Sunday, December 21, 2014

Saturday Advent Series Week #3 - William Street Cranberry Saison

At the William Street Beer Co., we LOVE Belgian beers...particularly Saisons. We could not be more excited to introduce you to our first seasonal Saison, and it's a great one.

Traditionally, Saisons were brewed by farmers in cooler months and cellared for the upcoming season of fieldwork. In fact, farm workers were entitled by law to receive up to 5 quarts of saison per day to help them beat the late summer heat. The style has a very broad definition, but all boast an exciting bouquet of floral and spicy esters from the unique yeast strain.

The William Street Cranberry Saison weighs in a 8% Alc/Vol and is inspired by the holiday season in which it's released. It is built on a foundation of Canadian Pilsner Malt and Wheat Malt, with the addition of Canadian Amber Honey, it is beautifully fermentable. In the latter stages of the boil, we introduce a host of festive spices.

Once the bulk of Primary Fermentation has completed, we introduce Granny Smith Apple and Ontario Cranberries to summon the experience of a holiday feast in a glass.

William Street Cranberry Saison is available at our brewery store at 412 William Street in Cobourg, in 650ml bottles, while supplies last.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Saturday Advent Series Week 2 - William Street Winter Warmer

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas on William Street! Our tree is lit and trimmed, we have been busying ourselves with gift baskets and custom orders, and bottling our hearts out. Response to the Robust Vanilla Porter has been great and we are pleased to add our next Saturday Advent beer - William Street Winter Warmer.

Our Winter Warmer (6% Alc/Vol) is a Spiced English Ale, perfect for a cool evening by the fire. It presents black in the glass with a tight tan head and posts a warming spicy nose that instantly conjures gingerbread. The malty sweetness is balanced by a very gentle hop presence and a distinct presence of cinnamon, nutmeg and all-spice.

Like the Robust Vanilla Porter, the Winter Warmer is best served at Cool Cellar Temperature (10-13C/ 50-55F) in a tulip style glass. However, a traditional shaker pint is also suitable.

William Street Winter Warmer is available as of 10am on Saturday, December 13th at our retail store at 412 William St. in Cobourg, in both 650ml bottles and 1.89L growlers.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

William Street Beer's Advent Saturday Series is Underway!

The production pipeline has been focused on the festive season for well over a month now and we are counting down to Christmas with a new festive release every weekend! The focus with this series is on very traditional ale styles...each with a holiday twist that adds some local flair to your holiday events.

The first of the series is the Robust Vanilla Porter (6.5% Alc/Vol). The traditional English Style Porter was actually a precurser of the beer that we now call stout. Porters which were marketed in London during the Victorian era were typically billed as "Extra Porter", Double Porter" or "Stout Porter" to identify the intensity and volume of roasted barley malts in the recipe. Therefore, the Porter really is a parent of the Stout in the UK beer family tree.

The William Street Beer Company is ecstatic to announce, after a great many requests, our first dark offering in our Robust Vanilla Porter. It is a sweet and creamy sum of six different malts, English hops and a traditional London Ale yeast. In the latter stages, we add a cluster of full vanilla beans which have been steeped in Premium Kentucky Bourbon Whisky. Yum.

We hope that you enjoy the first in our Christmas Seasonal Ales. The Robust Vanilla Porter is best served at Cool Cellar Temperature (10-13C / 50-55F) in a tulip style glass.

Robust Vanilla Porter is available now at our brewery retail store at 412 William Street in Cobourg while supplies last.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Growler 101 - Your reusable beer conveyance technology explained!

The William Street Beer Co. is ecstatic to announce that our high quality, small batch brewed craft beer is now available in reusable 1.89L glass containers...or growlers. These amber glass jugs allow us to provide you with fresh product at the best possible price. You are only required to pay a one time deposit and, after that, you are only paying for the contents; fresh craft beer. However, there are a few things that you should probably know about growlers and their care.

In a pre-prohibition era, when most towns and communities had a brewery or two, and modern packaging was not yet in place, people would travel to the local brewer armed with a container of their choice, often a milk bucket, to purchase a volume of fresh beer. They would take them home for consumption over the following days and would certainly open themselves up to spoilage and contamination. In response, brewers who cared aggressively about customer experience created air tight vessels that would allow for enjoyment over a reasonable time period.

