Posts Tagged ‘Beer Backstory’

Savvy gifts guaranteed to WOW!

Posted by Debbie

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Santa’s elves & the Savvy Team are working around the clock arranging subscriptions to our of-the-month clubs & gift certificates for wine, craft beer & cheese lovers across the country! Our Holiday Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) is ringing off the hook & our web site is buzzing with last minute shopping.

Here’s our Top 3 Savvy Gifts….you can order with just one click!


CRAZY for Cheese!

Savvy Cool Curds is the new ‘whey’ to discover hard-to-find Canadian artisan cheeses. Each month, we deliver 4 to 5 wedges or rounds of ready-to-eat cheese from a featured cheesemaker. The assortment is always different – hard, soft, fresh & aged cheeses made using various milks – cow, goat, sheep….even buffalo!

Our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa introduces you to the cheesemaker in each issues of Curd on the Street Magazine along with cheese tasting 101 tips & cheese ladened recipes.

The 3 delicious wheys to order:
#1 – One time purchase: $60 + shipping
#2 – Subscribe for deliveries EVERY month: $55/month + shipping
#3 – Subscribe for deliveries EVERY OTHER month: $55/month + shipping

Special Subscription Promo
$55 per month (usually $60) & shipping>>

We’ll ship across Canada


PERFECT for craft beer fans

Give a subscription to our Savvy Hip Hops craft beer-o-month club featuring hard-to-find craft beers made across Ontario. Along with the beers, our Beer Backstory Magazine, will give you the skinny on the brewmaster, tasting tips & recipes with the featured beers.

There are 2 sizes of packages:
#1 – Quick Picks – a small assortment each month
#2 – Taste Case – the full selection from the featured brewery.

NEW! In addition to featuring a different brewery each month, we are including a Special Savvy Summer 2-4 in June & July AND back by popular demand our Hoppy Holidays Craft Beer Advent Calendar in Nov & Dec.

Wrap up a SUDS-cription for 4, 6 or 12 months>>


Wine lovers will LOVE this!

Our Savvy Selections wine-o-month club features an assortment of 3 Ontario wines that you won’t find at the LCBO – each handpicked by our Savvy Sommeliers.

Check out the 2017 line up of wineries we’re featuring >>

To further your enjoyment of the wines, you’ll receive our monthly online magazine with the inside scoop on the winery, neat stories about the people who make the wine, our Sommelier tasting notes & recipes paired with each wine.

Special Holiday Promo
Give a 3 month subscription>>

(regularly 4 month minimum)


Still can’t decide? Here’s FREE Money!

You read that right! Buy a Savvy Gift Certificate to redeem for tickets to an upcoming Savvy Event & we’ll give you 25% more.

Order a $100 gift certificate & we’ll top it up to $125. Order $150, we’ll make it $190…you get the idea.  Give this gift >>


Savvy Elves are standing by…

The Savvy Team…errr…elves are at the ready to help you make your Christmas shopping a breeze. Call us each day leading up to Christmas on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or email

Ho-Ho-Ho & have a wonderful holiday.
– Debbie & the Savvy Team

Debbie Trenholm
Sommelier & Founder
Savvy Company
613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)

Keep in touch with us…

Keep in touch with us…
Now on Instagram too!

We’ll be enjoying the holidays to the fullest.  Savvy Company will be closed from December 25 to January 11 all set & ready for an exciting 2017.


Summer sipping beers from Grand River Brewing

Posted by Shawn

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014


Savvy Hip Hops beer of the month club 
Featuring Grand River Brewing

– July 2014 –


In the heat of the summer, Savvy Hip Hops brings you a 12 pack of craft beer from Grand River Brewing of Cambridge.  This assortment is perfect for summertime sipping. Pop these bottles in the fridge & crack them open whenever the moment strikes. Afterall…that is what you have been doing with all of your Savvy Hip Hops – right?  Bottom line…enjoy these hard to find beers!

hiphops_largeBrewery owners Bob & Jane Hanenberg set out with a vision to make a variety of full-flavoured beers while keeping weary of the alcohol level.  Why? All to fully enjoy the craftsmanship of their beers.

Had a ‘session’ beer yet?

Grand River Brewing set out to create “session beers” (beer lingo: beers with full flavour and lower alcohol, enabling consumption of more than one session beer at a time).  Sessionals have now become a very popular style of brew amongst Ontario craft brewers.

The Hanenbergs along with experienced brewmaster Rob Creighton have been producing beers for about 7 years now, and we are certain that you will enjoy this month’s Taste Case.  Our Savvy Brew Crew team member Shawn McCormick had a chance to speak with the colourful brewmaster Rob about what makes Grand River Brewing so special. Read on for more stories…

It’s Beer O’Clock! Time to open your Savvy Hip Hops Taste Case

In your case you will find: two fruit beers, two amber ales, a premium lager and a black lager.

Found a new fav?

If you would like additional bottles of any beer featured in this months’ Savvy Hip Hops, just call our Savvy Brew Crew & we’ll arrange a special shipment for you (if it is still available at the brewery that is!).

