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Friday, August 15, 2008

Two New Faces at Amsterdam Brewery

I received an email two weeks ago from Andre Klinker, a man I had once met at the Mill Street Brew pub and remembered him because of his deep infectious laugh, big physical frame and his intimidating black overalls.

He wanted to let me know that for the last three months he has been working as the new plant manager of the Amsterdam Brewing Co. Klinker, a man who's proud of his German heritage and his love of quality lagers, worked under Joel Manning with Mill Street and previously with other breweries both large and small. He has always wanted to run a brewery and when the opportunity presented itself at Amsterdam he knew he had to seize it. Manning, he says, taught him a lot about the brewing operation side of things, and although not a brewer by trade, Klinker knows what he likes in a beer and his slowly learning the beer making process.

One of his first items of business was to bring in a friend to be his brewmaster. Jamie Mistry, who was profiled here back in May, decided it was time to be more adventurous with his brewing skills and made the transition from Cool brewery to the Amsterdam location at Fleet and Bathurst.

I had the chance to catch up with the two lads down at the brewery last week over a couple of beers and we chatted about the changes that Klinker has planned for one of Toronto's oldest breweries.

Mistry is highly regarded and well respected in the Ontario brewing industry by his brewing counterparts and his name regularly pops up when discussing talented brewmasters. "I am really looking forward to tweaking some of the recipes to make them pop a little more and we are also looking at the possibility of bringing back some of the KLB brands like the Cream Ale and Extra Special Bitter," stated Mistry in the office he shares with Klinker. "I had a great time at Cool and I'm really looking forward to brewing more than lagers now."

Another one of Klinker's goals is to whip the aging building back into shape. For anyone who's ever stepped foot in the old factory you'd know the upstairs event centre, which is just a large open dull area. Klinker plans to get the ceilings painted, hang some local art on the walls, add more lighting to assist with the soft glow the large windows offer and eventually open it up to more events. It has so much potential for Jack N' Jills, stag's, receptions, art shows and the list goes on.

The downstairs reception/store is in line to be another victim of Klinker's make-over. Right now there is a bar, a fridge and another floating bar with draught lines for tastings. The large glass see-thru window offers customers the opportunity to watch the guys hard at work and teasing them by waving a glass of beer in front of them would be priceless. The concrete slab flooring could use a touch up and the fridge will be re-shuffled. With a high number of beer sales through the store, Klinker acknowledges that the area could use some sprucing up. They sell six packs, singles, twelve packs 25 packs and kegs through the store, along with t-shirts, hats and various other items.

Plans are also in the works to brew more beer, something that excites both men. "We have a great sales team that are doing a good job pushing our beer and we're gonna have to brew more to meet our plans," stated Klinker.

We sat and chatted about the industry, the OCB, new beer styles and more for over an hour and I left with the feeling that these two men are 100% committed to their cause. Its obvious that they both love their jobs and have fun doing it and customers hope it can lead the brewery in the best direction possible. "It really is a nice old building and with a little bit of hard work and patience we will make it even more welcoming to the public." So keep your eye on Amsterdam over the next year or so and watch their revamping in progress. It will be interesting to see if some of the KLB brands will see the light once again and I look forward to attending their first bash in their re-made event room.

For a full list of their beers, visit www.amsterdambeer.com. Please note, some beers aren't available in bottle format. They also offer brewery tours - $6 for a tour and 8 samples or $8 for a tour, 8 samples and a glass. They're open Monday to Saturday 11am-11pm and Sunday from 11am-6pm. They are located at 21 Bathurst street Toronto.

2 comments:

Zoran said...

I think it's wonderful to be so passionate about what you do for a living. We spend so much time working, we may as well enjoy it. Good luck to them.

Troy Burtch said...

Amen!

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