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.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Getting To Know Garrett Oliver

Garrett Oliver with Brookly Lager
Garrett Oliver, the Brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery and the author of The Brewmasters Table, was in town last weekend for a number of events and I had the chance to spend the entire day with him on the Friday.

Over the last couple of years I've had the opportunity to get to know Garrett, first interviewing him for the winter 2008/09 issue of TAPS The Beer Magazine, and it's always a pleasure re-connecting as he is one of the best spoken craft beer advocates in the world and an all-around nice guy.

From 12 - 3pm, Garrett and his import team were pouring samples of the Brooklyn Lager at the Summerhill LCBO where he spoke to curious customers and met with some local Toronto beer enthusiasts', and he took the time to make sure he spoke with anyone who stopped by to say hi and to sign the occasional autograph. (Read Chris Schryer's blog post - Toronto Beer Blog)

They pushed a lot of beer in those three hours and Garrett was pretty impressed with the look of the LCBO, yet he voiced his dismay a number of times about the process of getting product to Ontario. He mentioned that Brooklyn would love to have more of their brands here but that it takes a lot of time to work out all the kinks and go through all of the paperwork to get that to happen.

After the tasting was done, our group headed up to the Monks Table at Yonge and Summerhill; who brought in bottles of the Lager just for the occasion. For over an hour TAPS sat down with Garrett for an interview, asking him various questions about the major expansion of Brooklyn, his new book (The Oxford Companion To Beer), and the state of the US craft brewing industry. The interview turned out great and you'll be able to read the entire thing this Fall in TAPS.

At 6pm there was a tasting taking place at beerbistro, so we headed there to grab a bite to eat and to go through some different brands of Brooklyn that beerbistro had just received the day prior. We made our way through some Brooklyn Local 1, Brown Ale, East India Pale Ale, Black Chocolate Stout and more, which was paired wonderfully with some beerbistro appetizers.

Drinking at beerbistro
It was then off to barVolo for the launch of HouseAles. A crazy event that saw HouseAles launch 19 different beers in various formats. It was a packed house when we got there but we settled in for a number of pints. Garrett seemed to appreciate a number of the beers he sampled and claimed that the Tu-Hop was his favourite. Luc Lafontaine and Stephane Ostiguy from Dieu du Ciel were also in the house for the launch, who also happen to be friends with Garrett, and there were a number of Ontario brewers and brewery representatives there as well, so it was a good industry night mixed with a bunch of beer enthusiasts'. It made for a great night.

The next day Garrett was off to the Session 99 Craft Beer Festival to kick things off before heading back to Brooklyn.

His new book, The Oxford Companion To Beer, will be out in the fall, and judging by the cover and the information Garrett shared with us, it is going to be a huge hit.

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