Put us on speed dial – Savvy Hip Hops Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or

Debbie & the Savvy Brew Crew  

Grand River Brewing

by Shawn McCormick

Grand River Brewing is named after the Grand River that flows through town of Cambridge. History goes that the land near the brewery was the location of some of the earliest hops farms in Canada. With this strong linkage to the past, Brewmaster Rob Creighton shares, “We have created a must-stop destination for folks traveling along the 401. We’re just a quick 20 minutes off of the highway.”

History Meets Present Day…

Grand River rooftopLocated in the former factory building of Galt Knife Company, owners Bob & Jane Hanenberg made extensive restorations to the century old building to showcase the historic architectural details of the post and beam construction, open rafters and Victorian trusses. With most of the building bathed in natural sunlight, they have created a unique space that’s both beautiful and functional for today’s brewery visitors. Anyone want to meet at this brewery for a Savvy Hip Hops event? 

Sessionable Ales

Grand River has always been focused on lighter, easy drinking ales. Rob explains that it is all about balance. He’s trying to brew beer that will appeal to a wide range of customers, not just beer enthusiasts looking for ‘extreme beers’.  You will notice that there are beers in your Taste Case that are as low as 3.5% alcohol, “but make no mistake…these are by no means ‘light’ beers”, states Rob. “They are full of flavour”.

Hard Water Makes Great Beer

Many of the world’s greatest beer brewing regions have one thing in common – hard water. Rob explains that in Cambridge, they have some of the hardest water in the province, with their water supply coming from 27 limestone wells. The result is that the hardness in the water helps increase the flavor and intensity of the beer.

Experienced Brewmaster

Grand River beer bottlesRob has been brewing beer commercially likely as long as anyone in Ontario, with 37 years under his belt. Don’t tell anyone….he originally lied about his age to land a job working at Labatt’s Brewery in London, Ontario back in 1977.  Then he became the first employee of Upper Canada Brewing Company (one of the early craft breweries in Ontario). His entire career has been in the beer biz in some capacity from equipment sales to packaging. All of this experience combined has been invaluable at Grand River, where they are a small and quickly growing brewery.  Rob and the others in the team are always wearing many hats.

Always experimenting, Rob is constantly reworking old translated German beer recipes, tweaking them until it feels right. As an example, Rob explained to me that originally his fruit beers used all locally sourced fresh fruit.  He discovered that much of the flavor remained in the fruit even after added to the brew.  He then tried freezing the fruit first, then thawing and blending them into the mash resulted in more flavour being transferred to the beer. You will taste this when you open up Wild Raspberry Tabby or Tank Top Tangerine. The fruit flavour pops!

Community Gathering Place

When you drop in for a fist you will notice that the brewery has become a community hub. “Many locals take their dogs for a walk, and end up stopping by to catch up on the local news over a pint.” 

Here’s to Rob & the Grand River team!


• Savvy Hip Hops Tasting Notes •


Grand River Brewing is all about moderate style beers with full flavour. The beers are listed in the random order they were tasted – feel free to try them in any order you like!

millracemildMill Race Mild (Mild Ale or Session Ale) 3.5%

An interesting “light” dark beer that’s very enjoyable in the summer, you may want to have this one on hand year-round!

Tasting Notes:This copper-brown ale pours with a slight fluffy head that indicates the moderate carbonation. Aromas of coffee and roasted malts intertwine with lighter notes of toffee and root beer. The palate is surprising crisp and refreshing with mocha notes dominating the dried fruit and light herbal notes. The finish is relatively short, clean, and crisp, making it a surprisingly refreshing drink on a hot day.

Suggested Food Pairing:This ale will work where amber ales or lighter stouts would work. Given the mocha/coffee influences, I would suggest it with a variety of grilled meats from the BBQ.


Tank Top Tangerine 4.5%

This fruit flavoured beer could become your next patio favourite with its refreshing citrus notes!

Tasting Notes: The light malts and wildflower honey dominate the aromas in this golden coloured ale. Candied citrus notes are there, along with light hop notes and a nice spice component that I finally settled on as ginger. Not too sweet, the light bodied ale is clean and crisp, with a palate very similar to the nose. The tangerine is light, with just a hint of citrus poking through at the right times and ending with a clean citrus peel finish. 

Suggested Food Pairing: This is a lovely refreshing beer that would pair well with Thai cuisine, lemon grilled fish, or just a sunny patio!


Wild Raspberry Tabby 5.0%

A Belgian inspired Abbey Ale, the raspberry addition turns this one into summer in a glass!

Tasting Notes: Pouring this salmon-pink hued ale into a glass gives the first indication of the raspberry deliciousness to come. Your nose fills with sweet with candied raspberries, wildflower honey, and some golden malt characteristics. The palate follows true to the nose and hints at red raspberries and strawberries in addition to the raspberry notes. There’s some body and weight to this and the fruit provides a lingering, sweet berry finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Try this one with a spinach & strawberry salad with raspberry vinaigrette, or pineapple glazed ham.


