Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Creemore Brewery Teams Up with Stadtlander Farms

Any opportunity I can get to spend a day up north, is an opportunity that I don't have to put much thought into. Especially based on the circumstances surrounding the invitation I received from Christine Mulkins who is a public relations spokesperson for Creemore Brewery. I was invited to participate in a day of beer and food at the lovely Creemore Springs Brewery located in the heart of the picturesque village of Creemore.

I showed up to the Summerhill LCBO by 9:30 to board a bus with other Toronto food and drink writers and was promptly greeted by Christine with a box full of Starbucks coffee and muffins. We jumped on the bus for the two hour drive north and arrived just shortly before noon to a village full of snow mixed with a glowing sun. Creemore is home to 1200 citizens and would be great setting for a Norman Rockwell painting.

We gathered inside the retail store and were met by Karen Gaudino (manager of sales and marketing), Ian Freedman (CEO of Creemore Brewery) and Gordon Fuller (Brew-master). Gord proceeded to tell the group about the history of the brewery and how it has played a vital role in the development of the village. I have profiled Creemore before, but I'll provide a few of highlights.

Creemore Springs Brewery was created in 1987 by a man named John Wiggins as he transformed an old hardware store into a brewery. It became very successful during the craft beer renaissance in the late 80's early 90's. So successful in fact that they caught the eye of Molson/Coors which purchased the brewery in 2005. Karen states that Molson has let them operate in the way they always have only stepping in to help with production and distribution. Since the purchase, Creemore has doubled their capacity and now sells draught lager in Alberta and Quebec. "Other than providing us with more money for marketing and helping distribute the beer, Molson has left us alone and the beer HASN'T changed one bit," stated Gaudino.

With that said, he guided us through the brewery stopping along the way to explain the brewing process, tell the story of Creemore beer and answer any questions that members of the group had.

The brewery was in the middle of canning their Pilsner so we were able to watch the employees hard at work, knowing we would be enjoying the fruits of their labour in a short time. Gord took us to the fermentation tanks and poured a pitcher of their winter URbock for all of us to share. Delicious and fresh. Gord informs us that all three beers that Creemore brews, all contain the same yeast profile, the same hops (with the exception of the pilsner) but use different malts for each beer.

From here we proceed upstairs to the event/boardroom to feast on some delicious creations prepared by the sons of the famous Chef Michael Stadtlander from Stadtlander farms. They prepared a four course meal that was paired with a different Creemore beer. Four Creemore Beers we say??

The first offering was some smoked salmon with a creamy dill sauce that was paired with an unfiltered Pilsner, a beer you can only try at the brewery. It was nice and hazy with good head retention, a little bitterness and worked beautifully with the salmon.

The next course featured a Georgian Bay Whitefish, Potato and Cabbage soup with the regular pilsner included in the sauce. Obviously, the pilsner was matched with the soup and cut through the sauce wonderfully. It was a great match.

The third course was amazing. Smoked pork in a Creemore Lager gravy along with a veggie tart. It was matched with the traditional Creemore Lager. The caramel in the skin of the pig matched the caramel flavours created by the malt in the beer and complimented each other to a tee. The carbonation in the beer was a great palate cleanser and blended with the gravy magnificently.

The dessert was the last course and my favourite. Home made ice cream with glazed peaches, apples and raisins in an URbock beer cream sauce. It was paired guessed it, the URbock. Great pairing.

The day concluded after Karen thanked us all for making the trip to the brewery. She reminded us that with the holidays approaching, beer and food go together so well that this year would be a good year to experiment with family and friends. We boarded the bus for the ride back to Toronto with full bellies and large smiles, as well as with a slew of swag and free beer the brewery provided.

It was a beautiful day in Creemore with the snow falling acting as a perfect backdrop while we dined like Kings in the warm historic brewery.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the wonderful write up about Creemore! Have a good week.

Christine said...

Hey Troy - I was also on the bus to Creemore and blogged as well. Check out my take on it on my blog The Foodie-file. And I agree yummy pig!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if there are any ontario outlets that do 'beer for a year' arrangments - similar to that of some wineries in Niagara on the Lake?

Troy Burtch said...

Anonymous - I have not heard of such a business; however, I would wholeheartedly support one.


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