Our Growler
The William Street Beer Co. has selected a 1.89L amber glass jug for our growler program. This is a proven format which ensures product stability. In addition, we "counter fill" our growlers in the same way as our 650ml bottles. This means that each container is purged of air with CO2, to ensure that the beer never comes in contact with harmful environmental factors...namely oxygen.

The contents of a 1.89L Growler is roughly equal to three of our 650ml bottles, or about a standard 6-pack. You will find that this is a very economic way of purchasing craft beer, especially for those who are local and likely to visit with some frequency.

Growler Care
The first thing that you should know, is that a growler is filled with carbonated liquid and contents are under reasonable pressure. Under normal conditions, this is a great thing that ensures correct draught style carbonation in your glass. However, care should be taken to avoid dramatic temperature changes (ie. being left in a hot car under direct sunlight) as this can result in increased internal pressure.

The most frequent question we get about growlers is regarding shelf life. As a rule, they should be opened within 72 hours to ensure product freshness. Once opened, be sure to reseal immediately after pouring. If you do this, contents should remain fresh, delicious and carbonated for over 48hrs.

Once every delicious drop has been consumed, it's time to clean your growler. Please avoid all household detergents, especially dishwashing liquids. Do not put the growler in the dishwasher. All that we would ask you to do is rinse twice with hot water, drain in your drying rack and then store with the lid off until returned. We will ensure that the vessel is "beer clean" before it gets refilled.

How Does the Program Work?
There are two separate items involved when you purchase a growler from the William Street Beer Co. Firstly, there is a deposit on the vessel. This is paid only once and it can be returned for value at any time. Secondly, there is a fill value for the beer. This will vary based on beer style. Once you have paid your deposit, you will find that the subsequent fills are an amazing value.

If you have any questions, please let us know.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

William Street Beer Update - October

Some of you are perhaps curious about why this blog has been pretty quiet over the past few months...well, I guess things have been pretty hectic. The summer came with some pretty crazy demand and our limited fermentation capacity was a bit of a challenge. Oh well. Onward and upward. As you may know, we have been pretty aggressively reinvesting in our brewery to provide our customers, retail and commercial, with a product of increasing quality and diversity. Thank you again for all of your support. is where we are at at this point:

We are currently maintaining steady and consistent retail hours at our onsite retail store. They are Wed - Fri 12-6, Sat. 10-5. Many of you have commented that it is periodically difficult to visually confirm that we are open. If it is during those hours, we are.

We have, of course, also been working hard to refine our products to further meet your tastes and your expectations. At this time, we are working to have Cliff Top Pale Ale and Red Sky Amber Ale available in the retail store at all times. Our new fermentors are getting us into a position where that is a reality for the very near future.

We are also able to now focus on getting some one off beers out to you, and we certainly share your enthusiasm for this. In September, we released Burnham Raspberry Ale. This was a dry, raspberry infused wheat ale which was very warmly received. Thank you to the Burnham Family Farm Market and to all of you for your enthusiasm for local ingredients.

We also recently released a limited number of bottles of Blindside Belgian Tripel. This is a simple version of a Trappist Tripel, but at 9.6% ABV, it makes a great event beer....and rumour has it there is going to be another release very soon.

We have a great line up of beers coming down the pipe in the weeks to come and we are very excited to share them with you. As I mentioned to many of you in the store, we are soon to release Peculiar Pumpkin. This is a strong, English Style spiced ale which features a complex blend of European Barley Malts, joined by mashed pumpkin and a blend of spices designed to remind you of home...where ever that might be. Please keep an eye on our Facebook Page to confirm release date and availability.

Thank you again for your support and enthusiasm. It inspires us every day to create a product which you can all be proud of.



Monday, May 26, 2014

What a Month!

Well, friends. It has been a few weeks since we first timidly opened the doors to our retail store at 412 William Street and delivered our first kegs to local restaurants. It would be an understatement to say that we have been on a roller coaster of epic proportions. We have had some very rewarding successes and some very public shortcomings. But at the end of the day, we own it all, we have learned a ton and are in a great position to be truly up to speed by summer.

