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shows

Bytown’s Best Beers

By Matt Harrison

It’s a golden age of sorts. Golden suds that is. Awash in beer, the capital’s not quite drowning but rather happily drifting along in a frothy sea of microbrews. Last count finds the area home to at least two-dozen breweries and growing.

Not confined to area pubs and bars, the breweries themselves have become tourist destinations such as Beau’s Oktoberfest in September (less chance of snow!), or Les Brasseurs du Temps, a beautiful stone brewery located in Hull’s former waterworks building with patios overlooking — fittingly — Brewery Creek, an arm of the Ottawa River.

What’s driving this industry? The answer is found in the hardworking brewmasters who pride themselves in being natural and authentic. But to stand out, you also have to be a little quirky (the Broadhead team brags about giving up shaving for its craft) or take a mad-scientist approach to experimenting (an Earl Grey Marmalade Saison anyone?), or get creative with naming beers (Bog WaterPink FuzzHeller Highwater).

We asked some of the city’s top brewers to talk about what makes this city’s suds scene so great.

Father-son team, Tim and Steve Beauchesne of Beau’s Brewery. Photo courtesy of Beau’s.

Beau’s Brewing Co. (Since 2006)
Steve Beauchesne, co-founder, and CEO

What makes your brewery unique?
Our close-knit family and friends, company culture, and each of the beers we brew.

What is your favourite beer?
Bog Water. It started us on a path of experimentation, and has spawned so many interesting projects. When we decided to brew a Gruit beer [brewed with herbs other than hops], I don’t think we fully realized how much it would impact our brewery. Now with a full-time Gruit program, and as originators of International Gruit Day, it is something that many brewers [worldwide] look to us as experts on.

Les Brasseurs du Temps (Since 2009)
Alain Geoffroy, president

What makes your brewery unique?
BDT is the first craft brewery established on the Quebec side of the Outaouais. It is literally a temple of beer brewing more than 35 different types of beer [always 17 fresh beers on the menu], located in a heritage centennial building and featuring a self-guided beer museum.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: L’Allumante is our nut brown ale. Despite the fact that it is our second best-selling beer [OK, not really underrated!], it remains, to my point of view, one of the best American-style nut brown ales you can find: a subtle nutty flavour sustained by a long and smooth bitterness. Favourite: La Framboyante, our raspberry pale ale. Fruit beers tend to be oversweet to my taste. La Framboyante has a perfect balance of bitterness [like biting into the raspberry seed] and sweetness of the fruit.

Brewery Kichesippi Beer Co. (Since 2010)
Paul Meek, co-owner and president

What makes your brewery unique?
Our commitment to brewing rare global styles and making them available to our customers. Logger (Pennsylvania Porter), Wuchak UK (British IPA), Donny’s Dort (Dortmunder), Phoenix and the Cat (Rauchbier), and Dartmouth Common (Steam Beer) are all great examples of [our] hard-to-find global styles.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: Probably our Kichesippi Logger. The style is a Penn Porter, which was a style created by Yuengling in the U.S. It is a not a traditional British Porter or Baltic Porter as it uses a lager yeast instead of an ale yeast. Favourite: Our Kichesippi 1855. The great thing about this beer is that it teaches the customer that the colour of the beer is not directly related to its flavour. When you try this amber ale with your eyes closed, you would never guess that it’s a darker beer in the glass.

Laura Behzadi, co-owner of Bicycle Craft Brewery.

Bicycle Craft Brewery (Since 2014)
Laura Behzadi, co-owner

What makes your brewery unique?
We pride ourselves on sourcing local ingredients when available and our passion for craft beer ensures that our beer is delicious every time it’s poured. We are also avid supporters of women in the brewing industry and celebrate International Women’s Day every year with Freedom Machine, our cherry pale ale that’s named after the suffragette name for the bicycle.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: Vinternat Liquorice Stout. The added raw liquorice root gives the beer a crisp finish that cools the mouth and is very thirst-quenching and refreshing. Most people are surprised when they try it. Favourite: Velocipede IPA. It’s our flagship beer and is inspired by the original name for the bicycle. Hoppy, with citrus notes and a refreshing bitterness — it’s perfect any time of year.

