For season two of the Ridin Pine Show, we have a presenting sponsorship. Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company has kindly sent us beer to talk about during our show. And last week, they brought us to the brewery for a show.
I’ve never been to Vankleek Hill, but I knew what to expect. I’ve been to small rural Eastern Ontario towns before. My parents live in Lanark. I’ve been through Perth, Lanark, Almonte and Balderson more times than I can count. They all have a few things in common. A quaint feeling. A vibrant main street and winding streets that weren’t built in coordination with any sort of central plan.
I figured I knew what to expect in Vankleek Hill and when I saw it I saw all those familiar sights. A quaint town with a population no bigger than 2,000. The main street where any and all business was crammed together. Where the pharmacy, quilt shop and hardware store are all within a city block from each other on Country Road 10.
That expectation followed to Beau’s. I figured I knew what a brewery was. I’ve been to a craft brewery to pick up beer before. They’re all the same. Brew kettles, mash tuns, and fermenters. I wasn’t ready for what I was going to see.
There’s so much going on at Beau’s, and unlike some breweries, the actual brewery isn’t hidden in back from the polish storefront. Sure there’s a gate, but no walls, no curtains. The brewery is very much part of the experience as you walk right in. Whether by design or not the layout conveys the idea that Beau’s doesn’t just sell beer it makes beer.
I know that sounds like semantics, but trust me it’s not. There’s an important difference between selling products and making it. The latter implies a labour of love. The craft is more important than the bottom line.
How Our Relationship Began
For an amateur podcast with professional aspirations, there are two things you need. Good content and a sense of legitimacy. People have to have a reason to listen to you.
Engaging content is the first step. Without it forget about doing anything. But on its own it’s sometimes not enough. How many good projects did you know about or even start that went nowhere?
To get off the ground you need someone with a name to give you a bump.
Our plan when reaching out to Beau’s was “let’s see what they say”. We thought: “The worst they can say is no.” I thank my dad for that incredibly clichéd but accurate saying.
In letting us say their name on our show we gain a bit of legitimacy as we try to get this show off the ground.
So we pull up to the brewery and again, it looks very much like you’d expect a brewery in a small town to look. Industrial, functional and muddy. Like a ton of mud. The rain the day before certainly didn’t help. But it certainly doesn’t look like it’s going to hold everything were about to see.
We look a bit lost but are clearly in the right place. And immediately we’re greeted and warmly asked who we’re here to see. It’s obvious that Beau’s staff are used to a bunch of guys just showing up with recording equipment.
The general comment I got from all the guys at Ridin Pine is how the staff at Beau’s were so warm and inviting. In other tours, it feels like your just along for the regularly scheduled ride across the brewery. But on this occasion, it truly felt like this was done specifically for us. It was honestly a humbling experience.
So as Darcy and I wait for Harper and Producer B we’re asked the most important question of the day: “Do we want anything to drink?” All around us is beer, beer making equipment and the sweet sweet smell of the brewing process. So heck yeah we wanted a beer. That’s when our tour guide Laura hooked us up with Osmium. A beer that wasn’t yet available anywhere outside of the brewery, but that you can now buy in Beau’s Winter Mix.
That’s when we got talking about why they brew specific beers and which ones make it to mix packs. And that’s where we got an increasing appreciation for the dedication to the Beau’s craft. Everything is deliberate. The types of beers they offer in their seasonal is reflective of the season and planned well ahead of time.
By this time Harper and PB were finally in the brewery after stopping so that PB can get some nice little video of Vankleek Hill and the brewery. (Big thanks to Producer B. Even though he never gets a mic…even if he brings them.)
If you’ve been through a brewery tour before you’ll know that on the surface they’re all the same. The explanation of the brewing process is generally the same in every brewery you go to. But you’ll also know that every brewery does something just a bit different. Variation is the spice of life. (I’m full of clichés by the way).
For Beau’s, at least in my opinion, it’s the unabashed desire to try something new. They don’t just make the flag-ship Lug-Tread. They don’t just have a few select brews that they make. They’re unafraid to try something new.
From the ‘Farm Table’ series, to ‘Wild Oats’ to the Gruit series. Beau’s is constantly trying something new. And knocking it out of the park. Look we had the Killer Kvass brew this week on the podcast and I absolutely loved it.
We’ll go over Killer Kvass a bit more in another post, but that lack of fear to try something new absolutely resonated with at least myself as I try to carve out a new career path for myself. It’s nice to see a concrete example of going all in on something you love doing works.
We can’t help but say nice things about Beau’s and what they’ve done for us. What we hope is that our appreciation for them rubs off on you our readers and listeners and that you show them the same appreciation they’ve shown us.