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.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Meet Canada's Pub Guy: Bill Perrie

Bill Perrie is Canada's Pub Guy. Years ago while doing an on air radio show, Perrie was given the moniker after completing an epic journey from coast to coast, stopping at pubs of all shapes and sizes along the way. Over the years he has penned three pub guides (Pub Guide to Ontario, Ontario's Best Pubs and Canada's Best Pubs) along with another colourful book about some Ontario Craft Breweries. He is a strong supporter of all things related to beer, both on the national and regional level, and a proud member of TAPS: Canada's Beer Magazine where he writes, sells advertising and stands in front of the camera.

I recently asked Perrie a couple of questions about his love for pubs, his experience traveling the nation and what project he is currently working on.

How many pubs have you visited in Canada?
That’s a tough one Troy! I have written about 750 in total after visiting around 1500 as the Pub Guy. Add another 400 or so over the years as non work related (On my days off ;))

What do you look for in a good pub?
Friendly service. I like feeling welcome at a bar and not like I am interrupting someone's day. A good draught selection, if a bar can’t support many taps at least have a local micro. So basically a happy face and a good beer and I’m in a good pub.

How long have you been touring Canada's pubs?
9 years now, I have taken a break for a while so am itching to get back out there and do another book. I missed so many places and many more have opened up not, to mention the ones that people have told me about.

Describe your pub crawl from NFLD to BC
It was actually the other way round, I thought if I had started in Newfoundland I would have never got off the island. The greatest thing about the whole experience was seeing what a beautiful country Canada is. I had never been out of Ontario so it was also an awakening for me. I loved the vastness of the Prairies and when I first saw the mountains approaching Canmore I could not believe the beauty, I had to pull over to take it all in. B.C was amazing, I am a huge animal lover and to see Elk, Moose and Black Bear at the side of the highway was incredible. I found the people of Quebec to be very helpful, contrary to what I had been told; of course the East Coast was fantastic, great people and a sense of belonging. I loved P.E.I., that was the province that surprised me the most, so friendly and great pubs. Newfoundland was exciting, it’s a country on its own, great people; lots of Moose so never drive at night. The other great thing about the trip was the fact that I had no agenda, I went wherever people told me a great bar was and in truth the bars were amazing where I met many many interesting folk who still keep in touch.

Which province featured the nicest bartenders?
Nice as in polite or as in looks? I’ll answer both; nice P.E.I., looks Alberta.

Name your favourite pub in Ontario.
I love the Duchess of Markham, The Winking Judge in Hamilton, The Old Mill in Ashton, The Highlander in Ottawa, Kildare House in Windsor, it's too tough to say, there are many pubs that are such a pleasure to visit.

What's so great about pubs, why the fascination?
In Scotland the pub was your local community centre, it’s where you went everyday after work to catch up with your pals, on the weekends we went there after soccer games and on Saturday nights everyone brought their wives and girlfriends. It was your home away from home. I love when I find a pub over here that has that same "community" feel.

How important are good owners to a pub's success?
It's the difference between a pub making it or not, hands on owners are the best however they do have to have a personality, I know many pubs that are less frequented because the owners are surly or sit with their own little clique at the bar. Many corporate pubs work well, they have a good G.M. the staff are trained to be nice and knowledgeable and you will always get good food and a large draught selection but it’s a plastic atmosphere and not the real warmth that can be found in an independently owned bar.

What do you like best about the beer industry?
I like the choices available; it’s a pleasure to pick up any beer which suits my mood.

Pint or bottle?
In a busy bar I mostly go for pint, when not sure about how often a tap has been used then bottle.

What's your take on music in pubs?
Maybe it’s my age but I am not a fan of loud music that takes away from conversation, I don’t mind tunes in the background.

Sports bar, traditional pub, gastropub, beer bar - Which do you prefer?
It does not really matter to me as long as the staff are friendly and there is something I like on tap. Although a lack of tv's are preferable.

What projects are you currently working on?
I want to do a new book next summer, I am hoping for a national one again. Right now I am just glad to be a part of TAPS; it’s a great look at the world of beer.

So there you have it folks, straight from the mouth of Canada's Pub Guy.

1 comment:

Teena in Toronto said...

What a great job! Where do I apply? Ha1

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