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Beer Soaps and Shampoos

One of the many things I appreciate about beer is its versatility. You can drink it, you can cook with it…and you can wash with it. That’s right—beer-based artisan soaps and shampoos have been enjoying a vogue of late. To create beer soap/shampoo, all you do is replace the water in your recipe with beer (much like how beer bread is essentially soda bread, only with beer instead of buttermilk!).

ReallyNiceGrowler

But why would you use beer for bathing? Well, apparently beer has several properties that make it an excellent soap additive. According to some artisan soap=makers, the B vitamins naturally present in beer nourish the skin and hair—much the way they nourished thirsty Victorians! The hops also play an important role: soap-makers claim that their amino acids soften the skin.

While we sell beer soap in the Black Creek Pioneer Village gift shop, it is the off-season, and I thus cannot go pick some up. However, I do have some stout shampoo, gifted to me by a friend. The label reads: “Stout, cognac, and lemons make this a supremely conditioning shampoo to give weight and shine.”

Intriguing.

On the other side, it reads, “Top tip: Rinsing your hair with beer will give it shine and volume.”

Well, I like shine and volume—more websites claim that beer’s various proteins and vitamins help with that. However, there is only one way to find out.

For you, beer lovers, I washed my hair with beer shampoo.

The Smell:

Right away, I sense this will be a drawback. I love the rich, roasted coffee/chocolate nose of a good stout. This shampoo, however, smells sharp and alcoholic. I guess that’s the cognac.

The Look:

It’s more…um, liquid than the shampoos I’m used to. Seriously, it looks like I’ve got a handful of stout cupped in my palm.

The Feel:

It actually lathers pretty well, and it doesn’t feel that different from regular shampoo once you get going. That cognac smell is something else, though.

The Reveal:

Oh, you guys. The next morning, my hair was super shiny, but it also felt…slick, you know? If I’d been at the Black Creek Brewery, I would’ve been fighting all day to keep it in a Victorian hairstyle. As it was, I spent a long time with the hair straightener this morning, trying to make it behave a little.

beershampooreveal

It still feels unruly.

It didn’t go well. This is “volume,” I suppose.

The Verdict:

So…not my favourite hair-washing experience. For my hair, this wasn’t a great fit. I wonder, though, if that was the cognac more than the beer. It definitely made its presence known! When we return to Black Creek on April 29th, I’m going to see if the gift shop has any beer soap available. I have a feeling that beer alone (no spirits) may turn out differently!

Cheers!

Katie

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New Brew: Winter Warmer 

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate the first of our three “Christmas by Lamplight” events. Lamplight 2.0 is this Saturday evening (tickets here!), and we will once again be sampling our Winter Warmer down in the Black Creek Brewery. 

Our 2016 Winter Warmer is similar to last year’s brew.  It’s an amber ale: Ed’s replicated the colour of a Christmas orange in your glass! Not surprisingly, the main players here Ed’s additions of bitter orange peel and coriander. Orange is the first aroma I noticed, and certainly the first thing I tasted. This is a medium-bodied beer, very smooth and drinkable, even with an ABV of 6.5%. My fellow Beer Expert Milan and I posit that it’s a little sweeter than last year’s batch – come see what your palate says! 

Ed’s doing several brews of the Winter Warmer, and it will only be available here at the Black Creek Brewery. Be sure to pick some up before we close for the season on the 23rd!

Cheers!

Katie 

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Interview with a Beer Expert: Milan on Home-Brewing

Milan in the Harness Shop

Milan in the Harness Shop

Black Creek Beer Expert Milan is a man of many talents. When he’s not conducting tours and tastings in the brewery, he can often be found trying his hands at historic trades from printing to leather-working. And when he’s not at Black Creek, he’s still a beer expert – after joining the brewery team, Milan has become a burgeoning home-brewer.

We caught up in the Harness-Maker’s Shop recently to chat about his brews. It’s a cozy little space, especially with the woodstove burning away. “So, Milan,” I said, leaning on the counter, pen poised above my notebook. “Tell me about your beer…”

It’s largely a creative outlet, Milan explains. “And it gives me access to whatever styles I want.” Indeed, he’s done everything from oatmeal stouts to pale ales to pumpkin beers (made with real pumpkin, just like Black Creek!). But while an in-house brewery sounds like a dream, surely it’s beyond the reach of the average person with an average (or smaller-than-average) living space?