Grand River Galt Knife LagerGalt Knife Old Style Lager 4.4%

A pre-Prohibition style lager, made to honour the 4 breweries that existed in the area in the 1800s.

Tasting Notes:Nice golden hue to this malt-forward lager. The nose has nice cereal notes, toffee, wildflower honey, and lighter citrus and hop notes. The palate offers up some tasty malt sweetness and body, with hints of grass and a pleasant hop bitterness on the finish. This is a lovely beer to pair with food!

Suggested Food Pairing: Sushi or herb roasted chicken would work well with this beer, as would spicy Asian food, Mexican cuisine, or even brunch!


Grand River Plowmans AlePlowman’s Ale 4.7%

This amber ale is hands down Rob’s beer…as he says “This one…is all about me!”

Tasting Notes: The colour of this beer is lovely reddish copper. The nose expresses malts, buckwheat honey, dried fruit, and the unmistakeable noble hops. The palate expresses some dark fruit (plum, black cherry) and has a nice malty weight to the body. The sweetness is quickly dried by lovely hop bitterness that refreshes and clears the palate. I can see why Rob loves this beer!

Suggested Food Pairings: Why a Plowman’s lunch (bread, cheese, charcuterie) of course! Also works with sandwiches, pizza, and Mexican food.


Enigma Black Lager 6.0%

Black Lagers look remarkably like a Porter or a Stout, but you’ll find them refreshingly different!

Tasting Notes: Pours clear brown with a thin, creamy beige head. The nose screams roasted malts, toast, smoke, dark toffee, and coffee. On the palate, dark chocolate and coffee notes intermingle with dried fruit, cola, and smoky sweetness. The finish is what will surprise you…these dark lagers have a relatively short and clean finish, leaving some light malt bitterness and espresso in your mouth.

Suggested Food Pairings: Try this one with grilled salmon or pork chops. 


• Recipes to enjoy with your Savvy Hip Hops •


With Grand River Galt Knife Old Style Lager…

Warm Potato Salad with Beer Dressing

From Bob Hanenberg’s Kitchen
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves 6-8

Ingredients for the Salad

2-1/2 pounds red potatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped mild red or yellow onions
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Ingredients for the Beer Salad Dressing

6 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
3/4 cup Galt Knife Old Style lager
3 Tablespoons malt or cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper

Method for the salad

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until a knifepoint can be easily inserted, about 20-25 minutes. Remove, and as soon as you can handle them, slice them, unpeeled, into l/4-inch rounds.

While the potatoes are still warm, gently mix them with the onions, parsley, and beer dressing. Do not over mix or the potatoes may break into pieces.

Taste for salt and pepper.

Garnish with chopped chives. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Method for the dressing

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until just soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the lager, vinegar, and sugar and boil for 5 minutes. Put into a food processor with the mustard. With the motor running, slowly pour in the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil.

Taste for salt and pepper.


With Grand River Galt Knife Old Style Lager…

Cheese Fondue

From Bob Hanenberg’s Kitchen
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves 6


4 Tbsp butter
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 carrot minced
1/4 celery minced
1/2 onion minced
2 Tbsp flour
3 cups Galt Knife Old Style lager
1/2 liter heavy cream
5 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 limes squeezed


Melt butter in a heavy bottom saucepan and then add the garlic, carrot, celery, and onion. Cook briefly.

Add the flour and cook until thickened. Add 2 cups of the beer and the cream and simmer until slightly thickened.

Add the cheese, let it melt and then add the lime juice. Just before serving add the last cup of beer, stirring until heated.

Serve with cubed bread, apples, grapes, pears and ham. 


With Grand River Brewing Mill Race Mild…

Coffee Encrusted Pork Tenderloin

From Shawn McCormick’s kitchen
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 23 minutes
Serves 6-8


2 lbs pork tenderloin
3 TBSP brown sugar
2 TBSP fine ground espresso beans
3 tsp paprika (smoked, hot, or regular)
Salt & pepper to taste
½ cup table salt (for the brine)
2 L cold water (for the brine)


Trim any of the fat and silver off of the tenderloin(s).

Mix the ½ cup of salt with the water until the salt is dissolved then put the pork tenderloin(s) in the salt brine overnight (~8 hours minimum)

Mix the rest of the ingredients together well for the rub

When ready to cook, remove the tenderloin(s) from the salt brine and rinse lightly. Dry with paper towels and coat thoroughly with the rub.

Use ‘7-6-5 method‘ for cooking the tenderloin(s). Preheat your grill on high for 20 minutes. Once hot, place the tenderloin(s) on the grill and close the cover. After 7 minutes on one side, turn and grill for 6 minutes on the other side again with the lid closed. Turn off the heat, leaving the lid closed for another 5 minutes. Check that internal temp in the thickest part id 145-150F (if not close the lid and check at 5 min intervals).

