Brew Talk: An Interview with Brewmaster Gord Slater

What first drew you to the craft of beer making?

I was involved in the legalizing of brewpubs in 1984 when the Government of Ontario moved forward with legislation. Being from the brewing industry, it was a natural draw.

Can you briefly describe the process of creating a new brew?

It is based on experience and luck. The start of the process is to understand what colour and flavour you want. Having that information, you can choose the malts to meet those requirements. Next, you want to know how bitter or sweet it will be or how many aroma you want in the beer. Knowing that, you choose the yeast.

How did you learn the process of brewing and would you consider it to be an “exact science”?

I had professional training at Molson, followed by the school of hard knocks. Brewing is a science, but not an exact science because you are working with biological organisms (yeast) and agricultural products (malt).

Do you have a favourite style of beer, both to brew and to drink?

Whatever you are buying. Failing that, red ales are a preferred beer.

What are some of your favourite flavours/ingredients to work with?

Peppers, fruit, lavender, and hibiscus.

If you could share a beer with anyone in history, who would it be?

Winston Churchill or Louis Pasteur.

How should someone embracing microbrews for the first time conduct a proper tasting?

Small samples- lightest flavour to heaviest flavour.

What type of beer is best for Mother’s Day?

A light, refreshing wheat beer.

In your opinion, what makes a beer “great”?

Ingredients, patience, knowledge, and passion.