Whiprsnapr Brewing Co. (Since 2014)
Ian McMartin, founder, co-owner, head brewer

What makes your brewery unique?
We have a baby system (150L) and a big system (2000L). The baby system allows us to play a lot and have lots of different beers on tap, while the big guy lets us get our beers into the LCBO and The Beer Stores. We also have a great front-of-house area [for] events.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: Our Carol Anne Irish blonde ale. There’s just so much flavour in it for such a light, easy drinking beer [4.7 percent]. It’s got a lot of body from wheat and honey malts, and loads of hops give it a real spring-like aroma. Favourite: Our ginger coriander cream ale. It’s based on some of the travel I used to do to China, Malaysia, and Singapore, and the flavours they use in their foods: ginger, coriander, lemon, and honey. The beer is light, crisp, bright, vibrant, packed with flavour, but still balanced.

5 Beatles’ Tribute Shows

Not able to get tickets to the sold-out Paul McCartney shows? Never fear! Experience the music and iconic story of The Beatles at one of these exciting tribute performances:

See RAIN: The Beatles’ Experience this weekend in Edmonton
Photo by Joan Marcus

1. Four Lads Who Shook the World: The Beatles Story Part 2
Where: The Mayfield Dinner Theatre (16615-109 Ave.)
When: Tue – Sun, now through November 4; performance times vary
Admission: $70 – $105; purchase in advance by calling 780-483-4051 or online.
What: Enjoy a spectacular buffet followed by an entertaining and moving performance that chronicles the tale of The Beatles’ success and turmoil during their 1967 – 1970 era.

(more…)

Q&A with Shoshana Sperling of The Monkey Bunch

By Lindsay Shapka

Photo courtesy The Monkey Bunch

The Northern Alberta International Children’s Festival in St. Albert begins on Tuesday, May 29 and runs through June 2. One of the exiting acts swinging onto the main stage, is The Monkey Bunch, a four-piece, Juno-nominated rock ’n’ roll band from Toronto, Ontario. WHERE had the opportunity to chat with spunky, front-woman, Shoshana Sperling, and she spilled the bananas about how the group got started, where their name came from, and what inspires her performances.

According to Sperling, it all began six and a half years ago when she and, now husband, Maury LaFoy were “completely broke” and so wrote and recorded three songs to send to their nieces and nephews as Christmas gifts. To the couple’s surprise, when the kids played the music “their friends went crazy; everyone wanted a copy and then wanted more songs.” Responding to the demand, Sperling and LaFoy asked long-time friends Graham Powell and Lyle Molzan to join them, and it didn’t take long until requests for performances started rolling in from children’s charities, benefits, and folk festivals.

Photo courtesy The Monkey Bunch

Their show is a combination of unique lyrics, quirky comedy, enviro-friendly messaging, and A LOT of energy that will appeal to both kids and their parents. Sperling is determined to empower kids through her music and “let them know that even though they are small, they have a voice and people will listen.” She even let her small fans determine the name of the group! They christened them The Monkey Bunch after a fan-favourite cover they did of the song “No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed!” (more…)

Hot Dates: 5 for music lovers

  • Finger 11.

    November 18: Canadian rockers Finger Eleven, best know for hits like “One Thing” and “Paralyzer,” perform at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street.

  • November 26: The Dartmouth Community Concert Association hosts the multi-talented Rhapsody Quintet at Woodlawn United Church. The ensemble performs light classical, salon, musical theatre, movie music, jazz, tango, klezmer and more.
  • November 27: Soft-rock dreamboat James Blunt, best known for “You’re Beautiful” and “Goodbye My Lover,” makes a rare visit to the Halifax Metro Centre.
  • December 4: Performing in Halifax for the first time, the Mastan Group offers an “uplifting, mesmerizing” performance of Persian music.
  • December 9: New Orleans music legend Dr. John (joined by the Lower 911 band) rocks Casino Nova Scotia.