Remove and let rest for 5 minutes under foil.

Serve with Mill Race Mild or Enigma Black Lager and some roasted potatoes.


With Grand River Tank Top Tangerine…

Lemon Grilled Shrimp

From Shawn McCormick’s Kitchen
Prep Time: 20 minutes + 1 to 2 hours marinating time
Cook Time: 6-7 minutes
Serves 4


500g shrimp, 21-25 size (jumbo), thawed
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
500 mL Grand River Tank Top Tangerine
1 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp olive or other cooking oil


Put the beer into a medium sized pan and heat until boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid reduces by half. Cool until room temperature.

Add the oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon zest to the cooled beer reduction and add to a large bowl with the shrimp.

Keep marinade in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

I like to skewer them or ease of handling, but it is not necessary.

Grill over medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side until cooked but not over-cooked.


Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Hip Hops!



Here’s a Toast to Oast!

Posted by Shawn

Monday, May 12th, 2014


Savvy Hip Hops beer of the month club 
Featuring Niagara Oast House Brewers

– April 2014 –


Month #3 of Savvy Hip Hops brings you a new case of beer and hopefully some new favourites. This month features Niagara Oast House Brewers and their special Farmhouse Ales for all of our suds-cribers!

If you are not familiar with Farmhouse Ales, before you pop the cork, read through this issue of our Beer Backstory Magazine to get to know more about this style of unique beer and Oast’s brewmaster. Our Savvy Brew Crew team member Shawn McCormick offers this tip, “With such an energizing, crisp style, you might want to wait until that weekend TO DO list & yard work is finished!”

Oast House sign largeShawn visited Oast House Brewers on a recent trip to Niagara.  In the following pages, he showcases their wonderful agricultural connection, that naturally starts with their facility (an old barn that is a Niagara-on-the-Lake landmark), great rustic finishing inside the brewery, and fresh, Farmhouse-Style beers.

Oast House has quickly integrated themselves into the wine & food scene in Niagara. “Oast House is a great representation of the current direction of Niagara’s culinary landscape – they are putting out an exceptional artisanal craft beer which strongly aligns with Farmland Ontario,” says Paul Harber, Chef-Proprietor of Ravine Vineyards in Niagara-On-The-Lake.

Open your Savvy Hip Hops Taste Case…

Oast House primarily has beers available in kegs for pubs or growlers for visitors dropping in at the brewery.  We worked hard with the brewmaster to find the best beers that will travel well.  Once you taste the Saison & and Bière de Garde, we are confident you will thank us for including two bottles of each!

2 bottles of Saison
2 bottles of Bière de Garde
A growler of Pitchfork Porter *drink this one first as it is poured fresh at the brewery!*

Found a new favorite Oast to toast? 

If you would like additional bottles of any beer featured in this months’ Savvy Hip Hops, just call our Savvy Brew Crew & we’ll arrange a special shipment for you (if it is still available at the brewery that is!).

Put us on speed dial – Savvy Hip Hops Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or

Debbie & the Savvy Brew Crew

Niagara Oast House Brewers

by Shawn McCormick


Located in the heart of Niagara wine country, one might wonder if a brewery would compete with wineries for consumer attention. Quite the opposite, as Oast House Brewers brewmaster Kevin Somerville explains: “We find that the premium wine consumers are the same ones that also love the craft beer scene”. 

What’s in a Name?

An Oast House is the name of the building where hops were traditionally dried. It means “to kiln”. Although Oast House Brewers is a new brewery, they like to hold onto traditions and link to the agricultural background of their region.  Just one element of this is that they are growing their own hops on site and working with other local hops growers to feed their growing demand. 

Oast House Saison bottle & glassOast House Brewers is unique in their focus on Farmhouse Ales, of which Saison and Bière de Garde are the most common. Saison beer originated in the farming regions of Belgium and was typically brewed during the autumn or winter, for consumption during the following summer by the seasonal farm workers (“les saisonniers”). Traditional Saisons were low in alcohol, strongly hopped to prevent spoilage, intended to refresh and hydrate. Farm workers were entitled to up to five litres each workday!

Similarly, the “Bière de Garde” are the French version of Farmhouse ales. Also destined for farm hands, they are typically darker, more malt forward, and may have slightly less carbonation than the Saison.

Both styles are bottle fermented (in a process much like champagne). Oast House Brewers is the only brewery in Ontario with a bottle re-fermentation room. 

Becoming a Brewmaster

Kevin brewmasterKevin’s (in photo right) path to becoming a brewmaster started very early. He really liked beer, and his home brewing hobby that started in high school got “out of hand”. Knowing that he wanted to start a brewery, he signed up for a business program first before attending the World Brewing Academy in Germany. Kevin finished that program in Munich, then returned to Canada, where he worked at Alley Cat in Edmonton and a number of breweries here in Ontario. Kevin helped formulate the beer curriculum at Niagara College, serving as their first program coordinator (he still teaches part time). He had met current partners Mike Berlis and Cian MacNeill years ago at Inniskillin winery and their common love of great beer kept them in touch until they launched Oast House in 2013.

