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.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Great Lakes Brewery & C'est What? Celebrate Milestones

Great Lakes articles of incorporation - Feb 12, 1987
February 12, 1987 - the day and year that the Great Lakes Brewing Co. from Etobicoke, ON received their articles of incorporation from the province of Ontario. 25 years ago this past Sunday.

It has been an interesting adventure for Great Lakes. They started out as a malt extract brewery using plastic bottles before switching over to all grain and glass. They went through an ownership change in 1991 to the current Bulut family, and a location switch in 1992 to their current location just off the Gardiner expressway.

The focus in the beginning was on the Golden Horseshoe Lager, Red Leaf Lager and Black Jack Lager back in the day, and back in 2006/07 the brewery started introducing Ontario residents to new seasonal beers like their Pumpkin Ale, Orange Peel Ale, and Winter Ale.

Then a small batch of Devil's Pale Ale (666) made it's way to the Toronto Festival of Beer and it went over very well. So well in fact that the brewery decided to brew it regularly and came up with a great design for their can, which was another change for the brewery. Along with their line-up of seasonals, which were and still are very popular at the LCBO, the brewery started brewing and kegging a number of different one-offs for their Project X nights and some have since been adding to their core offering of brands (Crazy Canuck). The brewery has also stepped up big time at the last three Canadian Brewing Awards, winning a number of gold medals for a variety of their beers (Miami Weiss, No Chance With Miranda, Crazy Canuck).

So, 25 years old. How will the brewery celebrate this milestone in 2012? Well there are some big plans. Great Lakes plans on introducing four new beers during the course of the year that will surely catch the attention of craft beer drinkers. More info on that to come.

C'est What? Turns 24
George Milbrandt
Also celebrating another milestone is Toronto's C'est What?, a longtime craft beer hot spot on every beer drinkers list of places to visit when in the city, and a place for Toronto residents to get the latest offerings from Ontario breweries. Yesterday (Feb 13th) C'est What? celebrated their 24th anniversary and they offered this interesting tidbit on their Facebook page:

Our customers have helped the local brewing industry by consuming somewhere in the order of 2.9 million pints of beer over the past 24 years. If you were able to set these pints next to one another they would stretch from C'est What to Kingston. That would be a great pub crawl.

Publican George Milbrandt has done a great job over the years to help shape the Ontario brewing industry by supporting the beers that the men and women in this province brew. With so many taps devoted to so many breweries, customers always have a number of styles and flavours to choose from; something for everyone. Their cask program has also helped develop the real ale movement we've witnessed in Ontario over the last seven years.

Here's to both of these companies on their significant milestones!

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