In the success column, we introduced three of our beer brands recently. They are North Shore Blonde, Cliff Top Pale Ale and White Sail Wheat. At their best, the response has been solid. In particular, I was very pleased by the response to White Sail, our North American Hefeweizen. I believe that it will be in steady rotation through the summer months.

On the set-back side, we have learned some lessons about our carbonation process, and particularly about yeast management. As some of you may have experienced, we had some under-carbonated Cliff Top sold over the long weekend. In addition, we utilized an unproven yeast strain recently which lead to a batch of North Shore Blonde with pretty undesirable results. Regretfully, some of it was sold on Thursday of last week, although only about 50 bottles. Some of you have already reached out to report this and I appreciate your kindness and understanding. If you purchased a bottle of Blonde on Thursday and haven't opened it yet, don't. If you did open it, please bring the empty bottle in to the store and we will rectify the situation as best as we can.

Going forward, the good news is this. We have brand new, fresh and vibrant yeast being propagated for us in a lab environment as we speak. This will improve and shorten our fermentation and allow us to offer you a better and more consistent product. Also, we are acquiring new fermentation vessels which will dramatically increase
our production capacity.

The retail store will not open this week (May 29-31), as we are refilling our production pipeline. We appreciate your kind patience as we continue to work out these early jitters.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

William Street Brewhouse News

Firstly, I want to thank all of our great friends in Cobourg and the surrounding area who have made it so completely clear that we are building our brewery in the right place. Thank you for your unwavering support...and your seemingly unlimited thirst.

As I have had the opportunity to explain to many of you, we have spent the past few weeks waging a war on two fronts. One one side, we have been working to get our brewhouse operations up to full capacity. This has included a ton of engineering and re-engineering, assembly and re-assembly and countless hours of watching CO2 bubbles. You will be happy to hear that we are just now finally hitting our stride with many of the kinks worked out.

At the same time, there is the wonderful issue of your enthusiasm and patient demand to buy beer from our on site retail store. We have opened as possible, we have sold beer in large quantities at an unexpected pace, and we have had to turn people away empty handed. Many of you have commented that "it's a nice problem to have". You are probably right, if you consider the opposite scenario in which the fridges were full and no one wanted the contents. However, our goal now is to provide you with consistency.

To that end, after much deliberation and angst, we have decided to keep the retail store closed this weekend (May 9th-11th) in order to get ahead of the game. We really want to have our best foot forward going into the May long weekend. The store will be open on May 15th at noon. At that time you can select between:

Cliff Top Pale Ale 
Our North American Style Pale Ale which boasts a balance of citrusy hop bitterness and smooth malty sweetness.

North Shore Blonde
An effort at elegance in simplicity. It is golden in colour with a crisp sweetness and a subtle and balanced hop presence

White Sail Wheat
Your first introduction to our Canadian Hefeweizen - Cloudy and crisp with a strong presence of Orange. Perfect for the May long weekend!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Thank you, Cobourg!

Wow. It's Sunday afternoon and the William Street Beer crew and supporters seem to all be basking in the afterglow of a really tremendous Saturday at the brewery. As you may know, we opened our doors for the first day of retail sales on a very quiet note. At 10am, we announced that we were open via social media, we turned on the "OPEN" sign and we held our collective breath. As we hoped, the response was fast and dramatic.

In short, by about 3pm we had sold through our available stock of 650ml bottles of North Shore Blonde Ale. Thank you to all of you who came to support our efforts, and thank you to all of you who took the time to linger, chat and show an interest in our work. So what's on the horizon?

For the remainder of the spring, we will be opening the retail store on Thursdays (12-6), Fridays (12-6) and Saturdays (10-4). Our intent is to increase our supply and our hours once we get into the summer.

In the short term, we will be open next weekend with both Cliff Top Pale Ale and North Shore Blonde in the fridges. This week, we are also brewing the introductory batch of White Sail Wheat Ale in preparation for the patio season which is around the corner.