Ping Pong Tables, Guest Chefs & Live Music?

beer rack full of bottlesKevin mentions that there was a kitchen hood in the building that they kept when converting the old barn into the brewery. There’s a ping-pong table in the back room free for guests to use. Together with live music, they have created a real attraction and it is not unusual for the place to be packed on a weekend. Says Mike Dicaro of Spotlight Toronto: “The barn-chic decor and tasting room combines the best of both worlds with a winery-like tasting bar wrapped in a neighbourhood pub, especially when staff bring in guest chefs from Niagara to cook.”. Definitely a place worth visiting the next time you are in Niagara!

We raise a glass to the Oast House team!


• Savvy Hip Hops Tasting Notes •

Niagara Oast House Brewers are best known for their Farmhouse Ales and you’ll find these quite enjoyable. The beers are listed in order of lightest body to fullest – feel free to try them in any order you like!

Saison (Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale)

Saison bottle of beerA light, refreshing beer at 6.5% ABV, this beer is best paired with a day of hard work!

Tasting Notes: The great fluffy head when this is poured hints at the medium high carbonation. Aromas of citrus, yeast, some sweet candy sugar. Crisp, refreshing palate offers apple, pear, caramel malt notes and then finishes crisp with lemon zest and grapefruit peel notes. A very refreshing beverage to serve on a hot day.

Suggested Food Pairing: “This is such a food-friendly ale that it is hard to think of something that won’t work with it” remarks Shawn. Pair with oysters, lightly grilled seafood (try the Grilled Mussels recipe we’ve included), beer-can barbecue chicken or an artisan cheese & charcuterie board.

Bière de Garde (French Style Farmhouse Ale)

biere de garde label closeupWith a deeper colour and more malt-forward notes, this one is for sipping on the porch as the sun goes down and the heat of the day relents. 9% ABV

Tasting Notes: The aromas are definitely more malt forward, with toffee, grapes, and some dried fruit and spice notes. The palate is similar with caramel and toffee dominating, some stewed fruits, and a slightly earthy taste. With a creamy mouthfeel, the mid-palate offers a hint of sweetness but the finish is dry and crisp with pleasant hop bitterness to refresh. 

Suggested Food Pairing: This is another food friendly beer and the versatility of this one will match with just about anything off the barbeque. Try it with grilled burgers and sausages, or cheese based quiches (class French recipe follows). 

Pitchfork Porter (Porter)

oast pitch fork porter tagA classic Porter with 5.3% ABV, and a surprisingly refreshing palate!

Tasting Notes: Aromas of molasses, dark malts, coffee, and dried fruit. The creamy palate is quite similar with the prune and fig notes being more noticeable. With some additional coffee bitterness on the finish, this well-balanced beer goes perfectly with a cool spring evening. There’s lower carbonation in this beer and you’ll want to drink this one while it is still fresh.

Suggested Food Pairings: Try this one with lightly grilled meats, meat based stews (Shawn’s shares his Beef Stroganoff recipe on the following pages), nut loaf, or a glazed ham.

• Recipes to enjoy with the featured Savvy Hip Hops •


 With Oast House Saison…

Grilled Mussels (Grilled Moules Frites)

From The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook by David Ort

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4-6 Servings


2 lb (1 kg) mussels
1 lb (500 g) mixed new potatoes, washed
1 tsp (5 mL) fennel seeds
3 Tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
2 tsp (10 mL) kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Gently dump the bag of mussels into a colander in your kitchen sink and rinse them with cold water. Look for any with broken shells or with open shells that don’t close when the shell is tapped and discard these. Most cultivated mussels are carefully cleaned before they make it to the store, but if you find any that still have beards, pull the beards off.  Hold the cleaned mussels in a large mixing bowl. 

Set a large handful of hardwood chips (cherry or apple are ideal) to soak in water for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain water away and transfer chips to an 18-inch-long (45 cm) piece of aluminum foil. Gather the chips into a pile and fold the aluminum foil around the pile to form a closed packet. Use a fork to perforate the top side of the packet with 20 to 30 holes.

Bring a medium-large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes in half. The most delicious part of the potato is the surface that will eventually be in contact with the hot oil, so keep the goal of maximizing the surface area of the cut face in mind as you decide which way to bisect each potato. Place the cut potatoes in the boiling water and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until you can just barely slide a paring knife into them.

Once the potatoes are in the boiling water, you can head outside to deal with heating the grill. Lift the grate of your propane grill and place the wood chips packet on the metal bars or lava rocks that sit between the element and the cooking bars. Light the grill and heat it on high with the lid down for 8 minutes.

Back inside, transfer the parboiled potatoes from the hot water to a plate lined with paper towels. Dry thoroughly and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the crushed fennel seed, olive oil, kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper.

