Home News Kahnawake Brewing Company wins gold

Kahnawake Brewing Company wins gold

Courtesy Drew Stevens

The Canadian Brewing Awards are the Oscars of the beer world. Every year, brewers from across the country submit their beers to be judged by a panel of aficionados, who blind taste-test each can and bottle to select the champion. 

So when Drew Stevens, head of brewing operations at Kahnawake Brewing Company (KBC), submitted the microbrewery’s beer “BEAST!” to the competition, he didn’t quite expect to hear the brewery’s name called out as a gold-medal winner.

“You can almost feel the excitement and tension in the air when they’re going through, announcing third place, and second place. You’re thinking, ‘Is it us?’” said Stevens. 

“When they announced our name, it was just a great moment,” he said. 

KBC beat out over 140 other beers in the category to take home the gold at last Saturday’s awards ceremony in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

Winning a prize of this scale is no-small feat, especially for a company established only five years ago. 

“We’re fairly small, we’re not really in a beer market that Montreal would be, so I’m really hoping that this puts us on the map and promotes tourism in our community,” Stevens said. “It’ll mean that people will stop by to check out the beers that we have on tap, people are seeing Kahnawake up on the big screen at a national event. I’m just proud of what we did.”

Stevens said that KBC has grown to where it is today because of its passionate staff and loyal customer base, which consists of both community members supporting a local business and non-locals seeking out the best brew. 

“I’m proud of all of our staff, there’s a lot of people who worked on this recipe over time. It’s always been a team effort here, everybody puts in a lot of time from the kitchen to the front of staff. We’re all elated,” he said. “This really is one of our babies that’s just won a pretty big award. So we’re all having a blast right now.”

BEAST! is a traditional New England-style IPA, with a dialled down bitterness and accentuated flavour of hops which make it a little softer on the palette. Unexpected flavours of pineapple and tropical citrus make for a balanced flavour profile, which compliments a more woody, pine-y aroma. 

“It’s soft, it’s pillowy, but it’s still really easy to drink and it’s quite eye-opening for people who say they don’t like IPAs who give it a shot,” Stevens said. “Usually a New-England IPA is quite bitter, quite floral, but this is definitely softer but fuller on the palette compared to another IPA.”

Since the win, Stevens has been flooded with support.

“I haven’t stopped getting messages from peers in the industry, from friends and family. Our Facebook post is blowing up. It’s been great publicity and it’s just great to put Kahnawake on more national stages,” Stevens said. “It’s just huge for us.”

Though all of the KBC beers are award-winning in Stevens’ eyes, this particular accolade means a lot to the microbrewery.

When I started putting pen to paper on a business plan in 2016, I don’t think I could ever have thought we’d ever make it to this kind of stage,” he said. “But we’ve been pushing to make sure everything going out the door is quality, and every can is done properly, so this is just an amazing thing to make us confident in what we’re doing.”

Looking forward, KBC plans to continue developing new recipes for innovative beers on tap, as well as continually tweaking old recipes to make them better. Stevens said that global warming could play a factor in future recipes. 

“These beers are an agricultural product, so we’re totally dependent on good crop years for hops, barley, and wheat,” he said. “That means we have to constantly evolve and do our research, make adjustments, and ensure that everybody’s going to get what they’re familiar with when they come through the door.”

BEAST! is currently one of 13 beers available on tap at KBC, with cans available for purchase at the brewery.

+ posts

Eve is a reporter with the Eastern Door. She has also covered harm reduction and social justice issues for the Montreal Gazette, The Breach, Filter Magazine, and more.

Previous articleFans banned from Hunters game
Next articleLearning to communicate as a community
Eve is a reporter with the Eastern Door. She has also covered harm reduction and social justice issues for the Montreal Gazette, The Breach, Filter Magazine, and more.