Capital Pint

Covered Bridge Brewing Co. sets up in Ottawa’s west end

Capital Pint by Travis Persaud is generally published every second Thursday at Follow Travis on Twitter @tpersaud.

Just brew it: John VanDyk, Covered Bridge Brewing’s owner and brewer

Ottawa’s brewing community is about to expand. Again.

Renovations are well underway at 6-119 Iber Road — just down the street from the Ottawa Senators’ home — where The Covered Bridge Brewing Co. plans to open by June.

“I think it’s every home brewer’s dream to go pro,” says John VanDyk, Covered Bridge Brewing’s owner and brewer. But it’s a dream that needed a loving nudge from his wife to jump out of his head and into reality. “[She] encouraged me to put together a [business] plan to see what the numbers were,” he remembers.

VanDyk grew up on the west coast. Admittedly, he says he wasn’t much of a beer drinker. After studying biochemistry in Victoria, B.C. he moved to Toronto to attend a homeopathic college. It’s there that he met his wife Kathy. In 2007 they relocated to Ottawa when VanDyk landed a job with Health Canada.

About three Christmases ago, while they were in HomeSense, he spied a Mr. Beer kit. (The little home brewing system is to beer what an Easy-Bake oven is to baking. You can decide if that’s a good thing or not.)

“My wife told me to buy it,” he says. And like any good husband, he listened. He went home, mixed the extracts with the yeast and water, and waited. In the meantime, he went online to see where he could buy refill packs.