Spearhead Brewing Co. are an enthusiastic bunch. There's no denying it. For anyone who has met the group of hardcore beer enthusiasts behind the new brewing co., you know what I'm talking about. For those that don't, well, get any of them alone for five minutes and you'll understand what I'm implying.
From Dimitri van Kampen (President and Founder) to Stephen Rich (Assistant Brewer and Beer Sommelier) to Ari Starr (Business Manager) and the rest of the team, these guys are getting set to deliver on their promise to offer Ontario residents Beer Without Boundaries.
I first met van Kampen over a year ago during a lunch meeting at C'est What. His business partner, Martin Villeneuve, was also there and together they laid out their plans for the future of Spearhead Brewing. Even then I sensed the enthusiasm in their voice as both men spoke with passion about their goals, and the excitement in each sentence they spoke was encouraging. After leaving the pub I remember thinking that if they put as much energy into the brewery as they did talking about it, that Spearhead would one day make some noise in the Ontario brewing industry.
Fast forward to present day, the test batches of their flagship beer, Hawaiian Pale Ale, are behind them and the first commercial brew (I attended and shot some video) took place on April 26 at the Cool Beer Brewery (they are contract brewing there) where it awaits its debut on June 16th at Toronto's barVolo.
The Hawaiian Style Pale is a very hop forward West Coast pale ale with a very tropical nose that showcases the likes of mango, pineapple and passion fruit. A small amount of concentrated Pineapple juice is added to the brew during the secondary and adds to the menage of the tropical bouquet. Much of the same on the palate with a slight zest and a pleasant lingering bitterness.
I know some of the other brands the new brewing company has in their portfolio, and I have no doubt that we'll be seeing them on tap one day down the road.
While it may have taken the guys behind Spearhead a long time to get to the point of brewing commercially, it hasn't taken them long to line up accounts. The Hawaiian Style Pale Ale launches on the 16th at barVolo and barVolo only, but by the 17th there will be 30 pubs/restaurants across Ontario with Spearhead appearing on tap (see list in press release below).
Spearhead will also be involved during the 2nd annual Toronto Beer Week... with big plans to do it up big! Visit their website for more info.
Press release from Spearhead
TORONTO – May 30, 2011 – Something new is brewing in Toronto: Beer Without Boundaries™. Unique, all-natural, unfiltered beer brought to you by Spearhead Brewing Company. On June 17, 2011, this local, family-run, craft brewery begins pouring its first pints at more than 30 establishments in Toronto, Guelph, London and Muskoka.
Spearhead Brewing Company was founded by Dimitri van Kampen, a Toronto-born beer geek and foodie who wanted to create bold, distinctive beer that would get people thinking differently about the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage. Like fine wine, great beer should be savoured, not sucked back in the bottle. Great beer can complement and contrast the finest foods and turn an ordinary meal into a feast. “At Spearhead,” said van Kampen, “we want to create exciting beer that challenges traditional style categories and people’s perceptions of beer.”
A lawyer by trade, van Kampen’s true passion is craft beer and, in particular, the extreme brewing movement that has taken the United States by storm over the last decade. A few years ago, he discovered home brewing and started dreaming up beer recipes using non-traditional ingredients like fruit and spices to create beer with complex, unanticipated flavours. “When making our beer,” said van Kampen, “we don’t want to fit in. We want to stand out. We don’t want to conform to expectations. We will always test our imagination and the imagination of our customers.”
To make his dream a reality, van Kampen enlisted Tom Schmidt, a brewmaster with over 30 years’ experience. “For our first beer,” said van Kampen, “I wanted to come out with an aromatic, hoppy West Coast pale ale and brew it Hawaiian style—with pineapple. After numerous test batches, Tom perfected our Hawaiian Style Pale Ale. It’s just the way I imagined: bold, hoppy and refreshing, with notes of citrus and zest. It’s like aloha in a bottle.”
On Thursday, June 16 at 7 p.m., the public is invited to join van Kampen and the rest of the Spearhead team for the first taste of Hawaiian Style Pale Ale at Bar Volo (587 Yonge Street), one of Toronto’s premier beer establishments.
Spearhead joins the ranks of Ontario craft breweries that are spiking sales with their delicious hand-crafted beer. According to the LCBO, Ontario craft beer is the fastest growing beer segment with a 46 per cent increase last year compared to overall beer sales that rose only 4 per cent.
Ask for a Spearhead at your local. As of June 17th, we’re in more than 30 fine establishments including Allen’s, Betty’s, C’est What?, Bar Volo, The Rhino, Cloak and Dagger, La Palette, The Victory Café, Castro’s Lounge, The Burger Bar & Tequila Tavern, Smokeless Joe’s, Bryden’s, The Dizzy Gastro Sports Pub, The Rebel House, Gambrinus Bistro & Café in London, The Griffin Gastropub in Bracebridge, The Local in Barrie and North Restaurant in Gravenhurst.
About Spearhead Brewing Company
Founded by Dimitri van Kampen in 2011, Spearhead Brewing Company was born out of a passion for real beer and a dedication to brewing Beer Without Boundaries™. At Spearhead Brewing Company, we refuse to adhere to the limitations set by traditional style definitions. We strive to transcend the perceived boundaries of beer and explore beer’s unlimited potential. Using non-traditional ingredients and brewing methods, we make all-natural craft beer that is so distinctive and delicious it cannot be judged by ordinary standards. Spearhead beer is currently available on draft at fine establishments. We hope you enjoy drinking our beer as much as we love dreaming it up and making it for you.