I am also excited to receive feedback from those of you who walked out of the brewery with some of our limited supply of Wheat King IPA. We have always been dancing around the issue of India Pale Ales, trying to establish a unique approach which would contribute a unique perspective to the style. We are hopeful that this beer fits the need. Offering a unique blend of Canadian barley, wheat and caramel malts, Wheat King IPA delivers a different perspective on the IPA, balancing the characteristic cloudy tang of an American Hefe with the warm sweetness of Caramel malts and the crisp citrus notes of west coast hops. We hope that you like it.

Finally, we are very proud to announce our first active draught presence. On Saturday afternoon, amongst the excitement, we finally delivered a keg of North Shore Blonde to 92 King, Cobourg's new and exciting gastro-pub. This place delivers an unbelievably sophisticated take on pub fare, fuelled by a spectacular Ontario beer line up. Thank you and congrats to Drew, Michael and the team there.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Opening Soon...Status Update

When it was decided that we were going to proceed with the creation of William Street Beer, it was with the commitment that we would create a small but effective brewery, specializing in simple ale styles, to be provided directly to our community from the point of production at 412 William Street in Cobourg. To that end, we have worked very hard to gather together great tools, great equipment and fabulous ingredients. Despite our small size, we want to create world class beer that Cobourg and the surrounding communities can call their own. We will not waver from that commitment.

You may be one the the people who have been asking when William Street Beer will be available in local restaurants and when it can be purchased at our onsite retail store. In truth, we have been brewing for a period of time now, ironing out some production issues and  ensuring that the beer that is introduced to you is up to our standards. The William Street Beer Co. stands for high quality, small batch brewed, all natural ales...with no compromise.

Thank you all for your patience. We will be open to serve you soon.

We promise.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Time is Near

So...we have had the tremendous pleasure over the past couple of weeks to meet a great many of our neighbours, make a bunch of new friends and begin to get ourselves oriented in the fabulous business community in Cobourg/Port Hope. Not surprisingly, I have been asked pretty regularly about our opening date and when people can buy beer at William and University. Truthfully, it's pretty much out of our hands right now. It's entirely at the will of about 3,000,000,000 of our most trusted helpers...and this is where they work!

Seriously though, we have a batch of North Shore Blonde and a batch of Cliff Top Pale Ale bubbling away in these fermentors. Once the yeast have finished their fine work, we will get this beer carbonated and into kegs and bottles just as fast as we can. As soon as we have beer in the fridges, we will fire up the "OPEN" sign and invite you all in. I can't say too much, but I would certainly recommend that you keep half an eye on our FACEBOOK PAGE over the coming days...

What else is new? Well aside from just standing around waiting for beer to ferment we have also been finishing all of the details off in the store, celebrating the arrival of our signage (Thanks, Holly!) and doing all of the last minute errands in preparation for opening. BTW - Check out this awesome fridge that we're picking up this week...we are stoked!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

William Street Beer - March Update

Well, today is March 25th, 2014. When we initially crafted our business plan; the master opus around which our brewery project has revolved, we projected an opening date in January. When we suffered delays surrounding our location, we had to very quickly revise our opening date to March 1st. Now, we have been waiting on the delivery of a crucial component of the brewhouse equipment, without which we cannot brew beer. Let me tell you, I hate delays. I hate long lines, I hate tardiness, I hate late dinners and I despise asking others for patience when I myself have little. However, as the weather warms and Cobourg has access to it's first brewery in over 100 years, I am confident that these little delays will be forgotten.

All of that being said, here is all of the good news...

Firstly, we are a fully licensed brewery. We are able to manufacture and sell beverage alcohol in the province Ontario. We received our federal license from the CRA earlier this month, and last week we received our provincial manufacturing license from the AGCO. On the heals of those two documents, we had our site inspection which confirmed that we are also licensed to sell product directly to the public from our onsite store.

Of equal importance, we learned this past weekend that the final component of our brewing equipment is being completed as we speak and that we should have it in our hands in the coming days. As soon as we had this info, we have been in a purchasing frenzy, arranging delivery of brewing grains, bottles, kegs etc.

In the past week we also had a thrill of finalizing our label designs with an incredibly talented artist and packaging designer. We can't say enough about the talent and creativity of Luke at The Design Firm.