When the grill is heated and smoky, reduce the heat of all burners to medium. Open the lid and transfer the potatoes directly to the grill. Pour the mussels over top and use a pair of tongs to keep them in a pile. Close the grill’s lid and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

Have a large serving bowl and pair of long-handled tongs ready. Open the grill and start removing any mussels that have opened or potatoes that are well browned on the bottom. Periodically close the lid for 1 to 2 minutes to wait for the slower ones to cook. Once nearly all the shells are open, discard any mussels with unopened shells.

Serve with Oast House Brewers Saison.

With Oast House Bière de Garde…

Cheese Quiche

(Goyère de Valencienne)
From Shawn McCormick’s kitchen

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 6 Servings


1 pie shell (your own or store-bought)
1 ½ cups grated sharp cheese (cheddar or other)
2 eggs
3 Tbsp milk or cream
½ tsp basil (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste


If using a fresh pie shell, fill the bottom one layer deep with beans (to keep the dough from bubbling up) and bake at 400F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and save the beans for another use.

Whisk the eggs and add the milk or cream, then add the salt & pepper. Mix in the grated cheese and pour the egg & cheese mixture into the hot pie shell.

Bake at 325F for 20-25 minutes until set.

Let cool for 5 minutes and then serve with Oast House Bière de Garde.


With Oast House Pitchfork Porter…

Beef Stroganoff

From Shawn McCormick’s kitchen

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4-6 hours
Yield: 6 Servings


1 kg of stewing beef
500g mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
750mL-1L Oast House Pitchfork Porter
4-5 Tbsp olive or other cooking oil


Brown the beef in small batches in lightly oiled fry pan. As each batch is browned on all sides (still red in the center), remove and place into a slow cooker or large casserole dish.

Sauté the onions and mushrooms in the same fry pan and stir into the cooked beef.

Deglaze the fry pan with a few glugs of the porter, scraping to get any stuck bits and add to the beef/onion/mushroom mixture. Add enough porter to the cooking vessel to just cover the ingredients. Add salt and pepper and stir.

Cook in the slow cooker on low heat for 6-8 hours. If using a casserole dish in the oven, cover and cook for 4 hours at 300F. Stir every hour or so to make sure the meat is covered in liquid.

Once the meat is tender, thicken the broth with a few tablespoons of sour cream. Serve over rice or egg noodles, paired with the remaining Oast House Pitchfork Porter.


Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Hip Hops!


Barley Days Brewery: Yet another reason to visit Prince Edward County!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014


Savvy Hip Hops beer of the month club 
Featuring Barley Days Brewery

– March 2014 –


So here we are, month #2 of Savvy Hip Hops, bringing you a new case of beers and hopefully introducing you to a new favourite. This month Barley Days Brewery was awesome enough to step in and take the reins, and send some unique items to our suds-cribers!

Before you tear open that fresh, new case of craft-brewed beauties, take a moment to flip through Savvy’s Beer Backstory Magazine and get to know the brewery and their beers… and then pour yourself a glass! It’s asking a lot, I know, but once you learn a bit more about Barley Days Brewery and all their wonderful beers, you’ll appreciate everything in that glass so much more.

Barley Days Brett at the tanksI met with Brett French – Barley Days Brewery’s sales representative, delivery guy, spokesman, (and everything in between!) – to discuss the brewery, the beers, and what it’s like being the only brewery in Prince Edward County. Brett is a guy who is truly passionate about Barley Days beer  – and craft beer in general –  and without a doubt he absolutely loves what he does. He got me really excited to try the beers, and visit the brewery as soon!

With so many new beers in the works and the brewery itself in a transition period, there is a lot to look forward to in the coming months from Barley Days. This is one brewery to look out for, and definitely should be a stop on your next trip to Prince Edward County. In photo at left is Barley Days brewer, Alex Nicols.

Open your Savvy Hip Hops Taste Case…

Your Savvy Hip Hops Taste Case and find an assortment pack of signature beers as well as seasonals:

Yuletide Cherry Porter

Pumpkin Saison

Scrimshaw Oyster Stout

Royal George Brown Ale

Wind & Sail Dark Ale

Harvest Gold Pale Ale

Loyalist Lager 


There is always something going on in The County!

Spring & summer is a great time to explore all that is in The County.  Be sure to plan to go to this year’s Terroir: A County Wine Celebration at the Crystal Palace in Picton is not-to-be-missed. On Saturday May 3rd, all of The County – including Barley Days Brewery – will be under one roof.  We’ll see you there!



Barley Days Brewery

by Meaghan Baskin

Located in the heart of Ontario’s newest destination for everything gourmet, artisan and craft; Barley Days Brewery is definitely enjoying the sense of pride and community in Prince Edward County. From the ability to trade your neighbours’ used wine barrels for beer, or using local farm’s fresh produce as ingredients, to the labels, packaging and name of the brewery itself; are all signs of a close knit community and a pride of their craftsmanship.

