Beer Column: Twenty beers on tap for Anderson bash
Writer: Wayne Newton
London’s lucky numbers this week are one, seven, and 20.
One is for the first anniversary of the mercurial Anderson Craft Ales.
Seven is for Storm Stayed Brewing, the city’s seventh craft brewery (when you include the Ceeps and Brew Lab at Milos’ Craft Beer Emporium) which opens soon on Wharncliffe Road.
Most impressively, 20 will be the number of Anderson craft beers on tap Saturday as it celebrates one year of brewing with a big one-day craft beer party.
The event will double as a welcome to London for Storm Stayed, whose beer will be among the London guest taps featured.
“Our first year has wildly exceeded our expectations,” owner/brewmaster Gavin Anderson said. “The support we have received from London and the local community has been phenomenal.”
Anderson started renovating a former factory on Elias Street in March 2016 and had its first batches ready last August in time for the holiday weekend.
Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of core brand sales through the LCBO and the brewery bottle shop. Anderson is best known for its IPA and amber, but it was Anderson Cream Ale that gained the brewery its first award, a silver at this year’s Canadian Brewing Awards.
On Saturday, there’s music from local bands, including Broomsticks and Hammers at 4 p.m. and The Vaudevillian at 8 p.m. But the star attraction will be those 20 Anderson draft taps, two or three brewed as collaborations with Storm Stayed, plus two each from fellow London craft brewers Forked River, Toboggan, and London Brewing Co-op.
“We’ve made a wide range of new beers for this event, and are pretty excited about most of them,” Gavin said. “They range from a Belgian wit made with kiwis to a rum barrel aged Baltic porter. We will also have a few returning favourite, like our hazelnut brown, Belgian dark strong, and cocoa porter.”
The event runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $5, which includes two drink tokens. Anderson is at 1030 Elias St., London.
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While there’s no official link between Anderson and the new Storm Stayed, there’s a brewers’ bond.
Storm Stayed’s owners, Justin Belanger and Michael Naish, have been home brewers for 12 and three years respectively, both are beer judges, and they’ve been hanging out at Anderson to brew collaborative batches.
The new brewery’s name may remind many Londoners of our brutal snowstorms of the 1970s. Not surprisingly, Justin had the same storm-stayed experiences growing up on Prince Edward Island, where storms can be more frequent and ferocious.
“It means that you’re stuck in place (stayed) due to bad weather,” he said. “With the high occurrence of thunderstorms in the summer and our location in the snowbelt, most Londoners will be familiar with the situation, if not the term. We’re hoping that our taproom will provide a sense of community that you find when you’ve been stranded during storms.”
As of this writing, Storm Stayed had only pilot batches, not available to the public, brewed to test its recipes.
“We plan to offer a rotating selection of ales that will allow us to experiment with different styles and ingredients,” Justin said in an email. “Our goal is to offer a variety of styles (including, but not limited to: blonde ale, pale ale, stout, and kettle sours, etc.) that will appeal to a range of beer drinkers.”
Justin and Michael’s recipe selections strike me as winners for a taproom located where the Coves meet Old South. They promise to be beers of strong character, tradition and relaxation.
“Some of the beer that I’m most excited to share with the public will be our Robust Porter, a chocolate and roast-forward dark beer, and our Lemon-Tea Berliner Weisse, very reminiscent of an Arnold Palmer,” Justin said.
Storm Stayed will not be available at stores, at least initially.
“Our initial focus will be at our taproom for on-site enjoyment, as well as at our own retail store,” Justin said.
Storm Stayed is at 169 Wharncliffe Rd. South, in a plaza next to Archie’s Fish and Chips, and opens this fall.
Wayne Newton is a freelance journalist in London.
This article was first published by London Free Press.