Brew Talk: An Interview with Brewmaster Gord Slater- Part Two

What are the fundamental ingredients used in beer making, and how do they affect overall flavour?

Water is 95% of beer. Hardness of water will determine the beers that you make. The harder the water, the more difficult it is to make light lagers. Malt adds the mouthfeel, the sweetness, and the residual malt characters, the hops add the bitterness, and the yeast pulls it all together during fermentation.

Do you ever experiment with uncommon flavours?

Chives, garlic, cedar, spruce, lobster, oyster, and licorice.

Beer names are often fun and quirky. Do you have a favourite?

Skull Splitter, Fat Tire, Surly Coffee Bender.

Tell us about the best brew you’ve created. What made it special?

A German lager- light, refreshing, and adequately hopped. It won best in show in a show in Germany.

Are stout and porter the same thing?

Yes and no. Porter was the name given to the dark beers that the porters on the London Eng. Railway used to drink. It was a little sweeter than a stout.

How do the materials you use affect flavour? Does using glass or plastic make a difference, metals vs. glass?

Plastic usually influences the beer with a flavour from the plastic. Although metal was used in early time, the flavour of the metal can influence the beer (except for aluminium).

What is the difference between microbreweries and craft breweries?

Microbreweries indicate size, but craft indicates quality. Craft is the preferred term for any brewery under 50,000 HI.

What do you attribute to the recent surge in popularity of craft beers to?

Fresh, local, and more diverse flavours. The other point is that a majority of the craft beers are available in the LCBO and a majority of the purchases in the LCBO are now done by women.