During the Easter long weekend, a group of friends and I decided to drive up to the home of the Beau’s beer brewery. The 3-year old brewery is situated in Vankleek Hill, about a one hour drive east of Ottawa. While Lug Tread is their staple beer, they’ve successfully produced a couple of seasonal beers; an India Pale Ale as well an October Fest Festival.
Both seasonal sold out very quickly last year and hope to produce more this year. We had a taste of the India Pale Ale, coming out on April 24, and it is delicious. In Ottawa, it will only be available at Pub Italia and Play. They will also be offering a special brew for summer festivals only – so keep an eye out on the festival curcuit this summer.
You may wonder why Beau’s does not offer its seasonals at the LCBO or Beer Store. Well, it’s apparently because it takes a year for the LCBO to accept new beers. WHY? I have no idea…
Apart from being able to purchase Beau’s in beautiful porcelain bottles and giant glass jugs, you can also take a free tour of the brewery. So, of course, we did.
Beau’s is famous for its Lug Tread,a crisp, light lagered ale. We got a great tour of the brewery, including an explanation of how the beer was made and samples at each step of its production, from the “baby beer” or kinder beer, when the beer is still sweet and not very alcoholic, up to the finished product. We also got to witness the rather labour-intensive method of bottling both jugs and bottles by hand.
Unfortunately, it looks like the brewery will be trading in those beautiful ceramic bottles for glass sometime in the near future. Given that Beau’s has to comply with LBCO policies on deposit and returns in order to sell there, they aren’t able to charge a sufficient amount to insure that the ceramic bottles, which come all the way from Germany, are returned in sufficient amounts. The plan is to offer seasonal beers in the distinctive vessels, while keeping the standard Lug Tread in normal bottles.
In addition to free taste tests and bottle talk, we also got a bit of history on how Beau’s came about. The building where the brewery is now used to be a leather factory, which was forced out of business like much of the Ontario textile industry. To keep jobs, the owners decided to transform the place into a brewery and to produce their beer. They had the idea, but not the brewer. The stars aligned for them when their lawyer just so happened to know a brewer, that had just moved outside Vankleek Hill. And that is how Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company started.
All in all – it was a great trip. Offered some great insight into the beer we’ve been enjoying for the past couple years. It you can’t make it out to Vankleek Hill – take time to enjoy a crisp pint and take pride in this local craft beer success story.