Not necessarily, Milan says.

“For small batches, you can just use pots and pans that you already have. If you’re going bigger, there are a few start-up costs—getting the equipment and everything—but then it’s actually pretty cheap.”

How much beer does Milan make?

“Four gallons. I built my mash tun from scratch.”

When I point out that Milan has garnered quite a reputation for elaborate costumes and props made from scratch, he laughs. “I guess so, yeah. I like making things and working with my hands.”

I decide not to mention that he’s stitching leather while talking to me. The poetic justice is too great.

“Working with Ed is great too; I can ask him questions along the way. Things like what temperature is best for specific yeasts…he has a very finely tuned process.” He pauses, sunlight catching in his hair. “Ed is a wealth of knowledge. And he’s always happy to share it.”

Indeed, our adult apprentices know this very well. I inquire whether he thinks our apprenticeship program would help people just getting into home-brewing. Milan ponders.

“As Beer Experts, we learn a lot from watching Ed work. But so many key things happen before we arrive—the mash, for example. Seeing every step would’ve helped a lot; I made some mistakes at first.”

But Ed was able to help?

“Yeah.”

When asked whether he has any tips for other beginning brewers, Milan suggests purchasing a beer-making starter kit. “It’s a good way to try it out.” And of course, coming to chat with Ed and our Beer Experts, right here at the Black Creek Brewery!

Until next time!

Katie

 

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Light Up The Night!

It’s a party in the Village! Tonight is our exciting Light Up The Night event at Black Creek Pioneer Village! Tonight, see the Village like never before as you explore the site after hours!

Whoo!

Whoo!

· Enjoy craft beer, artisanal whisky and local wine as you take in the sights and sounds
· Create your own gourmet treats at the Tostada, Crepe, and Mashed Potato Bars, made with local ingredients
· Unwind to local musical talent performed in intimate heritage settings
· Stop by “The Un-Bar” and sip 1800s virgin cocktails
· Try your hand at genuine 19th century trades, crafts, and games
· Laugh and learn with special performances from our History Actors
· Bid on unique and hand-crafted items and experiences at the Silent Auction
· Meet the Village’s newest residents – our heritage breed goats!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

The Devin Cuddy Band will take the stage in an intimate open-air performance, bringing their unique blend of New Orleans Blues and Country to Black Creek. If you’ve not heard the Devin Cuddy Band before, you’re in for a treat. Take a listen to them performing at the Dufferin County Museum and Archives last year!


The proceeds from Light up the Night go towards restoration of historic buildings at Black Creek Pioneer Village to provide cultural experiences for future generations. And it’s not too late to join the party! Tickets are $40/person and can be purchased here, or at the door. You do need to be 19+ though… craft beer/whisky/local wine, you see. 😉

See you at the party!

Katie

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2016: We’re Back!

Hello, Beer-Lovers!

It is good to see you all again! It’s been a long, cold (and busy…very busy) winter away from our lovely Black Creek Historic Brewery.

(I did try some interesting beers, though. Highlights include the Mean Old Tom—a mouthwatering stout from the Maine Beer Company—and the Koru—a Belgian pale ale with a New Zealand twist, from our friends at Beau’s All-Natural Brewing.)

But I know we’ve all missed Ed’s historic brews. Happily, Black Creek is now open for our 2016 season, and our fridges are already full! Currently, we have our Porter, Stout, and India Pale Ale all ready for purchase and sampling. And there’s more on the way! Here is our 2016 Specialty Ale Lineup!

*drumroll, please*

growler

May – Apricot Ale

June – Ginger Ale

July – Maple Brown Ale

August – Simcoe Hopped Ale

September – Fresh Hop/Wet Hop Pale Ale

October – Whiskey Barrel Aged Brown Ale, Honey Brown Ale & Pumpkin Ale

November – Gingerbread Stout (Katie raises a curious, appreciative eyebrow)

December – Winter Warmer

What else can you expect for 2016?

More sampling!

That’s right, we now have another beer sampling block! From 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm daily, you can visit us in the historic brewery, try a flight, purchase/return growlers, and have a chat with your friendly neighbourhood Beer Experts.

