Here at BrewBrahs.com, we’re more than just ugly mugs with above-average hair; we’re also the guys that will dive headfirst into the craft beer community and ask the hard-hitting questions that flirt with wrong side of journalistic integrity.
The fellas over at Ottawa’s newest craft brewery, Dominion City Brewing Co., were kind enough to take the time to answer a few of our questions. Find the word-exchange below and clear your next few Saturdays so you can visit their new digs in beautiful Beacon Hill, and grab some of their brews. Enjoy!
BB: The beer scene in Ottawa has absolutely exploded in the last year, with even more breweries coming soon. Is there ever any fear that the market is getting too crowded or are the people of Ottawa still thirsty for more?
DCBC: We’ve got it in our heads that Ottawa is truly taking over the role as Canada’s national capital of craft beer. The fact that new breweries popping up continue to be quality-focused and producing exciting new flavours is only helping to fuel local interest in delicious beer. Despite what feels like a massive explosion, craft beer sales as a percentage of total beer consumed in Canada is still very small. We don’t have any doubt that as more and more people try full-flavoured, quality-brewed beer that craft consumption will only continue to climb.
One of the really cool things we get excited about is that as recently as a few years ago your typical craft beer drinker was probably a late 20-something male. Today you’re seeing more and more women and Boomer parents taking a real interest and demanding all kinds of new flavours.
At our opening weekend we had a couple in their 80s taking a selfie at the bar holding up a sample of our beer. It kind of rocked our world.
That’s a long way of saying, the craft is strong!
BB: Beyond your own start-up, are there any soon-to-be-open breweries that you’re excited about?
DCBC: We’ve had the chance to chat with the folks behind Bicycle, Waller Street, Whiprsnapr and Broken Stick and they’re all passionate about their projects. We’re pumped to try some when they get going!
BB: The Dominion City dream began over a couple pints at Vineyards Bistro; will they be carrying your beer, thereby bringing the story full circle?
DCBC: Great question! That’d be surreal! Currently we are on tap at Ottawa’s Beer Brothers Bistro, Bowman’s Bar and Grill, The Wellington Gastropub and Union 613. For now our goal is to make sure we don’t take on one more customer than we can consistently support so the plan is to grow slowly.
We’re pumped to see Dominion City on tap in more spots around town however, and we’ll be working on making that happen in the weeks to come!
BB: Give us the straight goods: is there actual marmalade in your Earl Grey Marmalade Saison?
Our original experimental batches included real marmalade. At our scale now that much pectin in a beer could produce some undesirable results so instead we’ve phased out the finished marmalade and instead brew it with a combination of pith and zest of more than 250 oranges per batch. We’re really pleased with how that slightly bitter, tangy orange aroma has been maintained!
BB: Was the Earl Grey Marmalade Saison inspired by Paddington Bear? He’s the best.
DCBC: Who doesn’t love a bear who rocks a peacoat and loves to get down on marmalade? The story on our Earl Grey Marmalade Saison started with Josh’s wife Margaux who makes her own delicious jam (Spread the Love Jams). Margaux made an Earl Grey Marmalade and we thought the floral, bergamot flavours were just begging to be paired with the estery, fruity notes in Saison yeast. The rest is history.
BB: Any other flavor of tea considered for this brew? Any weird combinations?
DCBC: We always knew we wanted to incorporate Earl Grey because of the citrusy, bergamot flavours. We experimented with a few different varieties before landing on Bridgehead’s Organic Earl Grey. It was rich and did the best job of coming through in all the right ways in the finished beer. We absolutely love incorporating local ingredients in our beers and it’s a theme we plan to come back to you again and again. Already we source hops from a number of regional suppliers and we’re working with a local organic grain farmer who has started micro-malting his own wheat and barley.
BB: Beyond the timeless Kenny Loggins masterpiece, “Highway to the Danger Zone“, what is the best song to brew to?
DCBC: That’s an easy one. Long brew days call for Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band’s “Night Moves“. Every time.
BB: If you could pick any brewery to do a collaboration with, who would it be?
DCBC: We’ve had a thought that it would be cool to do a collaboration with a brewery from both coasts and to brew it here in the national capital. We’ve got a few ideas that we’re holding close to our chest, but it’s something we’d love to do at the right time!
BB: Can we get a sneak peak at anything you guys are planning for your next release?
DCBC: We brewed a 3.5% ABV session ale that we plan to pour at the Ottawa Folk Festival in September. We called it ‘Working Lunch’ and while very light on the palette, the beer maintains enough body and juicy citrus flavours to satisfy. We’re excited to move into a couple one-off releases this Fall that’ll be on the maltier end of the spectrum and we’ll look forward to sharing more about those soon!
BB: Rapid fire! Just breathe deep and let the answers come naturally:
BB: Favourite Ottawa-brewed beer?
DCBC: Big Papa, Stock Pot Ales
BB: Favourite Canadian-brewed beer?
DCBC: Pandamonium Double IPA, Phillips Brewing
BB: Favourite American-brewed beer?
DCBC: Not The Stoic Quadrupel, Deschutes Brewing
BB: Favourite Internationally-brewed beer?
DCBC: Lion Stout, Ceylon Brewery
BB: Favourite big beer?
DCBC: Bellwoods Lambda Brett Barrel Aged Quad
BB: Well done!
Thanks to the guys over at Dominion City, not only for adding to the Ottawa beer scene, but also for the chat. Any friend of Night Moves is a friend of ours!