Specialty Beer List: 2018

It’s finally that time of year! We will be opening for the season tomorrow! April 28th is our very first day of the season, and we will be open until just before Christmas. Our brewmaster Ed has been brewing the first batches of the season, and we will have beer ready to go for opening weekend!

The beginning of a new season means the beginning of a new round of specialty beers for 2018. Every month, we offer at least one specialty beer along with our usual lineup of beers. These specialty beers are made in very limited quantities… roughly 32 growlers are available for purchase. Once they are sold out, they are gone until next year! So mark your calendars… here is the specialty beer schedule for 2018. Note: Just because a specialty beer is meant for an event weekend doesn’t mean it will last until Sunday or Monday! Call ahead or visit the brewery early in the weekend to avoid disappointment! 

The Halfway House inn, which houses our historic brewery. Just come on in and head down the stairs!

May: Apricot Ale
Available for: Pirates and Princesses, May 19th-21st

Our Apricot ale is the perfect beer for spring. This is a malty and sweet beer that pours pale gold in the glass and smells like fresh apricot. Our brewmaster uses real apricot puree for this one, so expect a light and fruity taste.

June: Ginger Ale
Available for: Soldiers and Spies/Battle of Black Creek, June 16th & 17th

This isn’t the ginger ale from your childhood! Our grown up take on a ginger ale features real ginger, which gives it a slight spicy flavor. This mild spice is balanced nicely by the malty note of the beer. This is a perfect choice for Father’s Day weekend!

July: Maple Brown Ale
Available for: Canada Day/Party Like it’s 1867!, July 1st & 2nd

A very Canadian party calls for a very Canadian beer! The base for this one is our brown ale, with some pure maple syrup added. The result is a beer with a sweet maple taste that is not too overpowering.

August: Simcoe Hopped Ale
Available for: Simcoe Day Long Weekend, August 4th-6th

Celebrate Simcoe day with our special Simcoe hopped ale! We only use Simcoe hops once a year for this special ale. Simcoe hops are a nice import from the West Coast, with an earthy aroma containing hints of berry and pine. I can’t think of anything more fitting for the August long weekend!

Pumpkin ale fermenting in the cask. This one is our October specialty brew!

September:  Honey Brown Ale
Available for: Pioneer Festival and Fall Fair, September 15th & 16th

September is harvest time here at the village. While we are celebrating the bounty of nature, we are also offering up a brown ale sweetened with our very own honey from Black Creek. We are housing bees on the North Property, and they have provided us enough honey to create a batch of Honey Brown Ale. This one is a take on our classic brown ale, but with pure Black Creek honey added to sweeten it up. The result is a slightly sweeter, floral version of our brown ale. Fans of honey brown ales will not be disappointed.

October: Pumpkin Ale
Available for: Howling Hootenanny (Last two weekends of October)

Pumpkin Ale is a favorite down in the brewery. This beer is made with real pumpkin puree, as well as the spices that you would usually find in a pumpkin pie. This beer is reminiscent of pumpkin pie and all the flavors of thanksgiving treats, but it is not overly sweet or rich. We make this specialty beer more than once in October, so you have a couple of chances to come and grab some!

November: Gingerbread Stout
Available for: End of November (Date TBD… check back here for more details!)

As things start getting chilly around the village, we start to get in the holiday spirit. This starts a little early with our gingerbread stout! This brew is our traditional stout, with molasses and spice that will remind you of holiday gingerbread.

December: Winter Warmer
Available for: Christmas by Lamplight (Weekends, beginning on December 8th)

Our Winter Warmer is a sign that Christmas is fast approaching! It is perfect for chilly December days around the village. It is brewed with coriander, orange peel, and an array of spices that will help warm you up! This beer comes in at 6.5%, making it the strongest beer available down in the brewery. We brew a few batches of this one, corresponding with our Christmas by Lamplight celebrations. This will be our last specialty beer of 2018, so make sure not to miss out!

So make sure to come down to visit us in the historic brewery. Not only will you get to pick up a growler of historic beer, but our expert brewmaster or one of our skilled brewery staff will treat you to the rich and interesting history behind it!

What’s on Tap this Spring?

It’s been a long winter… a winter full of ice storms, slushy roads, and deep freeze days. It may not seem like it now, but spring is around the corner! The village is putting its best face forward and getting ready to open on Saturday April the 28th.  

A photo I took of the village when the flowers were in bloom and the leaves were on the trees… does anyone remember what this is like?

It’s also been a long winter away from the brewery. I am very excited to get behind the bar again! We have a great beer lineup for spring, and flights will be available every day from 1:00 to close. Since it’s still a little wet and chilly, we are offering a range of darker and more malt oriented styles along with our classic India Pale Ale. You can expect a selection of lighter beers as we get closer to summer. A flight includes 3 4oz glasses of historic beer, so you can expect to try 3 of the following styles:

India Pale Ale
Our India Pale Ale is a favorite down in the brewery. Our IPA is bitter yet balanced, with a fruity and hoppy taste. It is light in color, and you can expect a beautiful orange-gold shade in in the glass. It has hints of grapefruit, citrus, and tropical flavors that give it a sweet yet bitter taste that brewery visitors rave about. Our IPA comes in at about 6% ABV.

