Capital Pint by Travis Persaud is generally published every second Thursday at OttawaMagazine.com. Follow Travis on Twitter @tpersaud.
Ottawa’s beer explosion has resulted in incessant chatter.
“Woah, Cassel made a beer without using water?!”
“Big Rig is going to open a massive production facility!”
“Wait, Kichesippi is making soda?”
At least that’s what I hear the beerdy (beer nerds!) folks talking about.
But with all the expansion, excitement, and overwhelming enthusiasm for the capital region’s craft beer movement, it feels as if the city’s relative old-timer has been left out of the conversation.
Don’t feel bad for The Clocktower, though. The brewpub, which was established in 1996, has four locations in the city, and every afternoon as I crawl along Catherine Street cursing the abomination that is Ottawa’s ridiculously outdated road system, I see their Glebe location jam packed.
But, have you heard their name mentioned amongst the city’s beer hoopla? They’re not shiny and new. They don’t produce crazy triple IPAs that top 10 percent ABV. And in most of my conversations with people about the Ottawa’s growing beer scene, The Clocktower is usually an afterthought, if a thought at all. They’re just…there.
Patrick Fiori, The Clocktower’s brewmaster, however, is slowly moving the brewery into the limelight. He recently collected four medals at this year’s Ontario Brewing Awards; released six incredible barrel-aged beers in collaboration with Beyond the Pale; and has consistently (and quietly) been releasing excellent one-offs and casks. (Recently an oyster stout for The Whalesbone, and some other quality brews like their white stout. “There’s no such thing as a white stout,” Fiori says. “We just had fun with it. It’s a white beer recipe, but we threw in oats and lemon peel, and plugged nitrogen through it.” It was tasty).