25 Sep Good Things Grow in Ontario
The jingle that unites our province – good things most definitely grow in Ontario, and it’s not just crops. With 233 operating breweries in the province, local farms, businesses, and organizations are supporting each other in the delicious and refreshing craft beer industry. Ontario has been supporting Muskoka Brewery for 21 years, and we know it’s important to play our part as well. Just as we’re giving back to our employees through Living Wage, we also support local businesses outside of our Brewery doors. Whether it’s the ingredients in our beer, like our all-Ontario Harvest Ale, or Muskoka Roastery’s Lumberjack coffee in our Shinnicked Stout, we try to include community organizations whenever possible.
But wait – let’s rewind here a little bit. All-Ontario Harvest Ale? That’s right! Harvest Ale has a special place in our hearts at Muskoka Brewery – it was the first seasonal beer we ever released back in 2009. When we started looking at ingredients for this year’s batch, we were excited to take a look in our own province. Embracing Ontario’s reawakening of hop and malt farming, we sourced local ingredients from Ontario producers. Our malts were harvested by Ontario farmers located in Belleville and Puslinch, Ontario, while the five hops in Harvest Ale were grown by the Tavistock Hop Company, in Tavistock, Ontario. We wanted to create a beer that recognizes the hard work our Ontario farmers put into each growing season; with Harvest Ale, there’s a connection to our province in every sip.
So, what’s the best place to try our all-Ontario Harvest Ale? Wherever you can enjoy it fresh of course! If you’re looking for an event in the heart of Toronto, you can sample Harvest Ale at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto on Saturday, October 14th for Evergreen’s FeastOn BBQ. FeastOn, a certification that recognizes kitchens committed to sourcing Ontario grown ingredients, is highlighting the creations of 10 certified chefs from local restaurants, all serving local menu items highlighting Ontario’s harvest season. We’ll be at the BBQ to curate custom beer pairings to go along with each food choice. Not to mention, there will be an axe-throwing arena, a fireside marshmallow roasting station, live music, beard grooming from our friends at Axe & Hatchet, and many more amazing activities. If you can’t make it out to Evergreen Brick Works, don’t fret – you’ll still be able to find cans of Harvest Ale at the LCBO, the Beer Store, grocery stores, as well as on tap at your favourite bars and restaurants. If you’re ever in doubt on where to find it, don’t worry, there’s an app for that – use our Beer Locator to find a can of Harvest Ale near you.
But wait, just like the Price is Right, there’s more! Ontario Craft Beer (OCB) Members from across the province gather every year for an annual conference full of education, the newest in brewing technology, and a chance to hang out with friends from the industry. To prepare, breweries around the province visited local hop farms for a special OCB one-off brew. Our Operations team and the brewers jumped into their cars on a Friday morning and ventured to Meaford, Ontario. (We should point out that we made a few pit-stops to local breweries on the way.) Once we arrived, we met up with the team at Highland Hop Yard to help with their Cascade hop harvest. We spent the morning educating ourselves on growing and harvesting hops, and by 10 a.m., it was time to start the hard work. From the hops harvested, Highland Hop Yard let us take a few pounds of hops home with us (including the ones shoved in our pockets because they smell so damn good). Once we got back to the brewery, our brewers got the pilot system boiling and the experimenting began. You could say we’re taking BYOB to a whole new level for this year’s OCB conference.
For more info on Harvest Ale, the FeastON BBQ, or our special OCB Brew, check out our website, and be sure to use our beer locator to discover great beer across the province: https://muskokabrewery.com/locations/.