This month we’re going Kingston-centric, Junior Rangers. We’ve got a couple of beer loving individuals who help make the beer scene in that great city what it is.
Name: Kathy Yan Li
Occupation: Day job in emergency services, but I help run Canadian Homebrewers Association and Canuck Cider Cup in my free time.
Beer of the Moment: R-100 IPA from Muddy York
The last time I stopped by a GTA Brews homebrew club meeting in 2019, I was on maternity leave and visiting from out of province. Lots has changed since then, including one more kid and a move back to Ontario, so it was really nice that the homebrew community was exactly the same as I left it—boisterous, inviting and inspiring.
While at the November 2022 meeting, I tried someone’s double cream ale (dangerously easy-drinking at 7%), yelled at a lady who brought in an apple wine (sweet apple juice notes with hints of caramel and just enough tartness to add some structure) to enter some of her stuff at my homebrew cider competition, schemed about running a Canadian Cider Days in the County, and learned a bunch about NEIPA (a style I have yet to brew) from Marcelo Paniza, who has his beer in the LCBO under Paniza Brewing.
The R-100 IPA was extremely tropical fruity, with hints of minerality, grapefruit pith and very little bitterness, with sweet highlights on the top of my palate. It was a great beer to start the night with as I eased into conversations and discussions with fellow homebrewers, that didn’t impede my palate for tastings of other brews later on.
I bought a six pack of it to take home.
Name: Sam Brown
Occupation: I, Sam, created the She Brews Beer company with tremendous excitement and desire to support our Ontario craft beer community. I have worked in a number of roles throughout the industry over the last 15 years. With the skills and knowledge I had gathered I felt confident that I could provide support with the essential needs of the community. Whether it is an extra hand for packaging, assisting with the release of a unique beer and recipe, or educating the front and back of house, She Brews is there for you. As She Brews evolves, the opportunities and the adventures to unfold are sure to be grand.
Beer of the Moment: A road trip I find myself taking often, is back to my hometown of Campbellford. A drive of the rolling hills and farmland, has now come to include (with great excitement) a few new breweries along its way. This has become the beer I have been enjoying at this moment.
Just opened August of 2022, stop one for me is usually Fogorig Brewing. They had spent over 2 years renovating and restoring the property here, which has resulted in a gorgeous space that only adds to this delightful pint stop experience. I usually grab their Barn Light Pilsner upon arrival; a pleasing pilsner that skillfully represents the style. If I want to mix things up a little though, their NEIPA, Wallace’s Revenge, is my other go to. Refreshing, smooth, hazy, with enjoyable juicy notes. You can’t really go wrong with the beer list here.
Touring on, I make sure to stop at Focal Brewing Co. Opened as of March of 2021, here you are greeted by cousins Matt and Brandon, eager to pour you a pint. Being a big fan of English beers, I loved the ESB they created this Summer. However, Focal really shines with their IPA creations. Particularly, it is their Faster Than Trouble Session IPA, smooth, light, citrus with hints of pine, that really impressed me. On the other hand, I also really enjoy their pale ale, Welcome To Ontario. The local offering they developed and produced with an all-Ontario bill of ingredients. I really love the vibe going on here, as well as their creative, unique approach for beer.
Overall it is the devotion and values these folks exude, the appreciation for the craft, the hands on approach of owners, the support for locals, and how that all translates into their well developed beers.. to say the least, the drive back takes a little longer than usual now. I really don’t mind.