Demand for new & exciting beers

Barley Days bottles of beerSince the brewery was founded in 2007 by owner Chris Rogers, Barley Days has developed a loyal following. Their fans are always pushing the envelope requesting something new, yet happy to find that their County favourites are always available. Recently, Brett tells me, there has been an increasing demand for new & novel beer creations, resulting in renovations and transitions at the brewery to keep up with production and demand. All the while, something that is guaranteed not to change is the history of Barley Days. Chris is a veterinarian, with a passion for beer.

Looking back in time

From 1750-1910 his family owned a brewery in Lancashire, England and Barley Days is his homage to his family’s past. Being a Canadian history buff, Chris celebrates Prince Edward County’s part in the exporting of bay barley, malting barley and hops to breweries in the United States during 1860-1890. This is history is depicted in the artist rendered labels and in the name Barley Days – a time when farming, shipbuilding, and shipping flourished and this period became known in local history as “The Barley Days”.

Barley Days’ Best Kept Secrets

Barley Days tanksA small handful of Barley Days beers are available at LCBOs (and always sell out quickly), so a trip to the brewery is definitely a reason to visit The County. Be sure to ask for Brett when you stop by as he would love to meet our Savvy Hip Hops subscribers & share stories behind how many of their ingredients are sourced, and brought to the brewery. Can you imagine this? During the autumn, Barley Days friends and family parade across the road to the neighbouring farmers market each person’s arms piled high with pumpkins – the essential ingredients needed for the Pumpkin Saison beer (one of the beers in your Taste Case). This glorious seasonal beer requires over 400lbs of County pumpkins in the recipe to create a batch of 4000L this specialty beer.  Imagine how many trips across the road it takes to make that beer! (sounds like a ‘how many times did the brewmaster cross the road’ joke is coming on!)

Brett explains, “The community in the County is very much like going to your next door neighbour’s home and asking to borrow a cup of sugar.” It is truly a bonus being located in The County with your next door neighbour on one side is a farmer’s market and on the others is a winery. There is inspiration everywhere and someone to lend a hand (or pumpkin!).

What’s Happening Next for Barley Days?

When you drop by the brewery, you’ll be in the midst of a large renovation that is underway to handle the growing demand for their beers coupled with the growth of The County’s popularity of a tourism destination. Soon, the tasting room will have a café feel with small plates of local restaurant’s dishes and boards with charcuterie and locally made cheeses.  “It will become a place that will be hard to leave!” laughs Brett.

Barley Days bottle & corksWith summer fast approaching, craft beer festivals will be popping up everywhere. Look for Barley Days & ask for Brett at The County’s annual Taste the County events, National Capital Craft Beer Week in Ottawa or The Brewery Market events in Toronto. If its craft beer related, “Barley Days Brewery will be a part of it”, assures Brett.

New brews are always in the works, so make sure to look for Barley Days next time you’re out at your favourite local restaurant or pub. Their Mason jar tap handles are hard to miss, and you may be excited to find a seasonal treasure on tap.  We raise a glass to the Barley Days’ team!


• Savvy Hip Hops Tasting Notes •

With a large selection of beers available at the brewery, we are eager to introduce you to them. The beers are listed in order of lightest body to fullest – feel free to try them in any order you like!

Loyalist LagerLoyalist Lager (Czech Style Pilsner)

A light, easy drinking beer at 4.5% and 12 IBU, this beer is best paired with soon to come warm days of spring (and summer), fun…and everything in between!

Tasting Notes: Aromas consist of fresh cut grass, citrus, and cereal, with a sweet malty nose. It’s a very crisp and clean beer, with lemon and other citrus notes. Just the right amount of Czech style and 2 row malts make this an incredibly sessionable beer that you won’t mind having throughout the summer.

Suggested Food Pairing: Think lighter fare, such as cheese, fish or other white meats, though refreshing enough to pair well with anything off the BBQ.


Harvest Gold Pale AleHarvest Gold (Pale Ale)

A slight step up in body from the Loyalist, this beer comes in at 4.8% and 22 IBUs and is an excellent stepping stone into the world of pale ales.

Tasting Notes: The aromas from the Kent golding hops and the Canadian 2 row malt give this beer a light hoppy nose, as well as a nice biscuit/fresh cereal scent. This pale ale’s malt and hops is well balanced, and give it a crisp, sweet taste, with a slightly bitter finish.

 Suggested Food Pairing: Another beer for the patio, this beer will match well with pub fare like sandwiches, burgers and fries and other classic eats.


Royal George (English Style Brown Ale)

Royal George Brown AleThis unfiltered brown beer is 5% and shows how a darker beer can be flavourful and refreshing at the same time.

Tasting Notes: The aromas show an over-whelming scent of sweet nut, molasses, prune and other dried fruits, with a hint of biscuit. On the palate you’ll taste caramel, honey, brown sugar and some notes of minerals. Make sure not to drink this beer too cold, or you’ll numb all the wonderfully sweet tastes.

