I’ve been writing a lot about beer lately and I blame it on this awesome weather (summertime in Toronto is heavenly). It’s interesting because the beer was probably my first introduction to alcoholic beverages and yet I know so little. Fortunately, we are in the midst of a sudz-y renaissance in Canada so it’s a great time to explore. Craft beers, mirco-brewers, indie beers whatever you want to call them, you can literally find them everywhere; at your local pub on tap, at The Beer Store or if you are lucky there is a producer in your neighbourhood.

Ontario has introduced over 50 new brewers in just the last 12 months and growth in the beer industry nationwide shows no signs of slowing. Beer production is arguably the easiest and least costly of alcoholic beverages. On average it takes about 28 days to produce a batch of been whereas wine may take several years. A smaller company can outsource the brewing to a larger facility cutting costs significantly. Lastly, the governance of beer production is not nearly as stringent as say a Canadian whisky. Canadians consume beer more than any other alcoholic beverage whether they be in the comforts of their own home or out at a licensed establishment. Simply put, beer is good business, and the numbers prove it. What’s exciting is to observe the impact smaller brewers are having on beer culture in Canada, and I’d like to thank in part my millennial compadres.

Steam Whistle hosted an intimate gathering at Joey Restaurant’s rooftop patio in Sherway Gardens for a tasting of their new summer menu and to celebrate an awesome partnership between with Hudson’s Bay. Steam Whistle Brewery is a quite a staple in the Toronto landscape, figuratively and literally speaking as the brewery currently occupies a well-known landmark, St. John’s Roundhouse (Toronto Railway Museum) located in the city’s tourist attraction hub.

However, prior to the pairing lunch, I had never tried it Steam Whistle beer. I guess likened it to large brands like Heineken and Corona and to be honest, was more interested in what I thought were small-batch beers, blame it on the hipster in me. My ignorance got the best of me and I missed out on many pints of beer because I didn’t realize that Steam Whistle is an independently owned operation, a Canadian gem of sorts. This is where pretense gets in the way. It’s a great thing to support the small guy but what happens when our smaller breweries begin to grow and experience some success and notoriety? Do we hold on tight to our hipster banner pledging to only pursue the obscure or do we celebrate a true Canadian brand that is making its mark in the beer industry?

Steam Whistle Pilsner is packaged in signature green glass bottles, cans, and drought, and is shipped fresh across Canada to beer and liquor retailers as well as licensed bars & restaurants. Since its inception, Steam Whistle has welcomed more than a million visitors to the brewery for a tour or one of the many on-site events, concerts and art shows. The brewery which is privately held by family, friends, and employees, has been highly awarded for its premium beer, its company culture, community support and environmental practices. Steam Whistle Pilsner is one of the premiere beer brands in Canada.

I really love this partnership between Hudson’s Bay and Steam Whistle. It’s fitting and entirely Canadiana. They developed an entire line of products, blankets, bottle openers, coasters, and my favourite the retro metal beer cooler all branded with the signature Hudson’s Bay Company red, yellow, green and blue.

One of my fondest activities during the summer is taking the 45-minute drive out of the city to visit my parents. Before making my way to the back deck to join my dad, I grab an ice cold beer from the fridge, fill the chalice then proceeding to bake in the sun. Typically my dad playing The Bee Gees, Elton John, Bob Marley or some other music that predates my birth. My dad’s beer of choice has always been Stella Artois. During the tasting lunch and beer seminar, Beer Expert Crystal Luxmore suggested if you are a Stella drinker you would love Steam Whistle. Steam Whistle has a mission to convert those that love gold-rimmed glasses to crystal pilsner glasses. Now I’m not sure I can convince my dad to give up Stella in exchange for Steam Whistle, but I did bring a six pack on my last visit and by the time the weekend was done so was the case!

Here are some pictures from the delicious summer menu at Joey Restaurant 

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