Behind the Beer: Collingwood Brewery’s Chris Freeman

The Collingwood Brewery is set between the natural wonders of The Blue Mountains and Georgian Bay. Just like the community, The Collingwood Brewery shares a passion for the best things in life: family, friends, hard work, fun and beer. From their brewhouse to your table – these folks are dedicated to producing only the freshest, all-natural beer.

We recently spoke to founder and head brewer Chris Freeman.

-What is it about making good beer that led you to dedicate your life to it?

The first thing you do when you make a truly special beer is imagine what you want it to be: the colour, aroma, taste, the feeling in your mouth – even the occasion on which it should be enjoyed. Then you work backwards, using your knowledge of ingredients and process to bring that vision to life.  In this way, brewing is very much art and science coming together to form something greater than the sum of its parts. The possibilities with beer are practically endless. This is what led me to leave my job to become a brewer. Every day I bring my vision to life, learn from my successes and failures, and become a better brewer.  Although it goes without saying, the beer at the end of the day is a nice perk, too!

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Photo courtesy The Collingwood Brewery.

 

 -Why is the craft beer market doing so well today?

Craft beer is thriving because consumers are looking for something large, multinational breweries can’t offer them: flavour, authenticity and community. The majority of beers produced by large brewers occupy a fraction of a fraction of the flavour spectrum of beer, whereas craft brewers embrace all the possibilities: from pilsner to barrel aged farmhouse ale. Any day of the week, someone can walk through the door of our brewery to meet the people who make the beer and discover what we are all about. We are constantly working with our supporters and neighbours to build a thriving local community as well.

-You’re stuck on a desert island, what’s in your six pack?

Not including any of my own beers:

-Fuller’s London Pride

-Northwinds XPA

-Creemore Springs Kellerbier

-Side Launch Wheat

-La Chouffe Blonde

-Fuller’s London Porter

 

Photo courtesy Pixelflex.
Photo courtesy Pixelflex.

-Which of your beers are you proudest of? Why?

I am definitely proudest of our Vintage Ale. This beer is the embodiment of why I am became a brewer.  The Vintage Ale is brewed to celebrate the local hop harvest.  It uses 100% locally grown, organic hops from Bighead Hops in Meaford, as well as honey produced in the Beaver Valley. Nicholas Schaut from Bighead called to say it was time to brew since the hops would be ready to harvest the next day. Nicholas delivered the fresh hops to us just hours after they had been harvested and minutes before they were added to the brew. The resulting beer was a beautiful representation of local ingredients and local collaboration. [Note: this year’s batch of Vintage Ale is sold out, unfortunately.]

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In June The Collingwood Brewery won two silvers and a bronze at the Canadian Brewing Awards – the country’s largest brewing competition.

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As a bonus for our readers we’ve partnered with our friends at Innate Gear who’ve produced these custom Craft Growlers – the ultimate in insulated beer-on-the-go convenience. We’ll be giving one of these away with each post we publish – just give it a good ol’ Like on our Facebook and we’ll draw the name out of a hat!

 

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