Suggested Food Pairings: This is one for the sweet meats – barbeque sauced meats like ribs or chicken wings, and would be insanely delicious with pulled pork.



wind&sailWind & Sail (English Style Dark Ale)

Probably the most well-known from Barley Days Brewery, this unfiltered beer has layers of complexity. At 5% and 28 IBUs, it’s a pleasure for the seasoned beer drinker, yet something you could share with an entry level craft beer drinker.

Tasting Notes: The sweet aromas of dark chocolate, raisin and molasses are lovely, and are definitely evident in the flavour of the beer as well. You may also notice coffee, baker’s chocolate, and a slight smokiness on the palate. This beer is best drank slightly warm, which allows all the flavours to really come forward.

Suggested Food Pairings: You may want heartier foods with this one that can match all the flavours. Meatloaf and BBQ meats are favourites, but try with something unusual like Halloumi cheese (a cheese with a high melting point so it can be easily grilled or fried).


Pumpkin Saison of the Witch (Flavoured Saison)

This one is a beauty, and (unfortunately) only available during autumn. Pumpkin beers are quickly becoming a trend in craft beer, and something fans wait anxiously for each year. This beer is 6.7% and available in a 750 mL bottle, perfect for sharing with a special friend.

Tasting Notes: The aromas scream fall and pumpkin pie: baking spices, clove, and nutmeg. The palate is pleasing with the same overwhelming tastes, and make you think of the holiday season. The finish is long and leaves the taste of spice and banana lingering.

Suggested Food Pairings: This is one for a big family/holiday meal with all the fixings. It would pair lovely with roasted birds, sweet root vegetables, caramelized anything, and of course pumpkin pie itself.

Yuletide Cherry Porter (Flavoured Porter)

Yuletide-Cherry-PorterThis beer has become a celebrated holiday brew, and is a sign that Christmas is on its way! Made with sour cherries from Southern Ontario, it’s a wonderful winter treat at only 5.5%.

Tasting Notes: Although there is plenty of cherries in this beer, the aroma and flavours are not dominated by them. Lots of milk chocolate and coffee are noticeable in both the aroma and on the palate. The taste of black forest cake is very noticeable, and delicious.

Suggested Food Pairings: This sweet beer would pair nicely with a whipped cream topped dessert, a mousse, and most definitely black forest cake.


Scrimshaw Oyster Stout (Flavoured Stout)

This is a beer for anyone who loves unusual and full-bodied brews! Made with real Prince Edward Island Malpeque oysters, every part of the oyster is thrown into the batch to create a very unique brew. Surprisingly light at 4% and 25 IBUs.

Tasting Notes: The beer starts with aromas of black olive brine, followed by dark baker’s chocolate, coffee and smoke. The flavours of smoke, dark chocolate, toast, brine and cigar are quite intense, yet wonderful. This beer is definitely something you would want to pair with a meal and enjoy slightly warmed.

Suggested Food Pairings: Obvious pairings for this robust beer would be oysters, and any other sort of shelled seafood. To match the rich smokiness of the beer, something like smoked meat or duck would also be a nice choice.


• Recipes with a splash of the featured Savvy Hip Hops •


With Royal George Brown Ale…

Brown Ale Pulled Pork

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Yield: 8 Servings


1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. freshly-cracked black pepper
4 lb. boneless pork butt or shoulder or loin
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
1 bottle of Royal George Brown Ale


In a small bowl, whisk together paprika, salt, crushed red pepper, garlic powder, and black pepper until combined. Rub the mixture all over the surface of the pork until covered.

Spread out the sliced onions over the bottom of the slow cooker. Then place the pork on top. And then pour the beer on top.
Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours, or until the pork literally falls apart on your pork. Serve on sliders, tacos, salads, or however you would like!

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days, or freeze.


With Barley Days’ Pumpkin Saison

Pumpkin Vanilla Cocktail with Spiced Sugar Rim

Ingredients for one cocktail

For spiced sugar rim

3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

 For the cocktail

1 bottle of Barley Days Pumpkin Saison of the Witch
1 oz vanilla vodka


For spiced sugar rim

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl


For assembly of cocktail

Fill a small bowl or plate with water. Dip the rim of a glass in the water, then in the spiced sugar mixture.

Pour the beer into the glass. Top the beer with the vodka and enjoy!

Keep spiced sugar rim mixture in a sealed container at room temperature.


With Barley Days’ Yuletide Cherry Porter…

Turkey Brine
From the kitchen of Barley Day’s brewmaster Alex Nicols


7 liters of water
500 g salt
175 g white sugar
400mL maple syrup
3 bottles of Barley Days Yuletide Cherry Porter
3 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
2 tsp each – peppercorns, star anise, fennel seed, mustard seed & cloves


18 hours prior to roasting the turkey, mix ingredients in a container big enough for the turkey and bring to a boil.

Turn off stove & allow to cool (outdoors or in a cold room). Once cool, put the turkey in the bring, ensuring the cavity fills with fluid.  Let sit for 12 to 18 hours in the brine

Remove and dry the turkey.  Roast you as usually do. Enjoy!



Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Hip Hops!