|The site of many a wild and fun party in Toronto is the Steam|
Whistle Roundhouse. It seems that Steam Whistle is opening
a second brewery in Etobicoke at a building they've held for
several years now and have been using as a distribution centre.
If you are dealt a pair of fives or sixes and you split those, Las Vegas will probably pay you to come visit.
And for months now, Steam Whistle Brewing in Toronto has been looking to split their cards. The brewery that does "one thing really, really well" is about to add a second one to their arsenal.
Well, not exactly but kind of. You see, this is a little complicated. I have known about bits and pieces of this for months, which means a lot of other people far more important than me (so, basically everyone) must have also known. But I was asked to hold off writing anything by a nice fellow at the new brewery, who promised me free beer and a cool tour at Grand Opening. So I happily agreed. But that does beg the question: How does everyone in the Ontario Craft Beer Industry know the promise of a single free beer is my Achilles Heel?? Am I that transparent? And also... please, don't answer that.
Well, yesterday, the cat was out of the bag as dailyhive.com reported it, which was followed up in a story by Ontario Beverage Network, which linked to the Daily Hive story.
Several years ago, Steam Whistle got a property in Etobicoke, which it has been using for distribution. I knew this because my Steam Whistle driver, Vince (aka Ginger Jesus), found himself working out of that location. I knew it was in the Evans Avenue-Horner Avenue area of the city so I asked him once, "How close are you to Black Oak (Brewing)?"
"Close enough that I could hit them with a stone," nodded Vince, adding with a smile, "But let them know I've never done that. Or have never even tried."
|The Von Bugle Brewery in Etobicoke|
will operate as a second and separate
facility, despite the fact it is very much
operated by Steam Whistle. However,
like Steam Whistle, they will make just
one beer. Probably "really really well."
The actual address is 249 Evans Avenue, which puts them just around the corner from Black Oak on Horner Avenue but yes, still a stone's throw away. And to be honest, I have no idea if Steam Whistle owns or lease-rents the building. I assume they own it but you know that old saying about assumptions. "If you assume, you're just a big asshole!" That's the saying, right? It's something like that, anyway.
But many months ago, employees (more than just our Ginger Jesus) heard noise that some of the brewing equipment was going to be moving into the Etobicoke digs from the Steam Whistle's Roundhouse location, which I should mention is right across the street from the SkyDome, home of "Your Toronto Blue Jays!" That's damn convenient. And also never call it the Roger's Centre in front of me. Because I will also maim a man for a free beer. But to paraphrase Vince, "Please note I never have done that and I also have never tried. Also, the influence of several beers convinces me that I have Karate skills. And I do not. So really, this is more about my safety than anyone else's."
So it's been months and months of "What are they doing over there?" for me. Fortunately, I am not the obsessive type because I can be easily distracted by a beer. And the Internet. Also any TV show or movie with super-heroes in it. Random squirrels. Finally, my Steam Whistle sales rep, Craig, popped in - a man I hadn't seen in 1,000 years, give or take 999. So I asked him... what the bloody hell are ye doin', mate?
Craig's actually of French background and yet, my question makes him sound like I think he's Scottish. But a few beers in me and I also think I'm Scotty on Star Trek, the only bastard on the show to wear a red shirt and live. So really, I have many delusional qualities.
This is now going back a few months now but Craig confirmed they were opening a second brewery, very separate from Steam Whistle but like the original, they were only brewing one beer. He knew the name of the new brewery but wouldn't tell me because it wasn't finalized.
As confirmed by the Daily Hive story, it's Von Bugle Brewing. So that combines two very popular things - the Von Trapp family from The Sound of Music, which is the only family-friendly musical movie I know about escaping Nazis through the virtue of song. And Bugles, the only snack food you spent more time sticking on the end of your fingers than actually eating. Because they taste like crap.
What else did Craig tell me? The style of beer they would be brewing. But I can't tell you that - just in case Craig actually does know Karate. Then I'm screwed. But I think I can safely tell you this. It won't be another Czech-style Pilsner. Why? Because then they'd have to change Steam Whistle's motto to "We do one thing really really well" to "We do one thing so damn well that we decided to do it again but under a different name." As stated by that Daily Hive story, which I'll link to at the end, it's a darker style. But I'll leave it to the Von Bugle gang to tell you whether it's an ale, lager or even something else. Also, there's still going to be enough brewing equipment at the Roundhouse to fill kegs but bottles and cans of Steam Whistle Pilsner are going to be coming out Etobicoke very soon.
And the now-free, exceptionally large space that's suddenly opened up at the Roundhouse due to the vacating tanks? Well, here's an interesting little tidbid.
It turns out that tons of Toronto people (and even outside-of-Toronto people because we exist, as well) rent their present open banquet area for wedding receptions and other official-type non-wedding-related events. Indeed, I have attended a wedding reception there myself. In fact, because it was an early evening wedding, the groom's party and some guests had spent the afternoon at a Jays' game, drinking. As such, they were slightly (or very much) trashed when it was time for the official stuff. The groom skipped the ball game to clean up some last minute details and was in considerably better shape. However, when I greeted him, he smelled like he had just arrived from a Kid Rock concert, if you catch my drift.
But back to the vacant space at the Roundhouse. According to Craig, the brewery makes a lovely little side-pile of dough, renting out those very facilities, especially for wedding receptions. Makes sense. It's a historic building, hugely picturesque and, well, just a fun and relaxed environment. Now they may have twice as much space to rent out for those shenanigans, according to Craig. So structural changes are coming to the Roundhouse, too. And that's what I know. Except for the beer style, which I ain't sayin'. But Scooby Doo Gang, this is a short column so thank your lucky stars. Oh yeah, that Daily Hive link is here and it's called, ummm: I called you "Daily Hive" link. As for me, that's it, that's all and I am outta here. Until next time, I remain...
"My favourite definition of craft is that...in industrial brewing, the marketing department tells the brewing department what to brew. In craft brewing, the brewers tell the marketing department what to sell,"