Tours!

Our ever-beloved Historic Brewery Tour is back! Pick up your tour ticket from Admissions, and then join us on the Half Way House porch, daily at 2:00 pm. We’ll meet 1860s drinkers and temperance advocates, explore brewing processes and ingredients, and lift a glass to Queen and Country!

John Lewis Krimmel 's "Village Tavern" (1814-1815).

First stop on the tour: our taproom, very similar to this one shown in John Lewis Krimmel ‘s “Village Tavern” (1814-1815).

Apprenticeships!

Once again, Ed is looking for eager apprentices to brew side-by-side with him! Spend the day at the village learning brewing secrets straight from the master himself, join our Beer Expert on tour, and then take a growler home with you! Spots are filling fast (already!), so book early to avoid disappointment!

This Blog!

Yes, I have returned from my winter hibernation! Look for news, updates, and assorted beer history right here on this site—new posts go up on alternate Thursdays.

barrel_l

We’re really looking forward to another season at the Black Creek Historic Brewery, and we hope you are, too! It’s funny—every year in May, I shake my head, because I can’t imagine how we’ll fit all of our tours, specialty beers, events, and tastings in. There’s always so much happening at Black Creek!

And yet—and yet, the year flies by. It always does, when you’re having fun. 😀

We’re glad to be back. See you in the brewery!

Katie

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Last Call!

Hello, beer-lovers! It seems hard to believe, but we’ve nearly reached the end of our season here at the Black Creek Historic Brewery. Black Creek closes for the season on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015. So, you’ve got one more week to come down, stock up on growlers (the Winter Warmer is out and lovely and citrus-y), join us for tours and samplings, and of course, celebrate with us during our final Christmas by Lamplight evening.

banner-bcpv-home-xmas-lamplight

We will be back on May 1st, 2016, stocked with beer and full of cheer.

Photo by James Bowers.

Photo by James Bowers.

Need your beer/beer history fix before that? Don’t worry! Our commercial brews will be available in the LCBO all winter long. The Rifleman’s Ration is a permanent listing (you can also get it from the Beer Store, if you so choose), the Benson Strong Ale will be out for a while, and you can check the LCBO website to see what other seasonal favourites are in stock!

This blog will go quieter as I make my habitual trips southward (I am not a cold-weather creature), but I’ll still be popping up occasionally. After all, I’ve had some very fine beers and beer-adventures in the States, and I look forward to sharing my explorations with you!

So to round out 2015, I’d like to indulge in a moment of sentimentality. ‘Tis the season, after all.

I love our little brewery. I really do. My very first Christmas by Lamplight, I was assigned there as an extra pair of hands. The moment I walked in, that was it for me. I loved it.

I love my perch on the barstool. You can see everything from there: the gleaming copper brew-kettle, and the squat mash tun, and the casks all neatly stacked and waiting. It’s a little space. A tucked-away space. But it’s full of the sweet smell of barley, and the steam that creeps along the ceiling when Ed cools the wort.

It’s a little space, but it fits a lot of people, and I think that’s what I love most of all—the stories and the people we meet, and the eyes that light up when someone tries something they really like. Every tour, every sample—you make each one unique, each one memorable. Thank you for that. Truly.

It’s a little space, our brewery .

And it’s home.

Casks

To Queen and Country!

Katie

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New Brew: Chocolate/Vanilla Porter

There’s another new beer in the fridges!

This year's Spirited Affair is Saturday, October 3!

This year’s Spirited Affair is Saturday, October 3!

One of the silent auction prizes in last year’s Spirited Affair was the chance to design and brew your own beer with Ed. Our lucky winner Kimball has given us something truly delicious. This is a sweet chocolate/vanilla porter. It’s a rich, full-bodied dessert beer: dark, rich, and loaded with chocolate flavour. A small addition of lactose also lends sweetness and creaminess – much like a Milk Stout. This brew would pair well with your favourite desserts: cakes, brownies, and anything else sweet and rich.

It’ll be available for purchase this weekend, and as usual, will last until it’s all gone.

One last thing: Kimbal has named this beer the “Anne-Marie,” after his wife. We think that’s the sweetest note of all! 🙂

Cheers!

Katie

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