As we continue through the final days of hard work leading up to our opening, we want to thank absolutely everyone who has supported The William Street Beer Company in it's development. We have been lifted up by the enthusiasm of friends and family, officers from all levels of government, the Cobourg and Port Hope small business communities, local radio and newspaper venues, the Ontario Craft Beer community, and our ever growing social media support network. Above all, we are thankful for the enthusiasm of our very thirsty neighbours who have expressed an unwavering enthusiasm for a community based brewery, crafting small batch beer from high quality ingredients.

All of that being said, the countdown is on. The coming days will hold some of our biggest milestones, as we complete the brewery, launch our onsite manufacturing and announce the opening of our facility to the people of Northumberland and surrounding areas.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Beer in the 'Bourg

Wow. It was certainly a week of firsts at the little brewhouse on William Street. We had some extra hands available to us because of March Break and we did our best to hit the gas and race towards our soft opening. Unfortunately, a mid week snowstorm broke our pace a little bit. However, things are so close we can taste it...and it tastes a little bit hoppy!

The theme for this past week was really about presentation. We worked hard to finish the store, installing flooring, painting trim, creating our blackboard menus and prepped for the installation of the bar and draught system.

We are also working hard on our labels. We really want to have something fun and interesting in that regard and could not be more excited to unveil what's coming down the pipe. The William Street label will stand out, that's for sure.

Tending mash is excellent for
opening your pores!
Obviously, the biggest news is that we brewed our fist test batch at the brewery on Thursday. We're still not at full capacity because of an incomplete brewhouse set up. However, we could wait no longer so we ran a 1bbl batch of a Cascade SMASH, just to get a feel for things. We wanted to be sure that we had all of our pumps, fittings hoses, chillers etc. in order so that we can hit the ground running when our final components arrive.

Truly, the brew day was not our most precise or dignified, but what can you expect with so many new tools. Despite some leaks, a scalded thumb and some wet pant legs, we managed to hit our numbers and our house yeast strain seems happy in their new home.

Lucky Duck!
We were also able to donate our spent grain to a small farm who were kind enough to stop by and collect it, as well as sending us some pics of their poultry diving into it. It's our goal to keep all of our spent malt out of the dumpster, so email me if you have any hungry animals who might be interested.

We still aren't able to confirm our opening date. However, what we can confirm is that we will be opening soon with limited product availability which will increase dramatically over the following days. What we can say for sure is that you should keep a
close eye on our FB Page for an announcement. We want to be sure that our friends get the first crack at Cobourg's beer. So stay tuned for short notice!

Seeya soon!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Who's ready for beer?

I know we've made this point a few times, but we really like making beer...and we like making beer in large quantities...and we like the opportunity to sell that beer to nice people. Well, it looks like we're going to be pretty happy in the near future.

OK - Here's what's been going on at William Street.

Firstly, we have been working at getting the brewhouse ready for production. We have been cleaning and prepping stainless steel tanks and kettles, sourcing and buying pumps, hoses and fittings and ensuring that everything is water tight. As I write this, everything is calibrated and ready for production. There is one element missing, but more on that later.

We have been placing all of our orders for ingredients and materials. There are truckloads of malted grain, bottles and kegs heading in our direction.

We have really been blessed with some great assistance from friends and family in the finishing of the brewery store. We have been splashing paint and tacking trim in preparation for our pending opening.

On Thursday, we received our Federal licensing in the mail. This is the item that allows everything else to fall into place. On Monday, I will deliver it to the provincial governing office and they will issue our other crucial license. This will allow us to commence the manufacturing of beer at 412 William Street with the intent to open our retail store and wholesale distribution in the weeks to come. Sweet.

So what does that mean to you?

If you live or work in close proximity to the brewery, you may notice some really great new smells over the next week or so.

If you like to sample beer, buy beer or if you are just curious about what a nano-brewery built in an old service station might look like, we will be announcing several invite only open houses starting later in the month. When we say invite only, we mean that they will be announced through social media and if you hear about it, we would love to have you. The dates will go out via FACEBOOK and TWITTER. We will hope to be at full productivity and open for full retail hours later in the month.

But what of the missing element? What could be missing?

