Our fifth anniversary came and went quietly this past April, and while we did note the special day, and we did see the tweets and instagram comments coming in with all those question marks, we were – I sense this has reached broken record status, but – very busy. As our phones vibrated in our pockets, we kept our heads down brewing the first Bellwoods spontaneous beer, filling the koelschip and praying that overnight temperatures would cooperate. Meanwhile, naysayers and recent gossip might have had you thinking there would be no Motley Cru release this year (blasphemy!), or that we couldn’t agree on which barrels to use (the beer was already blended and conditioning in bottles), or even that we had forgotten the login passwords to get into our own website and therefore couldn’t communicate the delay because a certain somebody went on mat leave (this one may or may not bear semblance to fact), but those are all lies. Fake news!
In reality, we’ve been working our asses off and social media-ing less these days, which as it turns out, is conducive to both maintaining sanity and getting shit done. We also unanimously agreed that June was a much nicer time of year in Toronto to hold a chilled glass of beer, look into the eyes of a loved one (or slightly confused workplace acquaintance you invited to up your bottle limit), and realize how grateful you are to be alive. Can you sense where this is going? Motley Cru 2017, our commemorative anniversary release, a 1 and 2 year barrel blend passion fruit wild ale, is finally ready. And it. Is. Gooooood.
If you’ve been a longtime reader of the Bellwoods blog, or subscribed to our newsletters in the past, you’ll know that the general tone of them could be summed up as “trying to romanticize the chaos”, or “lightheartedly reporting our pitfalls”. We’ve certainly done our best to mask panic with humour over the years, or at least make fun of the fact that, most of the time, we were striking out when it came to a healthy work/life balance. I also think I’ve exhausted just about every self-deprecating joke I can imagineer, comprehensively exploring topics of sleep deprivation, eye twitches, life-shortening panic attacks, and ‘MacGyvering’ quick fixes around the brewery. I bring this up now, because as we turn 5 years old, release (what in our humble opinion is) the most delicious Motley Cru in our brewing history, and head into a busy summer season without the crushing, omnipresent fear that we’ll run out of beer, it seems that we’ve turned a corner, ever so slightly. I won’t go as far as saying that we’re a well oiled machine, but we finally have a bit of room to breathe, a bit of perspective to reflect on the comedic crutches that have kept us standing, and a mother effing delivery driver/beer sherpa THANK THY HEAVENS.
If a lot can happen in a year, then I suppose we can infer that a near astronomical amount can and will take place in five. We’ve come a long way from our lone 7 barrel brewhouse, a 2 head bottler that took a minute (on a good day) to fill 4 bottles, and Ontario liquor laws that prevented small breweries like ours from having more than one retail store. We’re also very much aware that these growing pains and improvements are made possible with the help of a dedicated group of employees, and many many incredible patrons. So yes, 5 years without imploding, 700 kg of passion fruit, and our most interesting sour barrels of the year are cause for celebration. Now let’s ride this upswing before the glycol chiller trips or we get a text saying someone ripped the back of the truck off with the forklift.
Without further adieu, the nitty gritty:
The occasion: Our 5th anniversary and the release of Motley Cru 2017.
The date and time: Saturday June 10th, 11am sharp at Ossington. 12pm sharp at Hafis.
The locations: Both our Ossington Ave brewpub/retail shop, and our Hafis Rd production brewery/retail shop. You choose whichever location suits you best! (Note: Hafis will be equipped with a food truck from Speducci serving up some delectable cured meats and sandwichesofferings).
The beer: Motley Cru 2017 is a wild ale with passion fruit. We blended two mixed grain ales (containing pale barley malt, wheat, oats, and rye), pulling barrels as old as 2 years, and as young as 1. While a minority of the barrels were new American oak, the bulk were old-use red and white wine barrels (from both Niagara and Prince Edward County), meaning they’ve been filled and emptied enough to lose most wine character. The old-use barrels are welcome home to an eclectic range of wild and local yeast strains. The blend meditated on several hundred kilograms of passion fruit puree for two months, before being bottle conditioned for a further two months.
The flavours: MC ’17 features a crisp acidity, healthy oak backbone, bursting passion fruit aroma, and plenty of wild ale funk. It combines old world sour flavours, with bright tropical fruit, delivering a crazy balance of fuzzy peach, five alive, bell pepper, and cracked pepper – with lively carbonation from the time spent conditioning in bottles.
The bottles: For the first time since MC ’13 we’ve got 750’s! Both locations will have a limited amount of 750ml bottles (1000ish in total), and a larger amount of 500ml bottles (6000ish). Also for the first time ever, no bottle limits on the 500’s, $15/bottle. As for those 750’s, 2/ per person limit, $23/bottle.
The glasses: We’ve got 800 limited edition glasses for those of you who appreciate #properglassware. $10/each.
The draft line ups: Expect some special doozies at both locations, including the new and very limited Pink Guava Milkshark!