Tegan and Sara: The Calgary Sister Act Comes Home

By Ryan Duncan

Though Calgary natives Tegan and Sara Quin have been filling concert halls and dominating college radio with their punk rock attitude and folk pop sound,  you might not have heard their music. They’ve played for audiences across the U.S., Canada and Australia, are performers in the 2010 resurrection of the all-female music festival Lilith Fair, and have just released their sixth studio album, The Sainthood.

We talk to Tegan about the double standards for female indie bands, working with DJ Tiesto, and being a gay role model.

THE NEW ALBUM

WC: There is an obvious change in your sound on The Sainthood, what inspired you to take a more pop approach?

TQ: When we first started we had to be very economical. Our first records reflected our band at the time, we had to record music to sell tour dates and hit the road.

Our style of song writing hasn’t changed, but our ability to adapt, change and add things has. Ten years, and several records later we are more confident and although it was not always intentional, we emulate the things we like to listen to. We are creating our image with every new record, and it’s important to create music that people can relate to–when I listen to music on the radio now it doesn’t reflect me or my friends. I grew up in the ’80s listening to Bruce Springsteen and Cyndi Lauper.

MUSICAL ARMAGEDDON

WC: What is the best part about performing at music festivals?

TQ: That depends on the type of festival. The concept of Lilith Fair is incredible. As a feminist it’s amazing to see a group of women taking over the main stage. We just got back from a festival tour in Europe, and although we had a lot of fun, it was pandemonium. Thousands of people, all kinds of weather and liquor—people get so fucking unhinged and crazy, it’s like Armageddon with music.

DOUBLE STANDARDS

WC: Do you think there is still a double standard for women in the music industry?

TQ: It has always been there. There is no shortage of indie rock boys, but the women tend to be unheard of. There are some amazingly talented and intelligent women out there, but they are still half naked trying to sell records. I used to wonder how we would ever make it, there was no way I was going to be able to put on high heels and sell sex in order to be heard. I mean, Beyonce’s a babe, I can’t compete with that.

We get lots of press and very little radio play. That is why I say we are the most famous band you’ve never heard.

WORKING WITH DJ TIESTO

WC: You and Sara are featured on Tiesto’s track “Feel it in My Bones.” How did your collaboration with Tiesto come about?

TQ: We first worked with Tiesto for the “Back in Your Head” remix, we ended up performing with him at a festival. His tour later brought him through Vancouver and he told us that he was going to be making a dance record featuring artists that weren’t in that genre. We are always up for experimenting with different kinds of music; it’s great to play for a different audience so we were in for that.

GAY ROLE MODELS

WC: How do you feel about your sexuality being a common topic in the media?

TQ: Well 10 years ago, the perception of society was to not talk about our sexuality, it was too “racy” for local press. But somewhere between 2002 and 2004 it seemed to be the only thing we were being asked about. We are both very proud to be role models, and if we are helping it to be ‘not as hard’ to be gay for our audience, what’s the problem? The fact is I have been criticized for not talking about it, and for talking about it too much, it’s weird, it’s not like wrote the article that I am being quoted in, you know?

HITTING THE ROAD

WC: How do you feel about being on tour?

TQ: I get nervous about heading out on tour because I love being home, but once I return, I miss the road; it’s a double edged sword. I have grown accustomed to touring, and nothing equals being on stage and playing our music, so in that sense, I have become dependent on it. Touring can be humbling though, it hits us when we hit a city we have never been to before, I mean I wouldn’t roll into Los Angeles, play one show, leave and expect that it’s going to explode all over the country. I am looking forward taking this record on the road. We have an epic tour planned taking us all over Canada, to America and Australia.

BRINGING THE SHOW TO CALGARY

WC: You have two sold out shows in Calgary. Has the experience of playing your hometown changed?

TQ: Playing in Calgary used to present me with a lot of pressure. We would have so many friends and family members to see, and we would have so little time to do it. This year we have two dates in Calgary, I am humbled by that. Putting together our own stage show is something I really like to do, I was in drama as a kid, and really liked putting on plays. That is where the passion for performing stems from.