Well, there is one element of our brewhouse equipment which is being custom built and is a bit behind schedule. Until it arrives, our brewing capacity will be reduced. Don't worry, we will be working feverishly to ensure that there is beer available to you in March. We may sell out of beer periodically in the first few weeks, and we appreciate your patience as we get up to speed. Your refreshment and enjoyment is our raison d'etre and we are excited to serve Cobourg and the surrounding area for years to come!

We look forward to seeing you on William Street!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Brand Introductions

One of the truly amazing things about opening a small brewery is how little these early stages have to do with beer! Over the past several weeks, I have cut trenches in 60 year old concrete (8 inches thick with wire mesh, if you must know), I have built a cold room, framed our retail area received shipment of spectacular kettles and fermentation tanks, all while continuing the licensing process. Pretty crazy.

But the beer, you ask? What of the beer?

Well, I have been working on a few core recipes over the past few years, with a big push to refine them for you over the past several months/weeks. When we open in the coming weeks, we will be leading with our two core brands. They are:

North Shore Blonde Ale - 24 IBU's 5% ABV
In the marketing copy we have described this ale as being "a sophisticated take on a Canadian Classic, at home on the dock or the dinner table". In truth, it is a high quality take on a very simple concept. It is light in colour, subtly impacted with Canadian Cascade hops and cold crashed to ensure a crisp and clear finish. If you are a casual beer drinker who chooses something simple, light in colour and crisp in texture, this beer is for you.

Cliff Top Pale Ale - 35 IBU's 6% ABV
Not a word of a lie, I am drinking one of these while I write this. We evolved Cliff Top in the proud heritage of West Coast American Pale Ales. It has a great golden colour and boasts a strong but not overwhelming hop forward finish. If you are a craft beer lover who wants quality in every sip, this is your choice.

As we head into the spring, we will also be introducing our first round of seasonals...and I am so glad that our first season is Spring. Watch for:

Red Sky Ale - 35 IBU's 5.5% ABV
An American Amber Ale which boasts a really cool balance of caramel and raisin with crisp citrus notes, we utilize a home made confectioners syrup and Chinook hops. This is a great one for spring afternoons outside.

Spring Saison - 27 IBU's 7% ABV
The William Street crew loves Belgian beers, especially Saisons. This will be our first opportunity to share this passion with you and we can't wait. Made with a complex blend of Canadian malts, hops and local Northumberland honey, this is a fantastic opening fanfare to patio weather!

White Sail Wheat - 30 IBU's 5% ABV
Our take on an American Hefeweizen, White Sail has the cloudy bitterness that makes a wheat beer so refreshing. We use Canadian Wheat Malt, Hallertau hops and we add a healthy dose of fresh orange zest to add an element of cirtrusy sweetness. Now that's a beer for early summer!

So...who's thirsty?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The William Street Beer Co. - Update

I always roll my eyes a little bit when a blog entry starts with; "I know it's been a while since my last post, but I've been CRAZY BUSY!" However, here we are...I think that everyone has been patient long enough and deserve a bit of info. So, what's new on William Street? Well, where should I begin?

I guess we'll start with our work on the old service station at 412 William Street. The plumbers finished up their efforts this past week having installed the sinks and floor drain. We have started to assemble the cold room (home to our new Brite Tanks) and from there it's all about paint, trim and finishes. I am hopeful that the retail area can be suitable for guests within the next two weeks or so.

Our licensing process is proceeding as expected as well. Our next step is the CRA site visit, which has been scheduled for the near future. The AGCO has all of the required elements, everything looks great and I am holding high hopes that we can hold to our March 1st opening date.

Perhaps most exciting is the arrival of our brewhouse equipment on Friday. We purchased our 3bbl brewing system from Stout Tanks and Kettles of Portland Oregon and they were kind enough to crate it up beautifully and toss it on a truck bound for the East. Unfortunately, the weather necessitated a hasty retreat and I didn't get a chance to fully open a single crate. All I managed was to pop the top and get a peak at our new Brew Kettle...pretty sweet.

So what's next? The good news is that I can stop thinking so much about the building and I can start focusing on the more important things...put first things first, if you will. I have been putting the final tweaks onto our core brands and I could NOT be more excited to share them with you all. Maybe I will go into more detail on that later. In the mean time, I have some brewing to attend to.

Who's thirsty?