How I Met Craft Beer – Brian

My first conscious craft beer purchase was a bottle of La Fin Du Monde on my 19th birthday in 1996 (yeah, I’m old) that I picked out because it was large, had a fancy-looking cork and was 9% ABV. For perspective on my drinking habits at the time, I probably spent the rest of my budget on some 32 oz bottles of Schlitz or some 6 packs of Laker.

This is the Very Glass of Beer that Made Me Want to Blog
This is the Very Glass of Beer that Made Me Want to Blog

My friends and I were confounded by the sediment and I literally said “WTF is this shit?” when I poured it into whatever clean glasses and mugs we had in our apartment. After tasting it (and feeling the effects of such a strong beer) however, I knew this was something special.

Continue reading How I Met Craft Beer – Brian

How I Met Craft Beer – Julie and Colin

Thinking back to about 15 or so years ago. It was the end of a long work shift in customer service.  One of those days where I just wanted to relax and hang out with my husband – vent a little – over a beer or two. I stopped into the Steamworks.

We lived in Vancouver at the time, and the Steamworks was a new brewery that opened in 1995 with the help of Brew Meister Shirley Warn. It was just a skip away from where I worked in Gastown. I had not been there before and I was meeting my husband so we could go to our regular spot and have a few pints of something or other on tap.

As I sat on the patio waiting the waiter told me about their beer selection and my eyes glazed over not really recognizing the names of anything. My husband usually ordered the beer when we went out, and he would get something Amber, Cream Ale or Nut Brown.  Until the waiter said “cherry” he had not really grabbed my attention.

I had never had a cherry beer and I thought – this might be something I would like – so I would give it a go!

When I got it, I was instantly delighted! It wasn’t the standard yellow or brown ale I was used to drinking.  It had a fruity tartness to it and I was surprised it was 8%. When my husband showed up he also tried the cherry beer and thought it was delicious.

This was my first real moment that I thought – beer could be something more. I started paying more attention to what  was being offered on the menu. When the waiter would tell us the selection, I usually would wait till he got to the bottom of the list, that was where the better stuff seemed to be.

I went back to the Steamworks every now and then after my shift and I tried the different selections they had on tap. A stout, Pale Ale, Wheat Ale and Nut Brown. I asked for the Cherry again, and was told it was a Seasonal and they had switched to a different beer.  A seasonal! Our minds were once again blown by a Pumpkin Ale.

Later on my husband got a job working as a bartender in a different place that had a selection of microbrews on tap. When I would go to visit him he would tell me about some of the different beers. We got to try some stuff from R&B Brewing, and Storm – to name a few. We would seek out different things at the liquor store and specialty beer stores like “Brewery Creek

We both became really interested in the different styles of beer and we wanted to know more about them.  We started brewing our own beers together and have learnt so many things since.  We have  often wondered how we have changed in the way we appreciate beer and if we were to try the same beers we did 15 or so years ago what we would think today. Would the beers taste the same, were they made the same way they once were? That being said we have undergone a significant lupulin threshold shift. Smile

How I Met Craft Beer – Matt

People sometimes ask if I’ve always been into craft beer, even when I first started drinking beer in university, circa 2001. The simple answer to that question is not at all. Back then, I strictly drank what was cheap and plentiful. Growing up in the Maritimes, I drank a lot of Alpine, Moosehead, and Keith’s. They were cheap, readily available, and most importantly, they got me drunk, which at 20 years old, was the obvious goal.

So what changed? I found my gateway beer! The brew that made me realize that there was more to beer then what the big companies were offering. Unsurprisingly, it happened by accident!

A friend and I got into the habit of popping into our local brewpub, The Pumphouse, to watch the hockey game, eat some delicious food, and drink pitchers of beer. Although they had a variety of brews to choose from, we always chose what we considered to be their “safest” beer – the one we felt was the closest to what we were used to.

One night, we sat down and ordered our usual pitcher of beer along with a couple of appetizers. A few minutes later, the waitress returned to our table with a sheepish look and a pitcher of dark brown liquid we didn’t recognize. She explained that she had accidently punched in the wrong beer. Instead of our usual she had brought us Pumphouse’s Special Old Bitter and that if we took it she would give it to us at 50% off. While we were hesitant about the beer, this was a bargain! So we accepted the offer.

We were suspicious since this was a dark beer and, after all, dark beer is what old men drank in the movies. However, at this point we had the beer, so we decided to give it a try… and it was delicious! I still remember how it tasted – sweeter then I would have expected with a kick of bitterness. It was surprisingly light and refreshing and went really well with the spicy fried pepperoni I was eating. I liked it so much that I ordered another pint of it after we finished the pitcher.

This started the ball rolling for me. Although I would still slam back my macros on weekends, during the week I eventually started venturing off the beaten path and became acquainted with Picaroons, Propeller, and Garrison, some other really great east coast breweries. I started expanding my horizons in regards to beer, and I haven’t stopped since.

Even today, with the craft beer industry booming, I still have a soft spot for that gateway beer I accidently received.

What was your Gateway Beer?  Let’s keep the conversation alive. Tweet me @mvp1331


Welcome to OttBeerBloggers

Who are we?

A group of friends who met via social media, bonding over our love of craft beer. We all have blogs though no two are alike. We each offer a different perspective making us a dynamic collection of people. We are men and women who like to drink, share and chat about beer. We discuss everything about beer from the ingredients to the final product. From the type of hops to the process of making beer we love to talk about it all. The group comes from very different backgrounds but great beer is what has brought us together.

Group - Brew Day 1
We Like Beer and Laughing. A Lot. Even the Members Not in the Picture.

This webpage isn’t about our individual blogs, though you can find links to them if you want to check them out too. This is about the things we do when we get together.

What sort of things do we do?

Well, we share beer that we have acquired. Some of us travel and we are always on the lookout for new and interesting beers. We all have different palates and enjoy discussing beer with each other.

We get together and do things like a Beerlympics where we pitted fifteen beers against each other in a blind tasting.

Most recently we brewed two batches of beer together and have plans for more in the future.

Next up we are doing a potluck of dishes from David Ort’s Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook.