Beer School at Black Creek Pioneer Village

As the opening of the Black Creek Historic Brewery approaches, the time had come to train all of our historical interpreters here at Black Creek Pioneer Village. They are the staff in period dress in the homes and workshops here who give tours and tell visitors about life in 1860s Ontario. The brewery is new and so we want the staff feel familiar with it and be able to answer questions.

This week, about 30 people gathered here to learn about beer. The evening was led by beer expert Mirella Amato – a wonderful presenter. Brewmaster David Jameson was also on-hand to explain the unique brewing process at Black Creek Historic Brewery.

Mirella brought along samples of various malt varieties to smell and taste, as well as hops yeast. After learning about beer history and basics, we finally got to taste some beer!

We tasted six samples, two at a time, so we could notice the differences. The tastings allowed us to learn about three of the main ingredients in beer – yeast, malt and hops (the fourth ingredient is water).

We finished with an exercise in food pairing. What would work with a bison burger, lemon perch, macaroni and cheese or a chicken wrap? Some parings were obvious with stronger foods such as red meats needing a heartier beer, while lighter foods were complimented with wheat beers or cream ales.

“It was great to see such a keen interest and enthusiasm from the staff at Black Creek Pioneer Village,” said Mirella after the event. “It was interesting to see how each member of the staff was approaching beer from a different angle. I think the Black Creek Historic Brewery project is very exciting and will provide both a unique tourist destination, and a fun opportunity to learn about beer.”

We couldn’t agree more!

The Black Creek Growler

P.S. To learn more about Mirella Amato, visit


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