Nestled in an industrial building on Canotek Road, the recently opened Dominion City Brewing Company has been proving that not only is it possible to follow your passion, but that you can inspire passion in others at the same time. The brewing company is run by a group of friends who left their office jobs to work at making something tangible. This something ended up being beer.
Starting the brewery was a labour of love. Not just the love that Josh, Andrew and Alex have for their craft, but the love that Ottawa beer-drinkers have for the DCBC folks as well. In April 2014, they became the first-ever brewery in Canada to be funded by a Kickstarter campaign. The name of the brewery is a tip of the hat to the country’s history and their intent is to honour Canada’s strong brewing customs by making beer that reconnects drinkers with that tradition, re-establishing the connection between beer and a sense of place.
I had the good fortune of being shown around the brewery by Josh, as he explained how the process of turning delicious grains into delicious beer unfolds. From their ingredients to their tasting bar, everything is infused with a sense of community involvement. For instance, the Earl Grey in their Earl Grey Marmalade Saison comes from Bridgehead, a local coffee shop chain, while they get their Red Fife winter wheat from Ironwood Organics, a small farm in Eastern Ontario. It’s an heirloom variety that the farmer (his name is Chris) malts himself. The spent grain at the end of the brewing process gets donated to another local farm, Castor River Farm, and even the tasting bar is in on the action: the bar itself is made of wood from Log’s End, a company that focuses on using reclaimed wood from the Ottawa River.
After the tour came the tasting. We got to try the three beers that they are currently selling regularly (Earl Grey Marmalade Saison, Town & Country and Two Flags India Pale Ale), as well as their seasonal Galloping Hessian pumpkin ale, made with local pumpkins with just the right amount of spice, and an extra-secret mystery beer.
The folks at DCBC are pretty active in Ottawa’s brewing communities, and this mystery beer was a homebrew batch from a friend. It was also hands down the best homebrew I have ever put in my mouth — rich and toasty, with a molasses-like note that also bizarrely reminded me of roasted marshmallows. I miss it, but as we chatted about brewing and about local ingedients, I was in turn inspired to re-start my own home brewing adventures.
From head to toe, the Dominion City Brewing company is about history and community. They’ve been well-received in Ottawa so far (they sold out on their first day open!), and I anticipate that this positive reception will continue. Visit them soon, and tell them I said hi!beer, dominion city brewing company, homebrewing, Kimberley Dawkins, Mico Mazza, ottawa