers a better dining experience for the customer. And because local craft breweries attract tourists who also need food and accommodations, supporting each other makes a ton of sense.”