Brown Ale
Our Brown Ale has a lot of history behind it. Brown Ale was the most common style of beer in 19th century Ontario. If you want to drink like a real 19th century villager, then our Brown Ale is for you. We use roasted malt for our Brown Ale, so expect a darker color than our IPA. It is a nice chocolate brown color in the glass, with amber notes when held up to the light. The roasted malt gives our Brown Ale a nice caramel, chocolate flavor. It also has a slight coffee taste, but it is not quite as pronounced as some of our darker ales. Our Brown Ale clocks in at around 5% ABV.

Our Porter is a step up from our Brown Ale in darkness and richness. It is almost opaque in the glass, with lovely ruby tones when held up to the light. It is a little bit more malty on the palette, with a more pronounced espresso coffee taste. Our porter is perfect for a rainy spring day, where you can still feel a chill in the air. You can expect a 5% ABV from this brew.

Our Stout is the darkest beer we have on tap. It is opaque and inky black, with no light coming through at all. This can be intimidating, but our take on a Stout is smooth and easy to drink. It has a strong coffee taste, with a nutty dark chocolate note that balances it out quite nicely. Our Stout ranges from around 4.5 to 5% ABV.

Apricot Ale
Our Apricot Ale is our May specialty beer.  You can usually expect to find this beer during our Pirates and Princesses weekend. Our Apricot Ale is truly one of my favorite beers of all time. It is a beautiful and rich apricot color, and you can smell the apricot notes as soon as you raise the glass to your nose. It is malty and sweet on the palette, but not quite as overpoweringly fruity as our India Pale Ale. Our brewmaster uses real apricot puree to flavor this beer, which makes all the difference.

So come by and visit the historic brewery this spring! Not only will you get to try some amazing historic beers, but you will also learn a little bit about the history of brewing in 19th century Ontario.

Hops to you,


The story of Best Bitter

Down at the Black Creek Brewery, we are especially proud of our take on an English bitter.  Whether you try our Best Bitter in a can or a growler, you can expect a light, refreshing, and easy to drink beer. Our Best Bitter has gotten quite a few compliments too – usually from English guests that are impressed by our take on a traditional bitter. Our historic Best Bitter is true to style, and we proudly call it a real English style ale.

A can of our Best Bitter ale, brewed for Canada’s 150th birthday. You can now find our Best Bitter under the name Canadian Frontier!

So why is it called Best Bitter? While we truly believe our take on a bitter is one of the best you will try, that’s not exactly how it got the name. The name bitter was used to differentiate this style of beer from popular dark beers such as porters and stouts. Bitters tended to be paler and brewed with more hops than its darker counterparts. Since hops make a beer much more bitter, that is how the style came to be known.

As time went on, different types of bitters began to emerge in pubs across Britain. Each type of bitter varied in strength, with session or ordinary bitters being the weakest and premium, strong, or extra special bitters tasting the strongest. Best bitters had a flavor profile somewhere in the middle.

Don’t let the name fool you, a good bitter is not usually… well… bitter. While it’s true that the presence of hops is much more noticeable than in our porter or stout, that does not mean the hoppy taste is overpowering. Our best bitter is balanced and smooth. While you can still taste the floral and earthy notes thanks to our East Kent Golding hops, they are balanced out by pleasant caramel and malty notes. The result is a light, easy to drink beer that pleases almost any visitor to the Brewery.

Our Best Bitter is one of our summer beers – it makes an appearance in the brewery around June. However if you can’t wait that long, we sell our Canadian Frontier Best Bitter at the LCBO year round!

Brewing with the Brewmaster!

One of the most interesting things about Black Creek Pioneer Village is our skilled tradespeople. Not only can you learn from watching them work at a 19th century trade, but you can also purchase handmade items in our gift shop. I’m a huge fan of this part of the village, and I always find myself admiring our punched tin lanterns or our hand woven table runners. Heritage craftsmanship is rare in this day and age, and the careful attention to detail shows in each piece that is made at the village. This is especially true of our Black Creek beer. The same precision and love that is put into weaving a textile or crafting a lantern is also put into creating an artisan quality craft beer down in the brewery. The best part of all is that you can learn from our tradespeople through the apprenticeship programs offered at the village.

This could be you!

Did you know that you can learn how to craft historic beer by hand? The Black Creek Historic Brewery offers an apprenticeship program, which consists of an educational, one-on-one day with our skilled brewmaster Ed Koren. You will have the chance to spend the day in our historic brewery, learning how to make beer in the same way it was crafted in the 1800s. The most fun part of the brewery apprenticeship is that everything is done by hand, no electricity or automation required. This is a unique opportunity to learn about each step of the brewing process and why it is important. Apprentices will learn how to brew beer the old fashioned way, right down to the use of copper and wooden brewing equipment.  Ed’s proteges will sample historic beer, learn about each type of ale that we offer, and even receive a growler to take home at the end of the day!

Whether you’re a seasoned homebrewer or a beer novice, you will definitely learn something new while having fun. This program is offered on most weekends during the season, beginning on the weekend of May 11th. Of course, you must be 19 or older to be a brewer’s apprentice. For booking and available dates (they’re filling up fast!) head to the brewery apprentice page on our website.