Go Local, Go Home: Ottawa and Kichesippi Beer Company

Photo by Luap Redni

Kelly and Stephanie learning about how and when hops are added.

A long long time ago (not really), the Ottawa crew attended their first event as Fat Girl Food Squad. It was a grand opening for a knife store, and along with music and knives and coffee, we were introduced to the Kichesippi Beer Company.

They were slinging their newest product, a soda line called Harvey and Vern’s, and making dark and stormy’s (a new obsession for us). We met with Sheena and Grayson, and chatted soda and beer and had a great time.

Then, suddenly, it was like we couldn’t stop noticing Kichesippi beer. It was everywhere! It was in our favourite restaurants! It was at festivals we attended! It was sold at the LCBO! What was this company?

Photo by Luap Redni

M.C., Stephanie and Kelly getting a Kichesippi Beer education.

A little more research led us to find out a whole lot more, and one more kickass thing Ottawa can call its own; Kichesippi Beer Company.

Started about three years ago, Kichesippi is a mom-and-pop organization that now employs about fifteen staff. They started in Ottawa, and have been brewing here ever since; the product is available only in Ottawa and the surrounding area making it a truly local beer. Year round they serve up a natural blonde, and 1855 (the year Bytowne became Ottawa). They also serve up seasonal beers, and do one-offs throughout the year for special occasions and vendors.

Photo by Luap Redni

Roasted malts. They were a tasty snack, actually.

Awesomely enough, the brewery does tours on Saturday, so we took a drive just outside of downtown to go try some beer and learn something new. We were greeted by two enthusiastic, plaid wearing, grinning dudes who immediately offered us beer (and soda for our designated driver). Can all tours start like that?

Our tour was in-depth and amazing. We talked a lot about the science of brewing, went through the entire brew process from malt to bottling, and really enjoyed hashing out the minute details of the process. Our guide Chris was clearly enthusiastic not only about the product, but about the people and company. He’s their sustainability guy, too; so we got to hear about initiatives the company is working on to greenify themselves and keep their waste lower. Between looking into vats and fermentation tanks, we talked malt, hops, IBU, water waste, filtration, and liquor laws.

Photo by Luap Redni

This is where the malts are soaked.

And we drank a good amount of beer. Confession: I’m not a huge beer drinker, but I’m a big fan of both of Kichesippi’s year-round brews. Both of them are easy to drink, refreshing and appeal to even non-beer drinkers, I think. I’ve also really enjoyed the beers I’ve had seasonally and at festivals or for vendors. The Manx Pub serves a stock ale made by Kichesippi. I’ve tried Kichesippi’s porter at Atomic Rooster and they made a one-off beer for Arboretum Festival this summer that was easily one of the smoothest beers I’ve had.

Photo by Luap Redni

Ottawa Squad members Stephanie, Kelly and M.C. show some Ottawa pride with a photo under the Kichesippi logo

No beer is actually being brewed on Saturdays (other than some full fermentation tanks) but the retail store out front was hosting a good amount of traffic (along with merch, you can buy the Harvey and Vern’s soda and the Kichesippi beers in bottles, growlers and kegs). After a growler (who knew that was a thing!) of 1855 and a weekend spent curled up in my Kichesippi hoodie? I’m a convert, for sure. Bring on the beer.

Photo by M.C. Bennett

M.C. rocking her Kichesippi hoodie.


[CONTEST] – Cask Days Are Ahead!

Cask Days 2013


Let’s admit it, Toronto is a city that loves its beer. We have numerous  festivals dedicated to beer and craft beer, but one that is largely unique is happening October 19 and 20, 2013 at the Evergreen Brickworks: Cask Days.


The family behind Bar Volo have taken the festival Cask Days and made into one of Toronto 9th annual premiere festival for craft beers. First up, the festival will feature over 200 cast conditioned ales from over 100 Canadian microbreweries. If that didn’t tickle your fancy, 36 beers from the UK and international breweries from across the world are being highlighted to demonstrate the roots of “real ale”.


Beyond the amazing lineup of beer, Cask Days has lined up an array of on-site workshops, music and some delicious food vendors including: Bar Isabel, Parts and Labor, Ceili Cottage, Hogtown Smoke and more.


Cask Days 2013 will host over 4000 people two days, will you be one of them? Well you could be! Fat Girl Food Squad is giving away a pair of tickets to Sunday October 20, 2013 portion of the festival.


The contest runs from Friday  October 11th and closes on Thursday October 17 at 5PM EST.  Winners will be notified of their win 24 hours after contest close.


Contest Rules:

  1. Like Fat Girl Food Squad on FaceBook
  2. Follow Cask Days on Twitter
  3. Tweet the following: I’m a beer geek @FatGrlFoodSquad! Send me to the 2013 @CaskDays! #FGFSandCASKDAYS

The 2nd Annual Roundhouse Craft Beef Festival


Toronto has been blessed with having not one but two summer beer festivals this year. However this one on the weekend was strictly dedicated to arts & craft of well, craft brew. The 2nd Annual Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival was a chance for Toronto city patrons to experience some great beers from Ontario craft brewers while soaking up the sunshine.

As Yuli and I decided to head down on Saturday afternoon (contemplating taking a ride on the small gauge steam train outside the Roundhouse, which proceeds from the Craft Beer Festival go to the Toronto Railway Heritage Museum) we were met with some moderate crowds. Nothing too insane for a Saturday afternoon. Entry to the Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival was $10/pre-show including your cup but no tokens. Tokens were sold for $1/each.

We made our way into the grounds and were greeted by some familiar craft brew faces: Steam Whistle, Flying Monkey’s, Amsterdam and Great Lakes Brewery. But a lot of these brewers came ready to impress and were not just hawking their normal brews. Displayed in their tents were feature brews or one-off, experimental brews. For example: Steamwhistle offered up a RoundHouse Rye and Hogsback Brewing had been hawking a pint called the Alohog Coconut Pale Ale.



Navigating our way through the grounds, we tried to be as adventurous as we possibly could trying Ciders, Apple Lagers and everything under the sun. What we came to notice was that a lot of brewers were offering rare brews, special to this festival and perhaps something that we would never be able to find again in the LCBO or in other establishments (like TALLBOYS). It was like developing a relationship with that brewery in particular. For example: Left Field Brewery had everyone had the festival test-drive one of their more popular brews (a hoppy IPA titled the 6-4-3) and had all those in attendance develop their own rookie playing card. Makes you feel part of the craft beer & Left Field team.

The Roundhouse (part of the Steamwhistle) was a perfect venue for the venue with beautiful views of Toronto and lots of room for people to stretch out under a tree with their poutine for one of the potential food truck vendors (example: Hogtown Smoke or Dobra Jesti).

All in all, the Craft Beer Festival was a great afternoon filled with excellent beers and good times.