Covered Bridge Brewing owners John & Kathy vanDyk met with Savvy Brew Crew member Katy Watts for the low-down on what’s happening at their Stittsville brewery. Home brewing can be an expensive & a time consuming hobby. It seems to always start small, like it did with Covered Bridge Brewing Company’s owner/brewer, John vanDyk, experimenting with a small Mr. Beer kit. As interest grows – or in John’s case – refills for the Mr. Beer kit were unavailable, ‘real’ equipment is purchased, upgrades made & then the BIG switch to all-grain brewing is made. From there, John’s friends are kept happy enjoying experiments in recipe formulation & dreams become blue prints to open a brewery. Before John signed the lease on the Stittsville location (west Ottawa) he already had the name for the brewery & a logo in mind. “I happen to live on a street that has a covered bridge on our walking path”, John explains “Home brewers are funny in that we usually name our breweries in our house. Long before thinking about going commercial, I had chosen the name. Then a friend at work drew up the logo. We liked the nostalgic feel of it so much that when we decided to go pro & we kept it the name & look.”
The Beer Blinded Me with Science! Why does beer seem to entice so many to devote their lives to crafting that perfect pint? It’s something to do with the process, the idea that a handful of ingredients with just a slight variation can create hundreds of different flavours. For John, who admits he wasn’t the biggest beer drinker when he first started brewing, he was hooked after his first all grain batch. “Being exposed to home brewing & craft beer was a bit of a “beer awakening” for me and I learned that there are so many great beers with tons of flavour and complexity. I’m still not a huge drinker, but I really enjoy discovering & trying different craft beers now.” Brewing For Charity Covered Bridge isn’t just keeping the community well stocked with beer, but it’s also supporting area charities and the community of Ottawa West. They have run a contest benefiting Tysen’s Mission to a Million with the prize being an opportunity to help brew, Wishmaker’s Wit. They also have taken part in the Movember campaign brewingMoustache SMaSH. Fit with its own moustache branded glass, this single hopped American Pale Ale was a tribute to all those involved with the campaign to raise money for men’s health. With a legion of loyal fans it’s hard to know what’s next for Covered Bridge…we do know that they’ll keep on brewing cool beers we love to drink. Cheers to John & Kathy!
Savvy Hip Hops is Ontario’s first craft beer of the month club. To further your enjoyment of Ontario’s best craft beers, each month the Savvy Brew Crew compiles a ‘mini-magazine’ to give you the inside scoop on the brewery, the brewmaster & of course the beers! It’s just one of the benefits of being part of this hopping club. Sign up today for more beer knowledge. Cheers!
Originally written for Savvy Hip Hops subscribers by Katy Watts of Savvy Company’s Brew Crew.