The world of craft beer expanding in Eastern Ontario
It’s adored by some, loathed by others. Yet beer plays quite an important factor in the Eastern Ontario economy.
Beer is the world's most widely consumed alcoholic beverage, and the third-most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is thought by some to be the oldest fermented beverage. It is sold in bottles and cans and in pubs and bars and is available on draught.
Although hundreds upon hundreds of brands flood the market each year, only a small fraction of them, a whole 5%, are craft beers. These are made by small local breweries that pride themselves on the care and work they put into creating flavourful beers.
“The strength of Ontario Craft Brewers is based on a passion to rekindle and keep alive the spirit of traditional brewing,” explains the Ontario Craft Brewers website. “Throughout history, breweries have been an integral part of their local communities and the beer produced has reflected the pride, passion, and personality of the brewer and the community.”
Eastern Ontario is home to several small breweries, including Cassel Brewery in Casselman and Beau’s in Vankleek Hill. In addition, two new breweries will soon be opening in Embrun.
Closer to home, Rurban Brewery will soon join the region’s brewery family. One step into the microbrewery, who has yet to officially open its Cumberland Street location, and it’s easy to see just how busy owner Andy Rorabeck truly is.
“It’s half science half black art,” he admitted jokingly, managing a smile. “I can spend 10 to 12 hours a day here.”
As he checks a big tub containing a liquid he calls wheat sugar, he turns some knobs in one direction.
“My background in science has really helped me,” the retired science teacher said. “It has to do a lot with microbiology.”
The many big, stainless steel containers surrounding him all have names on them, etched in big black letters. “Those are the names of people who have passed away but that would’ve loved to have something to do with this.”
The microbrewery has been offering their beers to several local restaurants. “We offer four beers per season, four seasons of the year,” explained owner Andy Rorabeck. “It's a takeoff on a traditional German seasonal rotation of beers, which makes sense given our four distinct seasons, and lets us pay some Canadian homage to each. If there are enough requests for a particular beer, we'll make it. This is about making the good stuff, and having fun doing it, too.”
Rorabeck’s beers are available at Esca Gourmet Pizza, Truffles, Jet Set Pub, Schnitzels, the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Control Operations and Table 21.