Doors Open 2018!

It’s that time of year again! Saturday May 26th and Sunday May 27th mark the 19th annual Doors Open event here in Toronto. This is an excellent opportunity to visit historic locations around the city, including Black Creek Pioneer Village. Admission will be free all day, which is a great excuse to come down!

In the spirit of Doors Open, I have opened up the archives and found some photos that have been kept in our files for years, and in some cases decades. Many of these photos have never been shared before, so enjoy!


A photo of the Halfway House before it made its way over to Black Creek Pioneer Village. I’m not sure what I like more about this photo – the bicycles on the porch or the very vintage looking boys in the foreground!


Do you recognize this building? This is our Wilmot Township Hall, better known as the Town Hall. During its lifetime in Wilmot Township, it was used to deal with local government issues and small court claims. It has a new lease on life here at Black Creek Pioneer Village, including being a site for numerous wedding ceremonies!

LASK.PHO.ND.002.jpgCheck out this old photo of Laskay Emporium. Laskay served as a general store and post office for many years in what is now known as King Township. Laskay was slated to be demolished, until it was acquired and restored for use at Black Creek Pioneer Village.


This is an incredible photo of our Roblin’s Mill in action. This was another building saved from demolition by the efforts of the Metro Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. The mill used to be located in what is now Prince Edward County, before the monumental effort was undertaken to move it to the village.

As you can see, a lot of the buildings around the village had quite a life before ending up here! If you’re interested in more village history, you can browse the historic buildings page on our website. Of course, you can also come and visit the village and see for yourself! For Doors Open weekend, we will be open from 11am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.  Last admission will be at 4:30pm, so be sure to arrive in time to see everything the village has to offer! That includes the historic brewery, which will also be open as scheduled all weekend 😉

Apricot Ale Update

Hi all,

We have hit a small snag in the brewing process of our Apricot ale. We are still looking for the ingredients for our brew, and it has taken a little longer than expected. We may push back the release date, so keep your eyes on this blog for updates!

For now, we will not have any Apricot ale this weekend. However, we will have our usual lineup (IPA, brown ale, porter, and stout) as well as fun pirate and princess themed activities running until Monday!


May Specialty Beer: Apricot Ale

Our first specialty brew of the season is almost ready! May is a busy time around the village – from May 19th to 21st, we will be hosting our annual Pirates and Princesses event! There will be a charm school, a royal ball, a treasure hunt, and more!

If you need a break from this weekend’s excitement, you can head down to the historic brewery to try our first specialty beer of the season – our Apricot Ale! Our Apricot Ale is a malty and sweet beer that pours pale gold in the glass and smells like fresh apricot. Our brewmaster Ed uses real apricot puree, so expect a light and fruity taste.

The most famous royal of the time – Queen Victoria herself!

Our (19 and older) pirates and princesses will be drinking a lovely apricot ale this weekend… but what did real royalty enjoy drinking? According to the BBC’s History Extra, Queen Victoria herself had quite an appetite for fancy food and drink. While Victoria did not usually drink ale, she still had a taste for alcoholic beverages. One of her favorites was mulled wine, a spiced and sweet red wine mixture that could be served warm. The Queen also enjoyed harder liquor such as whiskey, especially later in her life. However, no beverage could top the traditional royal favorite – tea!

So whether you relate to royalty like Victoria, or prefer to behave like a pirate instead, there’s a lot of fun activities planned for the entire long weekend. Our Apricot Ale will be available starting May 19th, so be sure to come and visit before we run out!

All about beer soap!

One of my favorite things about the gift shop here at Black Creek Pioneer Village is the versatility of the things we sell. We have a great selection of beer themed items, including our Rifleman’s Ration beer soap. This soap is made with our commercial brown ale, and it smells amazing. It’s sustainable, fresh, and made in small batches… like our historic ales!


Beer may seem like an odd choice to put in soap, but it adds so much benefit to a cold press soap recipe. Beer adds a thickness and creaminess to the lather of soap, and can also give it a unique smell or color. Our Rifleman’s Ration beer soaps have a creamy feel when touched, and a lovely smell that reminds me of the rich malty notes of our brown ale but with a touch of spearmint.

Beer soap is great for your skin and hair. If you purchase natural beer soap, you’ll notice the thick foaminess of the lather. Not only is it moisturizing for troubled skin, but it is great as a shampoo! I can’t say I’ve tried our Rifleman’s Ration soap as a shampoo before (perhaps a post for another time…) but beer soaps in general contain vitamins from brewer’s yeast that are excellent for hair.

So what other unexpected benefits are hidden in beer soap? Here’s a short list, as laid out in this article in Esquire Magazine:

  • Clearing up acne, skin redness, and irritation
  • Balancing the oil level on your skin, which can also help to control future breakouts
  • Moisturizing, which is great for dry skin
  • Antibacterial properties
  • Full of vitamins such as B12, riboflavin, and biotin which is notoriously good for hair and skin.

I would say that’s a pretty good case for a soap that contains your favorite beverage. We have Rifleman’s Ration brown ale soap stocked here in our gift shop along with many other fun beer themed selections. The perfect gift for Mother’s Day, perhaps? 😉

The Story of Porter

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you’ll know that we recently featured the story of Stout. If you’ve read that post, you may feel like you already know the story of Porter. Porter and Stout have a closely related history, and it is even disputed today what the difference is between the styles. Porter and Stout may be close cousins, but there are differences between them in taste, color, and of course history. Enough so that I have decided that the history of Porter deserves its very own post!

Our first growlers of the year are available! We will be brewing Porter this weekend.

The style we now know as Porter originated in London, England in the 18th century. It is believed that the name originated from the fact that the style was popular amongst porters that worked in the streets or the docks of London. Porters, like many other members of working class England, needed extra calories due to the hard work they would undertake on a daily basis. A glass of Porter provided those extra calories, and had a rich and comforting taste. Porter beer was dark and made with roasted malt, like it is today. The dark, rich look and taste of a Porter was a natural progression from the brown ales that were already common at the time.

As mentioned in the story of Stout, the Porter style became so popular that brewers began to put their own twist on the style. Just as breweries today compete to have the strongest, hoppiest IPAs, brewers decided to try their hand at brewing a stronger and darker take on the Porter. This darker twist on Porter was known as a Stout Porter, and later just Stout. The popularity of Porter also coincided with the Industrial Revolution, which meant that brewers could brew more beer and fill more demand. Porter was truly one of the first beers to be commercialized, and the wide availability of the style only added to its popularity.

As lagers began to surge in popularity in 19th century Europe, the popularity of porter started to wane.  Clear glassware began to replace clay and metallic tankards, making light and clear lagers a more aesthetically appealing choice than a dark porter. Pale Ales were also becoming more popular, as the British acquired a taste for hoppier, lighter beers. If one wanted a darker beer, a Stout was becoming a more popular choice than its predecessor. It seemed as though Porters were destined to disappear off local pub menus forever.

Much like the India Pale Ale, Porter owes its resurgence to curious and creative brewers. Many craft brewers were looking to resurrect older styles of ale as an alternative to the wave of lagers flooding the market. A modern Porter is dark in color, but not as inky black as a stout. Our Porter, when held up to the light, has distinct ruby tones. Modern Porters also feature an espresso coffee taste, with a hint of bittersweetness. They usually range from about 4-7%, with our historic Porter clocking in at 5%.

At the Black Creek Historic Brewery, we serve both Porter and Stout. It’s one to read up on the history of these beers, but it’s another thing to come hear it for yourself – and taste it! We will have Porter and Stout all throughout the spring.