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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Meet Andrew Kohnen: Hockley Valley Brewery

Meet Andrew Kohnen, brew master for the Hockley Valley Brewing Co. and producer of Hockley Valley's four beers: their signature and delicious Dark Traditional English Ale, Stout, Georgian Bay Dipper Ale and Hockley Gold (for certain licensed accounts).

How long have you been working in the brewing industry?
Since 2001

How many years as a brewmaster?
I've been the brewer here at Hockley since 2003.

Where were you before Hockley Valley?
All over the place really. Prior to brewing, I was an Operations/Logistics Manager for a computer hardware/software distributor for nine years. I woke up one day realizing that this was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life - so I resigned, sold up my meager possessions and moved to Europe where I spent the next two years working, studying and brewing my way across the UK. I finally made my way to Germany to visit relatives and seek possible employment at the old family brewery (sold in the 60's darn it!) that still carries my mothers maiden name. After a few months I came home to get some paperwork done that would make it easier to work and live in the UK while helping a friend plan and set up a brewery adjoining his restaurant in Stonehaven, Scotland - but ended up staying here at Hockley.

Tell us something not many people know about the brewery.
It started off as an idea to be a Scotch distillery.

What's new at the brewery?
Georgian Bay Dipper is our newest release - made especially for the summer crowd. It’s an easy drinking, light bodied, hot weather quaffing ale.

Are the cans still individually crimped by hand?
No, but even though the process is automated there is still a lot of hands on work involved.

What is your favourite Hockley Valley beer?
Hockley Dark - it was my first original recipe for Hockley, based on two styles that I loved in the UK - a midlands mild and a Northern Brown ale.

Provide your thoughts on the Ontario brewing industry.
People are gradually taking note of the fine products that we as craft brewers are creating. The maxim "People drink the way they vote - like Dad taught them" is slowy giving ground to the realization that there are fresh, local and unique alternatives. People have embraced the notion that Ontario wines are among the best in the world and are now willing to give beer its due.

What is your favourite beer style?
I am partial to two extremes - sour reds and lambics and immensely hoppy, bitter IPA's.

Where is the best place to have a beer?
Anywhere that accentuates the experience.

Best time for a pint?
When mood and circumstance permits - safety and responsibilty first!

What is your ideal food and beer pairing?
Schweinshaxe (oven roasted ham hocks) and sauerkraut with a Gleumes Altbier. Could you get any more cliché?

Name the highlight of your brewing career?
Working, under the watchful eye of my great uncle - well, a photo of him - at the brewery that was once owned by my mothers family back in Germany.

What is your favourite non Hockley Valley beer?
Rodenbach Grand Cru

Hockley Valley is located in Orangeville, ON at:
25 Centennial RD.
Units 9 - 10
Orangeville, Ontario
(519) 941-8887

1 comment:

Zoran said...

The day I read the interview, I visited my local LCBO. I was positively surprised to find both Hockley dark and stout were available. I haven't tried them yet - I'll probably start celebrating the long weekend with them

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