I began working at The 3 Brewers in 2010. I stopped last Friday.
2010: A wet-behind-the-ears assistant brewer, far right
I'm now going to be focusing on Garden Brewers, and I'm very much looking forward to the challenges of helping Garden Brewers to grow! But for the moment, please indulge me as we look back briefly- before moving forward!
So much has changed and happened in those few short years. The company, and myself, have grown quite a bit, but I clearly remember the very first time a beer I made myself was available to a thirsty public! My brother and a friend joined me for a drink of that prem'bière after work. It was a tradition in the company at that time to have a liter of your first batch. Or at least, my mentor in the company, Pierre Labarre, claimed that it was tradition and I was happy to accept the idea! That thrill, of having your beer on tap, has yet to get old. I don't suppose it ever will!
In the early years, we went on a couple of really outstanding company trips to Montreal to visit exceptional breweries in the area, such as Brasseurs du Monde, Brasseurs Illimités, Dieu du Ciel!, Brasserie McAuslan, and several others. We also toured Canada Malting's Montreal malting facilities, a really eye-opening (and ear-closing: so loud!) experience!! I enjoyed every visit, and value every experience, but one visit stands out as truly special; our 2011 visit to Unibroue. We were lucky enough to get a rare tour, given a peek of what lay beyond the public tasting room by the Brewmaster himself, Jerry Vietz.
And after the tour? Incredible beers began to flow. Beers- fresh and delightful, aged and complex, rare and mysterious, soured and unavailable anywhere else. Beers that could only be delivered directly from the hands of the brewmaster! We had Jerry and the lovely tasting room all to ourselves, and it was dim, comfortable, warm and moody- providing just the right atmosphere- as thick snowflakes began to cover the brewery in a heavy coat of snow. You know that particular feeling snowfall can provide, of not needing to go anywhere or do anything else? It's like when the power goes out on a summers evening, or when your phone is left behind while you're on vacation. That forced-yet-comfortable retreat from the world at large. It was a magic beer memory- one I'll always treasure.
In 2011, I reached my one-year anniversary at work...
2011: Less wet behind the ears, more ready to wet your whistle
...and created a new anniversary to celebrate by getting married!
A great day! The very best day, in fact.
In 2012, I managed to convince the company to allow me to brew a beer of my own design: A Schwarzbier. There is a whole story behind the brew, so I'll just link you to it. It's a bit of a long read, but this brew was a milestone for both myself and the company: It was the first time a recipe I wrote was used for a commercial brew, and the first time that The 3 Brewers ever produced a Lager!
A concept poster I made for the brew- the company went with something less trademark-infringementy
In 2012, I also had developed an advanced case of "brewers mustache" as evidenced by the video below:
By 2013, the company had begun its annual "Master Brewer" competition, giving each one of their brewers an opportunity to create a brew of their own design! Through a complicated series of events, I actually ended up travelling to my home town of Ottawa to brew my recipe, a Hopfen Weisse, at the as-yet-unopened Sparks Street location. It was very well received! But I had left the city long before the restaurant opened or the beer went on tap, so I actually never got to try it myself!
later in 2013, I was promoted to Head Brewer, when I was given the brand-new Oakville location. I also became a father!! I learned a few new things, like how my uniform can double as a baby-carrier:
And that mash forks make good teethers, apparently!
2013 was a big year!
In 2014 I brewed a Pre-Prohibition style Cream Ale for the Master Brewer competition, and was photographed professionally for use in marketing materials...
...including a stand up (actually a photo from 2013) which they printed during the 2015 competition:
This year was my last entry in the Master Brewer competition. It was to be my last recipe ever made at The 3 Brewers: "Oakheart" a big 'ol coffee stout aged on oak! My pal Keir made a poster for it:
I suppose that's it! My story with The 3 Brewers ends here, in 2015. I'm officially hanging up my overalls.
It's hard to say much about the future with any certainty, but there is one thing that I'm sure of:
There is going to be more beer!